I apologize. I haven’t written you a letter for a long time. Mostly due to ridiculous feelings of guilt. We haven’t gotten as far in your training this summer as I planned. In early June I had all these goals set and I don’t think we have achieved one of them. You are still barking at the front door when people pass, you still don’t know how to stand on your front legs, you still leap at dogs on the sidewalk, and you are no closer to swimming than I am to flying a plane.
You probably don’t care about these things the same way I do. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling ashamed of my laziness. It’s been a busy summer in many ways and we have done some pretty cool things. Just not the three things I wanted most. I’ve no one to blame but myself, of course.
Perhaps I need to give myself a break. It seems to be in my nature to focus on my mistakes. Like the time I few weeks ago with the three little dogs on our front lawn. Do you remember? I wasn’t sure if I should let you greet them or not. I hesitated too long and you took matters into your own hands, leaping and barking at the small creatures. It wasn’t your fault the dogs’ owner made a hasty retreat after tossing you a terrified glance. It’s never your fault. However, beating myself up about my dog training sins doesn’t help either. I love how quickly you always bounce back, as if the incident never happened.
I still have a lot to learn from you.
Like how you never let your fears stop you from doing what you want. I will never forget the time you jumped off the dock into the river at the dog park. Did you forget you don’t like to swim? I’ll never understand what inspired you to do that. It was so thrilling! Unfortunately, I don’t think it was as exciting for you and the fright you gave yourself that day seems to have made you more wary of open water than ever. We’ll work on this, though. I promise. You’re still young and I know you can do it.
We’ve been asked to participate in a dog training demo during the Rescue Dog Show next weekend. Don’t tell him I told you, but your male human doesn’t think you are ready. He doesn’t think you could handle an audience of that size. He thinks you’ll flip out and go on a manic zoom around the exhibition hall. Maybe he’s right but I would like to give you a chance. I know you have it in you to be a super-star.
Whether I have it in me is another story.
While I may have disappointed myself in not reaching my summer goals, I can’t say we have achieved nothing. Most of the difficulties we have with each other revolve around a lack of understanding. You do you best to communicate with me and I do my best to communicate with you, yet we still don’t always connect. Our relationship is not an easy one as a result. This summer I think I have learned how to make things simpler for you. I have realized that the disconnect happens when I don’t make my signals absolutely clear. In that area I think I have made some great gains. You may not be performing hand-stands but I do think we have grown just a bit closer in the last couple months. That’s no small thing.
Thanks for all of your patience, Sheevs. I know I have been a slow learner. I promise to learn from your example and to try to be more patient with you. You are an awesome dog but there is only so much you can do on your own. It’s time for the human to step it up.
The crazy woman at the other end of the leash