Taco ‘Bout Training Tuesdays: Never ‘Two’ Late!

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It’s never two late to show your love for dogs or tacos (or each other)!

I had BIG plans for Taco Tuesday! In February, Taco Tuesday was a major, global event of epic proportions: It fell on the 22cnd day of the 22nd month of the year ending in 22. So, the date was 22/2/22, or 2/22/22, depending on where you live. It was also the month after National Train Your Dog Month, and just TWO days after National Love Your Pet month in the US! It was twofer festival surrounded by dog events! I was going to mention twofer Tuesdays on radio stations, and toonie Tuesdays at movie theatres. I was going to tie all of it together in a giant, glorious, smorgasbord of tacos, dogs, and unofficial holidays!

It was a little…’two’ much. I hope these posts are a fun read, and I also want them to be informative, engaging, and most of all, helpful. Trying to meet those goals and pull in all the other things I was thinking about was unworkable, and I didn’t get anything posted on this most epic of all Taco Tuesdays. I had a big goal I was working towards, and I was keeping it a secret because I wanted to “WOW” everyone with a funny, entertaining, timely post that also included lots of practical, helpful dog training advice. I failed, and I was a little sad about it. I was disappointed in myself.

Fortunately, writing about dogs and tacos are not the only things that can cheer me up. I also love a good movie, and I saw a great one recently that really made stop in think about how universal feelings of failure and disappointment can be, while also giving me hope that we can do something about it. It was about a young guy that has a lot of personal problems: problems with money, relationships, college, his employer, and existential dread caused by a series of painful failures and the death of his closest family member, a death he blamed himself for. He keeps trying to do the right thing, but he doesn’t always succeed. Sometimes he fails spectacularly, and sometimes he even gives up, but never for very long. In the end, by trying to do better, he manages to help save the lives of several people that were suffering from their own personal trauma. It reminded me that even if I fail at something important to me, and even if make mistakes, I can still try to do better, and that sometimes, I can really help make things better for someone else and their dog.

Working with dogs can be a lot more pressure than people realize. It’s not all fun and games. Some dogs have very hard lives, and I know I can’t help them all. These dogs are sentient beings and part of someone’s family, so I want to help them all. If I fail to help them, they may really suffer. At least one dog I worked with had a neurological disorder and there was nothing I or any other trainer could have done, but I can’t help but blame myself. I am reminded of that dog every time I am working with a dog with behavioural issues. I am constantly aware that sometimes when I work with a client, the dog’s life is at stake.

Fortunately, I also have a constant, daily reminder, that sometimes I CAN save a dog that’s on death’s door: Our dog Spike. He was in a shelter, and he was scheduled to be euthanized. We fostered him and then adopted him, and he was a LOT of work. He kept me up late at night, for weeks, he had separation anxiety, didn’t know any verbal cues, bit my spouse the day he met him, had a little mild resource guarding, and had a lot of fears.

I think it’s a safe bet most of us have experienced at least one or two crushing disappointments, and that at least some of those disappointments were caused by mistakes we made. I can’t count how many times I have talked to a dog training client and slowly watched their heart break as they gradually realized that their dog was suffering with crippling anxiety because of something they did. I have experienced that with my own dogs, so I know exactly how bad that feels. I try to be as gentle as possible if someone is making an innocent mistake that is causing their dog undue stress, and never say anything accusatory, and always point out that I have made similar mistakes, and it’s ok, we just need to try to do better when we know better. This world is not a perfect place, and none of us are perfect people.

So, my post-Taco-Toonie-twofer-Tuesday-two-many-two-days blog post isn’t really about tacos, or Tuesdays, or the number two at all. It’s about how modern dog training and a certain very popular movie (I won’t say the name because I don’t think Marvel really needs me to help promote their movies) reminded me that while I may not be perfect, I can always try to do better, and in a way, that’s kind of perfect. If you are struggling with your dog, I hope you can learn to feel kind of perfect too. Please don’t beat yourself up, even if you are making mistakes or failing to do something you know you should. I promise I will try to help, and I will not berate you or try to make you feel guilty. I have probably experienced the exact same feeling of guilt for causing or failing to address some fear my own dogs experienced. There’s no reason we can’t be gentle with each other and ourselves. There’s no reason we can’t help each other try to do better. This is not the blog post I intended to write, and I’m not disappointed about that, because it’s better than the one I intended to write. Sometimes, when you try to do better, you succeed, and that’s a 1000X better than any taco.

BONUS TIME! I’ll give two people that correctly guess which movie I was referring a FREE 30 minute virtual dog training session!

HOW TO ENTER: Go to Boston Terrier Rescue Canada’s Facebook Page  and find the original post about this article on their newsfeed, share it, then make a comment on the same post with the name of the movie and the word “done”! Two winners will be randomly selected to win.

Until next time –
Daniel

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