Last year we got a puppy, Chester. He’s a 12-pound adorable little bundle of fur and love. He’s also a total pain in the you know what.
Our story is not uncommon. When we got him, of course, he was not house-trained. We took up all of our area rugs. I had Nature’s Miracle attached to my person at all times. For a good long while, we stacked our dining room chairs on the table cafeteria style, because we realized he was peeing on them under the table.
Our other issue was that he barks at everybody and everything – the neighbors, dogs on TV, horses on TV (boy oh boy, he really hates horses!), houseplants. All those are off-limits in his mind, but our neighbors are the worst. He barks like they’re coming to take us away along with everything we hold near and dear and he is the only thing standing in the way. He takes his protector role very seriously. Did I mention he is a 12-pound little maltese/shi-tszu? For anybody, that is super obnoxious and annoying, but for somebody who is prone to migraines (me!), it feels even more dramatic.
Somewhere around the 10-month mark we noticed a big difference with the peeing. Maybe once a week, then not at all. Two weeks ago, we decided to put our Christmas Home Depot gift cards to good use and got an area rug. It was the happiest day. We lived in barefoot bliss for a week. Then I noticed a spot and thought “It’s a one-time thing,” and then it happened again, and again.
So now the carpet is a fond memory. He’s close, but just not ready yet. During this oh-so-sad carpet escapade, all the training that I thought may be futile kicked in and he stopped barking at our neighbors. Nobody was as surprised as me (except for maybe the neighbors) when he didn’t lunge and try to take them down. It happened like this…one random day, a few weeks ago, our neighbors came out and I said “NO, we don’t bark at our friends!” and he actually stood there and wagged his tail. We went over to them and they petted him and he licked them and it was an ultimate love fest.
I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I only know that one day all the work and repetition, and the days of seeming like nothing was working and there was no point in continuing to do all the things…one day it just clicked for him. All those little behind-the-scenes moments of trying and training and all the nothingness and he – boom – quantum leaped into being a well-behaved dog.
Can you see how we’re the same? All the days, months, years of hard work and nothing happens. We try, we fail, we bounce back, we hit the wall, we fall down, we scratch our head, we get back up, we flounder for long periods of time with nothing to show for it. Then one day it seems like it all pays off and we just get it. It suddenly feels like it was natural for us the whole time and we’ve always understood it on this level.
I am diligently working with Chester. I will keep working with him and continue to do the things I know help him. Most importantly, I will let him be and grow in his own time. I will be kind and loving towards him.
I am diligently working with myself. I will keep working with myself and continue to do the things I know help me. Most importantly, I will let myself be and grow in my own time. I will be kind and loving towards myself.