Monday, June 8, 2009

Remembering What's Important

I wasn't proud of myself today after a rough training session with Marge. I had set up a cute little Agility course in the back yard, thinking Marge and I would have a ton of fun playing on it this afternoon. Well, she had other ideas and wasn't exactly ready to comply. Looking back, maybe the treats weren't good enough or the weather was too humid or she was tired. But, I didn't see it that way then. I started to get frustrated and was just so upset with the whole situation.

I went inside and calmed down, figuring that staying out there and continually trying to will her through the weave poles was going to be anything but a positive experience for her. I felt pretty damn bad for the attitude I portrayed as someone simply fed up with a training session gone awry, forgetting to remember the dog underneath and the feelings that dog feels. So, I went out to the store, picking up some treats and toys for Marge to make myself feel better (since she, of course, wouldn't have been able to connect the two things).

I had lost sight of what's important; I hadn't stopped to think about how far Marge and I have come in the year she's been here. I didn't appreciate the fact that she was able to be outside without fear and I failed to fill my role as her friend, guiding her through all the new and exciting things life has to offer.

Thankfully, my negativity hadn't rubbed off on her, and she was her fine, happy self when I returned from my shopping, eager to play with the colorful stuffed fishy that had cost me just a dollar.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing. Marge welcomed the tutor into the house quite amiably and laid outside in the sun with my mother, my grandmother, and I for about an hour. We took a trip down to the boardwalk where she was a pleasure to walk with. Very attentive and not tremendously worried about other dogs. She got to go to Grandma's again, too, where she passed out on the rug with her head resting against the end of the couch. Was really cute.

So, if this ever happens again, I'm going to remember this day and how badly I felt for my feelings towards Marge's mushy mood. I'm going to remember how it could have affected her or made her uncomfortable doing agility, or make her worry that she was going to do something wrong. I'm going to stay positive 115% of the time, because anything else just isn't fair to a fearful, low confidence dog.


On another note, I have some things planned for Marge's 2nd birthday/1st Gotcha! Day coming up later on this month. First, I am working on a tribute video of sorts. I'm VERY big on videos of my pets. (I have two of Taco, memorializing him.) I have a feeling the endless pictures are going to be tough to sift through, and having to do it on my Mac means it's going to take 10 times longer because I still don't know how to use the thing completely. But it should be fun, and I will post it if I get ambitious enough to complete it in time.

The second thing I was thinking was to play a little game with any of our readers/fellow bloggers who are willing to join in. It will be a collection here on the blog on June 29th, which was the first day Marge was here last year. Anyone who wants will submit a picture of their pup (or pack) to me via e-mail with a short passage, no longer than a paragraph, about why you're lucky/happy to have your dog(s). I will post all of the pictures and blurbs with a link back to everyone's site. Is anyone interested? If so, I'll set it up later in the week, and if not, I'll scrap it.


Anonymous June 9, 2009 at 9:09 AM  

As much as I hate to say it, I'm glad I'm not the only one! There have been numerous times I've gotten so frustrated with Donatello that it's set us back, you're very fortunate and lucky Marge didn't pick up on it... *Whew* The more I work with Donatello, the less frustrating I find myself, which means the less set-backs we have... But it happens to the best of us... ; ) Don't beat yourself up over it, cause Marge isn't! : P

And I'm very interested! lol! I'd love to be apart of the Anniversary.

Rufus and Indie June 9, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

Of course we will participate!
Yesterday I was very frustrated too! Rufus has some bad bad otitis and he HATES all the cleanning process since he was a puppy and I know that's my fault. I started clicker training some weeks ago and Rufus is responding really well. However yesterday Rufus was so moody (and I think I was too) and I started loosing it. I had a deep breath and I decided to stop the training! We will try again today!
Rufus and Indie

Kimberly June 9, 2009 at 12:54 PM  

sO gLAD DAD got you toys and sstuff... sometimes dog have a mind of their own huh :)... Bell sure as heck does.. it's her way or NO WAY.. But, we are certainly trying to show you that SHE NEEDS TO LISTEN TO US. LOL. it's fun trying! She just gave me five the other day - we'd given up on that a month ago - she sat and gave me five I WAS SO HAPPY!!

Sam June 9, 2009 at 1:06 PM  

lol, Kimberly, I think you mean MOM!

Martha June 9, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

Dont be too hard on yourself - you are doing a great job with Marge! Dogs, like us, have off days and she obviously was not in the mood. Glad you moved on to have great fun with the fish.
We will be happy to participate in your post to celebrate your gotcha day - we consider ourselves very lucky to have found each other - that is dogs and humans!!!
Martha & Bailey xxx

Sue June 9, 2009 at 4:26 PM  

I have to stop sometimes and remind myself that this is supposed to be fun for them and me. Sometimes it's just better to walk away until you can get your mood in line. You're doing a great job with her.

We'd love to play. The only thing better than looking at puppy pictures is holding a puppy.

StellaStar June 16, 2009 at 2:46 PM  

Woot woot! Stella, Rufus and I will definitely participate in your June 29th thing!

I love this picture of Marge, btw...hilarious!

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