Dogs don’t ever host pity parties. Don’t ever let your dog know you feel sorry for them. They won’t understand and they’ll think there’s something wrong.
We’ve been fighting the urge to pity Torque. Every time we look at him, it’s a bit of a gut punch, just a beautifully-healed scar and fur where his eye should be. But he doesn’t know he’s different. So it’s up to us to make sure he doesn’t think he’s broken.
One of the vast strengths of dogs is their ability to live in the moment. Torque doesn’t think about how much pain he was in when his eye ruptured. Or how scared he was.
He only knows that he’s fine. Life goes on. He plays with his toys, his cousins, and his mother. He eats, enjoys treats, he goes for walks. He even goes to Rally class. Life goes on.
Take a lesson
So we act like everything’s okay and normal. And because we’re living it, it’s becoming true. We consciously put aside whatever pity we have for him and appreciate what we have.
We’re not the only ones who should make a point of living in the now. Lots of people with dogs adopted from shelters or rescues feel sorry for their dogs. They’ll even expect less from these dogs because of their background.
That’s not fair to the dog. When those adoption papers got signed, that dog became one of the luckiest dogs ever.
Stretch their potential
It does take a while for adopted dogs to realize they’re home for good and shed their “best guest behaviors.” After about three months, dogs know they’re home and safe. So they may start being naughty.
We’re actually surprised by how many people give their dogs leeway because of their background. The best security you can give your dog is to set rules and schedules and expect them to abide by them. Dogs love routine. They thrive on regularity. The best thing you can do for any dog is to establish consistent rules you all llive by.
Habit is everything
We start every morning’s activities with short training game sessions with each dog. The day after surgery, Hope was playing training games with Torque.
Was he particularly sharp? Not really. But he was reassured that everything was okay because we stuck to routine.
So don’t feel sorry for your dog. Or at least don’t act like it. You know the old saying: Fake it ‘til you make it.
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