Authored by a non-dog person
I am not a dog person. Never have been since I was five and on my way to kindergarten at Goodman Elementary School, a german shepard jumped on my back and took me down to the ground. That was it for me when it came to dogs…nope…never!….
“Please mom, pleeeeease! Can we get a dog? I promise I’ll take care of it!” Yeah right….
Well, after years of these requests, my hubby and I finally were worn down enough to say yes. And that is how the cute puppy pictured here came into our life! And guess who is getting up at 3am to take her out to “Go potty!”,bringing her for walks, feeding, picking up poop, buying chew toys… (you get the picture).
When we picked up Hope in Wisconsin, the breeder gave me a copy of Cesar Millan’s How To Raise The Perfect Dog. Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect dog but as I read it and observed Hope with my kids and me, I can’t help but take note of the lessons this little puppy is bringing into our home.
Here are Hope’s 3 Life Lessons she’s taught me already.
1. Your Energy Affects Others – Cesar Millan is big on using your positive energy in training dogs. If you bring guilty energy to putting your dog in a kennel, she will feel it and react accordingly with whining and wanting to get out of there. If you set proper boundaries with just your energy, your dog will respect the boundaries. This focus on energy reminded of a time this summer, when my daughter brought a friend to our cabin up north for the weekend. She is just this incredible bundle of happy and positive energy. What was interesting was to see how her energy affected not just my daughter but my two sons and the friend my oldest son brought as well as my husband and me. There was a light happiness that was present in our cabin the entire weekend because this little girl was with us. It was cool to watch the power of energy in action!
2. Praise Beats Punishment every time – My breeder was big on this. She said if the dog pooped in the house, I should go look in the mirror because the dog won’t understand the punishment. So how can I relate that to my own life? How often do my own words in my own head beat me up about stuff I did or did not do? And how effective is that in really motivating me? “Kathleen, I can’t believe you don’t have your newsletter article written yet! You are so disorganized!” Did that make me get organized or get the article written? NO! It just depressed me. So just as I praise Hope everytime she does something right (instead of focusing on everything she is chewing on in my house), I am reminded to do that with myself. Certainly, the other way isn’t working!
3. Enjoy the little things! Isn’t it amazing to see how little it takes to make a dog happy and get that tail wagging! An old sock, a walk around the block, a child coming home from school, a little treat or a snuggle on a lap. And of course when the dog is happy, everyone seems to be in a better mood. So what about us humans? Can we learn to appreciate the little things? Be happy if you’re home and you get to welcome your kids when they get in from school! Take a walk around the block and stomp your feet through a big piles of fall leaves! Snuggle on the couch with someone you love! It doesn’t take much for us to feel the same contentment that dogs find so easily. We just need to remember to do it.
This is the beginning of a new journey for me as a first time dog owner. I’m sure it will be full of ups and downs but I know in the end, she is going to be a great teacher for my entire family of how to enjoy the present moment of what and who is right in front of you.