This morning, while I was out with Argos, I found myself thinking about all the small goals that he managed to achieve over the years. If I think back to where we started, I’m satisfied with the work we’ve done. Of course, there are still many things to settle, but in these years I understood one thing: if you continue to emphasize what is wrong, rather than to be happy for what works, you will never be able to find a balance.
Your dog can be perfect in his imperfection
Focusing on what’s wrong makes us negative and also makes our dogs negative. The emotional connection between us and our dog is often much stronger than we think. We often do not even realize it: I needed a lot of time to really understand this invisible bond. I remember that at the beginning, all I did was to concentrate on what Argos was not: Argos was not a good dog, Argos could not walk in crowded places because he reacted, Argos could not be cuddled because he didn’t want. An infinite series of “Argos cannot”, “Argos is not”.
Then, I started to see things from a different perspective, I started to understand a little more about that strange dog that did quite the opposite of what a good dog should do. And I also started to see everything he could do, all that was positive about him. I stopped thinking with regrets about things we would never do and I focused on what he was, about him as a single individual, discovering what he loved to do and all the activities we could do together.
No, things didn’t change in one day, it took a lot of work, first of all on myself. And I don’t even want to insinuate that this change has improved his behavior, that he has stopped having its dark moments because it’s not the case. Simply, I began to accept what is negative about him, always working to improve our relationship and his life, but without regretting what is not and never will be.
These simple reflections I made, want to be an invitation for all the owners of “complicated” dogs to look for the positive aspects of their animals, focusing on those and putting aside the problems. Keep working on them, keep trying to improve your relationship and the emotional stability of your dog, but don’t regret what your dog is not: he can be so many wonderful things that you have not considered yet.