Today, I want to talk about the diet industry and how they have us believing that lifestyle changes are easy and should come quickly. I say the opposite. Lifestyle changes happen slowly and can be difficult. That being said, let me share this story with you.
I picked up Finn on Monday morning and was full of love and excitement. I felt ready to tackle the challenge of raising an eight-week-old mini bernedoodle as I had watched hours and hours of puppy training videos on YouTube for the past couple of weeks.
I was armed with enough knowledge and confidence that, in my eyes, I was practically a world-class dog trainer at this point. My plan was to have him potty trained in the next 48 hours (I know what you are thinking).
Each time I brought Finn outside, I was shocked to see that he wouldn’t “go potty.” And each time I brought him back into the house, he would instead go on the floor. Finally, I looked down at him and said, “What the heck? We were just outside; why do you keep going in the house?” He looked up at me and said, “it’s not raining in here, and I like it better.”
The relentless and unexpected Chicago rain has made potty training a lot less exciting for both of us. So it’s going slow and this was also unexpected.
What is this about, and why am I telling you? Because by day two, I was stunned that my little Finn didn’t put on a raincoat and galoshes, flip-up his umbrella and say, “I’ll be back in five!”
What was I thinking? I am always hootin’ and hollerin’ to anyone that will listen that we must be realistic and recognize that change takes time. Often, more time than we anticipated. And for a tiny pup like Finn, it will be much more than 48 hours before he doesn’t pee in my house (I am thinking at least four days. Kidding!).
So you see, even me, who spends her day telling patients not to be so hard on themselves and to be patient because change is a slow process, forgets this from time to time. Manage your expectations.
Finn has already started improving, but I know he will have his bad days and I can’t get frustrated because that is part of the process too. One of my students said, “You are on puppy time, not Jill time.” And from that moment on, I changed my expectations. Going out numerous times a day has been more enjoyable for us—even in the rain.
The good news is that the next several days will be much warmer and sunny. Finn and I are looking forward to many outside trips, successful or not.
Do you have any puppy training tips or funny puppy stories? Please email me. Until then, I will be practicing what I preach!