This one isn’t really about dog training. Okay it kind of is, but kind of not.
The header pic says it all. Take a look. I obviously don’t have it all solved. I have an ugly box of packaging stuff under my pretty desk. I have kid toys on the floor. There’s a DEER ANTLER on my floor. There’s a sweater in the dog bowl. The baby is still in pajamas.
But, there is also a quiet, happy Labrador safely tethered close to the baby, but out of reach. Together, but safe.
There are good solutions in the midst of sometimes-chaos.
I’m a human being with both successes and failures. And that is normal.
What got me thinking was a little fuss I saw yesterday on a Facebook group that I’m a member of. It’s a fitness group, and a couple of those NO EXCUSES “inspirational” pictures were posted. You know, like this:
Some people thought they were great, while others felt quite marginalized. Personally, I think that having someone’s super-fit 6-pack abs body thrust into your face with an implied message of “welp you’re a total loser if you don’t look like me” can be hurtful. It takes your own daily struggle as as well as even the good choices you have made and throws them out the window because as long as you still don’t look like a Greek goddess who just bathed in a vat of baby oil, none of that matters anyway.
Here’s a really inspiring blog post by Georgie Fear, a nutrition expert, that boiled it down for me.
I realized that what she was saying applies to any goals you may have as a parent+dog owner, too. And I want to make sure it’s clear that I am, in fact, a real human being with real children and real dogs and the goal of this blog is not to say how special I am or how there are no legitimate excuses for not having an Obedience Champion dog along with, you know, your job and children and volunteering and of course your super fit body.
The message I want to send to dog owners with kids who are struggling with certain behaviors or with trying to integrate their dog into a crazy busy lifestyle is, and I am quoting Georgie, this:
“Whatever is in your way, we can get around it. I have had challenges too and still do. Look what I did. What so and so did. You can too. Your challenges ARE real, but they don’t have to stop you.”
I want to help people identify and rise above their challenges, not blame or shame them for having challenges in the first place.
I want to help people realize that success IS possible, and these are some of the solutions that I have found for myself. Yours may look different, but at least you know that they are out there.
I want to show people the practical side of training a dog, outside of the Rally ring or the endless hours working on contact points in Agility. I have never taught a dog scent discrimination or retrieve over a high jump and you know what? That is ok. My dogs don’t need to do that. They DO need to Sit and Stay when I adjust a baby carrier while holding a leash between my knees, even in the middle of a frantic “Blessing of the Animals” church event with Harleys growling by 20 feet away, other dogs walking around, and children screeching over to a bouncy house. Guess what? My Collie does that. And soon Ranger will, too. And so can your dog.
I want to help people enjoy their dogs and their children.
If you stumble upon this blog in a web search or as a client or as a friend, realize that having challenges is okay. Dogs are tough; dogs and children are even tougher.
So yeah, there are no “excuses”.
There are REAL struggles, REAL families living REAL life. There are ups and downs. There are joys and pains.
This is called being human, and you need no excuse for it.