Success can mean many things to many people; Social Status, achievement of certain goals and the opposite to failure.
How each individual measures success is personal and rewarding.
“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure” – Sven Goran Eriksson.
Over the years I have set many goals and would like to think I have achieved most of them.
One that comes to mind is Max, the 8 year old Blue Heeler who came to live with us in 2007. He was a dog who stood out from most I had worked with over the years. He had a strong personality and a point to prove. Not only was he human aggressive and dog aggressive, he was toy obsessed, food obsessed. These were all signs of a very stressed dog indeed.
My goal was not to fight with Max or force him to feel compromised in any way and in time to earn his trust and respect.
Earning trust and respect from a dog can sometimes be hard work. The key to earning that trust and respect is not to use force, fear, bribery or commands. No matter what questions they throw at you, being prepared with calm, kind and consistent answers shows the dog you are worthy of their trust and respect.
If your dog/s had a meeting – who would you like them to elect to make the hard decisions?
Over time Max had many questions to ask, “what are you going to do if I growl at you, pull on the lead, bark in the car, attack one of the dogs, urinate in the house, pace the floors, guard the toys or chase the birds” and there was no way you could give him a brush!
My desire and commitment to reach my goal would eventually lead to success and unbeknown to me at the time, Max was my teacher.
There were times I felt frustrated and inadequate but I had a goal to achieve and a dog to relieve of his obsessive compulsive behaviours and his lack of ability to relax.
Max did eventually learn to trust and let go of his obsessions and curve his aggression. He even enjoyed a snooze in the sun or in front of the fire, he walked calmly on the lead, didn’t bark in the car or urinate in the house, loved a brush and I have fond memories of cuddles and kisses – I called them “love-ins”
Unfortunately in 2011 we lost Max to a heart condition. He was a member of our family and still today we talk, laugh and shed the odd tear. I am grateful for having him in my life and teaching me that being successful means doing what I love.
Published in Holistic Bliss Magazine, Volume 39, September 2012