Dogs have taught me to become a much more patient person – progress is gradual, skills are learned in small increments, and some days, you just have to let it go with a shrug.
But if you persist and just keep doing small things every day (or every 3 days!), one day you’ll realise you have a really great partnership with your dog who is also a competent canine citizen!
Or as they’re usually called: “a well-trained dog”.
For me, raising and “mentoring” my dogs has been one of the biggest opportunities for personal growth: overcoming disappointment when your expectations aren’t met, managing your own frustrations, patience to work out the root of a problem and being persistent in testing solutions when you might not have a clue if it’ll work – not to mention practicing small steps at a time when you just want to be “there” already!
I’ve reflected on this many times in the past couple of months while practising this off-leash skill for Grace on our neighbourhood walks. We started in very short strips that were definitely cat- and excitement trigger free, and we’ve made a lot of progress.
These types of life skills take a lot of patience and persistence, which doesn’t come easily to me, so I can empathise when I see people despairing over their own dogs’ behaviour. After all, we’re all busy and have a lot on our minds!