I apologise for the long silence on this blog. So much has been happening and I have been very busy with work, but now it is time to focus on Humanima again!
Amongst all of the stress, I have been making big plans which I am very excited to share with you! For the next two and a half months, I will be traveling around the world. First, two weeks in California and then two months in Tasmania, Australia! In Australia I will be working with multiple horses – the goal with most of them is to get them started under saddle (aka get them ridden for the first time). I will share as much of this journey with you as I can!
What I wanted to talk about today is perfectionism. Something most of us don’t have enough of when it comes to working with animals. It’s an attention to detail that can make the world of difference. Yet when we are extreme perfectionists, things almost always go downhill. Fast.
I was at a Seminar on training “problematic” dogs. Entering the room, the first thing I heard was a deep growl that echoed through the room. I had no way of knowing where it came from. The growling dog was owned by a sweet young women, but his behavior got so bad that she had to put him back in the car. We worked with almost all of the problematic dogs there that day (extremely scared and spooked, aggressive, strong hunting instincts, etc), except for this dog with the growl and aggression towards others.
When we were back in the classroom, the trainer teaching this seminar turned to the owner of the growling dog. He asked her what she was having trouble with. She explained and, without seeing her and her dog in action, the trainer simply said, “Your problem is that you’re a perfectionist.”
I was absolutely stunned that he could read that just by looking at her. She hadn’t explained much and had done nothing with her dog. The young lady had tears in her eyes and nodded. Seeming to know, to some extent, that it was true. I saw her during a break afterwards, walking with her dog off leash past all of the dogs going on walks. The growling, the aggression, the “disobedience” if we should call it that, was simply gone. From one second to the next. It was gone because she had faced the fact that she was a perfectionist and realising she had to change and relax for her dog.
We don’t want to become this overbearing, super controlling dog owner. Yet perfectionism has its place. We don’t want to let little bad habits slide until they turn into big problems. And there’s nothing saying that we can’t expect a lot from our dogs.
But where’s the middle for you and your dog/s? Where do you think you could maybe be more picky and where could you relax a little more? Let me know in the comments. Balancing perfectionism is a real deal breaker – something that will take an entire lifetime to master, but there’s no better time to start than now.