One of the things I am working on with Tippy is to NOT pull when she is on the leash. She weighs 65 pounds and is as strong as an ox. If I let her pull, she could potentially pull me down or get away from me in a dangerous situation. To keep this from happening, if she starts to pull, I will stop and call her to come back and sit beside me until she settles down. We continue with our walk, and, if she pulls again, we repeat the process until she can walk with no pulling.
One day, a couple of weeks ago, I had taken her out for her morning constitution before getting ready for a day of substitute teaching at a local day care/preschool. I was sort of in a hurry, but she started pulling. I know that she had caught a whiff of something that had been out the night before, but that is no excuse. Being in a hurry, I was tempted to just let it go, but knew that I needed to be consistent. We started the training session described above. After the fifth time of calmly calling her back to sit by me, having only gone about 10 steps, I said to her: “What are you doing? Trying to teach me patience for my day with the children ?”
Then it hit me! That was exactly what she was doing. If I could be calm and patient with her, I could be calm and patient with the children. I don’t have to get frustrated when they don’t listen the first time. I still need to get them to mind, but in a more calm, assertive way. This is just one example of how Tippy has made me a better person and a better teacher.
Do you have a story of how your dog/pet has made you a better person? If so, I’d love to hear it.