Yesterday I left my bebe with perfect strangers who are going to help turn him into a fantastically trained pup– or so I’m banking on. Literally.
Here are some of the behavior issues that my lifetime of learning everything I can get my hands on about dog training simply couldn’t fix:
Overfriendliness when greeting people
Signs of defensive aggression
Refusal to follow simple commands when calm
Absolutely zero impulse control
Barking, pulling, lunging, jumping, you name it…
Extreme inability to pay attention (or even make eye contact) when distracted
Complete “wildcard” status as to which dogs/people he might bark at or be scared by
I did a ton of research on local training centers in my area and after visiting decided to take him to Sit Means Sit of Austin. He’ll board there and train with the entire staff for two weeks, and we get a lifetime of group classes and a couple of private lessons once he’s done.
Here’s what I’m expecting to see when I pick him up:
Come on command, every time, no matter the distraction
Polite walking, on or off leash, at my right heel
Waiting properly at all boundaries and only proceeding when invited
Sit and down when in distracting environments
Remaining polite when playing tug or fetch
Beyond these very basic obedience training tasks, I expect to be able to trust my dog again. I expect to work with him in the weeks, months, and years going forward to master advanced commands and eventually earn therapy dog status. I’d like to work with him in hospitals, and with children.
Here’s the deal, though.
I’m worried that because he’s such a sweetheart, he won’t behave normally for these trainers and that they’ll have a much easier time getting through to him because he’s not at home.
I’m worried that my expectations are too high, and that I will be disappointed.
I’m worried that I will have wasted my money.
I’m worried to be without him for two long weeks.
So here we are, folks. I’ve literally been in my bathrobe for this entire day. I haven’t left my house for any reason. I haven’t brushed my teeth. I haven’t eaten much. I’m in a complete state of blobbiness, and for probably the first time in my life… I’m ok with it.
I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to force myself to cook and clean and exercise.
Right now, I just want to lay on the couch with the lights off and let myself feel what I feel.
Maybe that’s the depression talking, but I’ve found through years of awful experience that whether I fight it or not, my butt will STILL be on that couch all day. I’ll just be more or less furious with myself at the end.
Here are the facts that keep my head above water right now. I know I’m doing the right thing. I know that in whatever capacity it ends up being, this will be good for both of us. I know that I did all that I could do, and by reaching out for help I showed courage and humility.
I know I’m doing the right thing. I know that in whatever capacity it ends up being, this will be good for both of us. I know that I did all that I could do, and by reaching out for help I showed courage and humility. I know that Leben will learn a lot. I know he will be ok at training and probably really enjoy himself, because he’s just that kind of dog. I know the training staff will fall in love with him. I know that he will be cared for.
I also know that seeing his shocked, hurt, and confused face as he watched me turn my back and walk out the door was a complete knife in my heart. And that I felt the pain, but I managed not to cry.
Here’s to the next two weeks.
“Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn