A perfectionist since probably the moment I could walk and talk, I set very high standards for everything I do. Sometimes my approach to things serves me well. I excelled in high school and my extracurricular activities. I graduated with honors from college and I was even selected teacher of the year my first year in the classroom. In business, I strive to be the best in customer service, be the best vendor, be the best employer, be the best business partner…basically be the best at all I do. However, when you work with dogs they sometimes throw a little reality your way….life is not perfect, neither are dogs, and neither am I.
Training BOLO is extremely rewarding and also quite humbling. When I first brought BOLO home, I (of course) set out to be the best trainer possible to prepare this puppy for the extremely important role she will play in the future. The first couple months were a breeze. BOLO learned quickly and responded correctly to everything I asked of her. She behaved masterfully in public and was a joy to take everywhere.
Fast forward BOLO from young pup to early adolescent and it’s no surprise I am reaching for my box of L’Oreal hair color more frequently than before. There is no room for a “perfectionist” when working through the developmental stage of puppy adolescence. I look at BOLO each morning with a smile as I wonder “will this be a good day or an exhausting day?”
BOLO is maturing and progressing through expected developmental stages. On most days, she has incredible focused attention, responds to cues immediately, and maintains a calm demeanor in public. Yet, there are those moments when an entirely “different dog” takes over and everything I ask of her seems to fall on deaf ears. Imagine my horror when BOLO was tested for baseline performance on behavior skills she needs to master, and she decided the birds and helicopters in the sky were more interesting than anything I could possibly be asking of her. Sheesh- I’m a trainer, she is supposed to respond perfectly every single time, right??? Not at this stage of the game.
BOLO is still a young puppy- about to turn 7 months of age and she reminds me that “perfection” is an awful lot of pressure. Patience, persistence, and consistency are better approaches in striving to meet high standards for both immediate and long term goals. It is all about progress over time and, in the end, all I can do is accept that I give my all to do my best in life, business, and in training BOLO.
Today BOLO had a “perfect”- I mean “exceptional”- day and I actually did as well.