“Don’t feel like a failure if you can’t make a social butterfly out of the dog you rescued from a nightmarish beginning. Giving him a kind, loving home and helping him to relax enough to nap in your lap are achievements in their own right.” (Patricia McConnell)
@nelleandellen challenged her followers to post about their biggest challenges with their dogs.
Although Loki is a fairly adaptable and confident (ish) dog now, he wasn’t always. Through consistent training, we developed trust and calmness in new situations. Our greatest challenge is Loki’s tendency to feed off of my anxiety. When we train in new places, I can sometimes become overwhelmed, and Loki feels that and gets nervous. He’s great at anxiety/panic response when I need it, but he struggles to stay confident if I haven’t given him a job to do.
He has improved SO much, and I’m incredibly proud of how far he’s come. But, some days, I compare him to other dogs (which is really comparing my training to others’) and feel like I’ve failed. I have to remember that he didn’t start from the same place that other dogs did. He has bad days, and, then, it’s a victory just to watch him sleep next to me or play ball in the yard. He will never be a “social butterfly,” but he’s dog-tolerant, somewhat people-social, and loves so many things he used to fear. He’s mentally and physically stimulated, healthy, and so so happy.
That’s what matters.
Practice makes progress.