'Perfect Puppy' Panic

I often hear people stressing over where their next puppy is going to come from, whether they will make a good choice and then how worried they are about messing the puppy up once it arrives. They desperately want to “do it right” this time. I get it…I’ve been there too. But I’ve learned the secret.

The secret to being afraid of picking the wrong puppy or messing up your new, perfect puppy is…get over it. If you accept right now that a) no matter how much you research to put the odds in your favour for your puppy, there are no guarantees and b) you WILL make some mistakes… then you can start moving forward. The REAL secret is to catch mistakes as you see behaviour developing that you don’t like. The better you get, the sooner you catch them. Practice, practice, practice! The only way to get better at training is to practice and pay attention!

Don’t be afraid to take your dog out in public. Don’t be afraid to train him. You can’t put him in a bubble, you’ll make him a freak. You can’t let him run wild with no rules, he’ll turn into a terror. Just be sensible and you’ll do just fine.

Here’s the real brilliance. Everyone makes *mistakes*, even top trainers. They simply notice the behaviour going wrong sooner than others, and they make sure next time out they get a different behaviour or will problem solve until they do. But they don’t think of it as a *mistake*, they think of it as training. Remember, you are the member of the team that has to be confident, and don’t let your dog shake that! You are still you! Would you let a chicken or a hamster or a fish shake your confidence? Then why a dog? Go love him and have fun with him and learn from him.

Trust me, no matter how many dogs you have in your lifetime, you will still be saying…”if only I knew then what I know now.” The journey of learning never ends. So get over it, get on with it, and enjoy every minute!

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