When you have a dog with behavior problems, it is very easy to get caught up in the struggles.
But, as the year comes to a close, we invite you to take a deep breath and remember all the good your dog has to offer. I know it’s hard sometimes, I’ve been there.
Taking a moment to practice gratitude can help keep you going.
When I used to run group classes, I used to ask folx to introduce themselves and their dogs, to share their goals for the class, and to tell me one thing they really liked about their dog.
Whenever I would state the prompt, I could feel the entire room stiffen.
Everyone would be worried about what they were going to say. I could see the looks on their faces that said “but my dog’s a jerk, that’s why I’m here” or the panic “that I can’t think of anything I like!” They were trying to come up with something exceptional.
And, look, I get it. I’ve been in their shoes. So, I always started us off. I’m not going to put someone on the spot without a little bit of vulnerability. So my introduction would be something like:
“Hi, I’m Ellen… general get to know me, my goals for this class… and I have two dogs. Griffey is my kiddo that keeps me on my toes, and something I really like about him is that he always has very consistent poops… or his ears are bigger than his face… or my absolute favorite, every time he tries to counter surf, he toots loud enough I can hear it in the other room. We call it his alarm. Something I love about Laika, my wonderful little lady, is that she has a look that embodies the “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” phrase.”
And boy, when I shared those, I could feel the tension in the room melt away. Because you don’t have to think of some amazing accomplishment. There are many things you can appreciate about your dog.
- Think about some things you appreciate about your dog. When you look at them and smile or laugh, remember that.
- Join us over on our pet parent instagram. We’d love to learn what you appreciate about your dog. Tag us @petharmonytraning!
- Know that this post is not intended to lead anyone to feel guilt or shame. If you read this and struggle to find the good (and believe me, I’ve been there), we want to help you enjoy your dog again. Contact us at [email protected]