Love Yourself

This is the advice I give to other people with dogs like Silas:

Let it Go.

Your dog is not perfect. Your dog barks at people and other dogs in the park. Your dog is hell on a leash and tries to pull you off your feet. Your dog empties his bladder when he meets a stranger. Whatever. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is how you handle that stuff, and the most important thing you can do is to let go of your expectations.

Your dog isn’t Lassie. Your dog isn’t the one at the park that can’t tear his adoring gaze away from his person. Even if you are the best dog trainer on the planet your dog will probably never be that dog.

Let go of that dog. Do your best with the dog you have.

And while you’re at it, let go of all the stuff that dogs are “supposed” to do, and that you are “supposed” to do with them.

I have days where the thought of Silas barking at one more person at the park is just too much for me to bear. So we stay home.

I have days that I can’t stand the idea of driving across town to go to the park, since Silas is too scared to walk from home. So we stay home.

There are days when I know the park will be full of things Silas can’t handle. So we stay home.

Your anxious dog is not going to self destruct if you don’t go for a walk every day. In fact, your anxious dog will probably benefit from a break. On those days when you can’t stand watching one more bad reaction, stay home. When your last trip to the park was so inexplicably bad that you came home and cried? Give yourself a break. Trade in the walk for fetch, tug, or obedience training.

Sleeping

Love your dog, but also love yourself.

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10 thoughts on “Love Yourself

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more. There is so much pressure to be perfect or to have the perfect dog. But what most people consider “perfect” is unattainable. Setting realistic goals and expectations for ourselves and for our dogs is so important in maintaining a positive relationship.

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    1. Thanks! I’m trying to focus a little more on things that have been helpful for me to learn. I’m laughing to imagine that Silas and I can give anyone great advice, but some things I do know.

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  2. Yes! Great advice that so many over-achievers need to learn, including myself.

    And, when we’re not stressed by our expectations, magic starts to happen with our dogs.

    Gotta tweet this now!

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  3. I love that picture of Silas…it’s beautiful…and it sounds like you’ve learned to give yourself some slack and that’s gotta be a good thing for both you and Silas…I like your positive tone a lot

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