The Value Of A Good Relationship

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The Value of a Relationship:

I've been working with a rather unfriendly dog. She decided that I, and most others, looked like a menu item. I've never been one to turn away from rejection so she moved on in to my house.

Oddly, even after two days, I didn't like this dog. I could see redeeming qualities that I forced myself to focus on, but we had no connection. And she did not like me, though we quickly developed a mutual understanding of each other, that blossomed into trust. But we didn't have fun together. We didn't have intimate moments. I taught her. She taught me. Then she went back home.

But there is an amazing thing. 

Trust and respect will develop into love. It just happens. If they trust you, if they know you will keep them safe, and if they respect you, they will end up falling for you. It is just the way dogs work. 

I just saw her again. In my absence, she decided that she is in-love with me. My voice makes her wiggle from the inside out. If I leave she worries about where I went. If I ask her to try, and to trust me, she gives me her greatest effort. All in all, she adores me. 

I had to wonder what I gave her that made her fall so deeply for me. It wasn't love. It wasn't fun. I gave her structure. Rules. Expectations. I demanded effort, and gave emotional disengagement. My demands were high, and though kind and fair, my emotional availability was nil; and yet she gave me her heart and soul.

Training a dog is about a relationship and blend of two personalities. The right blend must be earned. We can't always be their best friends, first we must be their parents. By being her parent, her fear was gone, her lunging was gone, her worries were gone, her anxiety was gone. I now have a happy, confident, goobery lug of a dog, who smiles all day long. Now I can be her friend too.

I taught her the value of earning respect in an honest relationship. And in turn, she is going to make her owner better at things that she had no idea she needed to be better at. 

Funny the way that works....

Monique Anstee
Victoria, BC

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