So, we’ve made it through this year. I can’t say it was easy, it really wasnt. However, I do think I have learned so much, both in the dog sense and the personal-general-life-growth sense.
I am thankful for having two awesome dogs. They are both neurotic in their own special ways, yet I am more greatful for them now than ever after working with many other dogs. My dogs love to work, love to be out and about in the world, and are in general, pretty easy to live with.
While Forest was far from perfect in our multi-day seminar (proper post on that to follow), after having a few days to marinate on it all, I am truly, truly proud of how well he handled it. We were indoors for two-and-a-half days, packed in like sardines, with day care dogs barking non-stop in adjacent rooms and people coming in and going constantly. I watched an excruciating 15 minute video segment of us–excruciating less because of my horrible handling, and more so because he truly hung in there like a champ while I was oblivious to how lovely he was being. I was only half-paying attention to him in between our attempts, desperately trying to absorb what Rachel was telling me, dangling his toy in his face, and yet he stayed in the game. The whole time. He is my best pal, and in so many ways, a huge factor in why I am where I am in life right now. He has come a very long way from the wild, compulsive dog that would run away from me any chance he got. He now is more often the “good dog” of the household than not, which is something we would not have believed, not all that long ago.
Poor Diego had a rough go this year. Moving, dumb foster dogs, and lots of household stress. It all but pushed him over the edge. However, I think 2011 could be his year. We have had a few brief goes in the last few weeks training in group settings, and he has been a star. Totally 100% focused on me, willing to work for as long as I need him to. I think he just might have a future as a demo dog. I haven’t done much of anything yet to fulfill my goal with him to do Rally, but we will be required to take a variety of basic obedience classes at work, so maybe that will be where we can hone our skills together.
I am proud of myself for having the gumption (or maybe pure stupidity) to take the leap into a new career, which two months later is still terrifying. But, regardless of what happens, I will never wonder “what if.” I will know whether or not I am cut out to be a dog trainer.
An anti-climactic early off to bed tonight, as I get to work the early holiday shift tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing the first sunrise of the year.