Monday, January 25, 2010

Life outside the box

With Samurai, the day begins
with a primal scream.

The truth is, all dogs are not equal. Some come with a little bit extra, in a good way. Others have a little too much in an entirely different direction. Call it high spirited, reactive, whatever. It's just that little extra something that makes each day, let's say, exciting.

I remember when I was training my sniffy little terrier, Shaunie, in agility. How everyone told me how all I needed to do, was make myself more interesting than dirt. I don't think they understood just how difficult a task that really was, and how bad I felt to lose so many popularity contests with the ground.

And so it is, with Samurai, but in a different way. He's the colicky baby. The three year old kid that kicks and screams in the grocery store. The teenager who sneaks the parent's car keys and then wrecks the car.

That kind of dog.

You know, when you have a dog that not only steps outside the box, but bungee jumps 50-feet caterwauling over the side of it, you're just not going to have the same overall experience as say, taking on a dog of the more teacher's pet, ready-to-please type like Taylor.

No amount of training will change the job description that comes with that role, and rather than pretending it's just failure on someone's part, it's better to come to grips with, and embrace the difference.

It probably means taking things slower. Breaking lessons down into very simple pieces. Not taking things personally. And being prepared to start again.

It's not just a job, it's an adventure.

You're an army of one.

And just ahead, a whole new day awaits you. This time, get right in that box with him.

And jump.

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