Even Superstars Have Bad Days – Good for the Dog; Good for You

Honey was abducted by aliens.

That was the only explanation I could think of for her lack of focus on the day we took her Canine Good Citizen test. It was either that or her brain had fallen out and was hiding behind a dog hair tumbleweed in the bedroom.

Connecting with my Golden Retriever.

See, I wasn’t really taken by aliens. I’m right here.

We still managed to eke out a pass. Thanks to our tester giving us a second chance to walk through a group of strangers without greeting them excitedly. But I learned an important lesson: even superstars have bad days.

Regular People Have Bad Days Too

Do you think of yourself as a superstar? I certainly don’t see myself that way. I’m just a regular person.

But you wouldn’t know it if you heard how upset I get with myself for not being perfect.

Honey the Golden Retriever sits with her yogurt cup.

Lil Punkin Butt and Mr. Handsome have gone home. I don’t know if it’s a good day because I don’t have to share my yogurt cup? Or a bad day because I have no one to play with.

Every day I make a list of the things I need to get done. Regular old maintenance tasks like answering emails, cleaning, and doing laundry. Future planning to move big projects forward. And of course, there’s that J-O-B thing.

If I accomplish most of the things on my list, it’s a good day. If I don’t, I’m a lazy, good-for-nothing failure. I don’t have bad days. I have catastrophic days that prove I’m as big a loser as I always thought I was.

Maybe I can learn from Honey and just have an ordinary bad day. After all, she’s a superstar and she doesn’t let one bad day affect her for long. I’m just a regular person. So maybe I can just have a bad day every so often too.

An Expensive Bad Day

I haven’t watched the Super Bowl in years. But I heard this was going to be an exciting match up. I was looking forward to seeing an exciting and close game.

If you’re an American exposed to any media at all, you know it was a dramatic blowout. The Denver Broncos barely got on the scoreboard. The Denver quarterback earns more than $17M a year. He’s a superstar. He had a bad day (actually, he had a pretty good day; it was his receivers who couldn’t hang onto the ball that had the really bad day).

So if a multi-million dollar athlete in the most hyped sporting event in the country can have a bad day, and Honey the superstar golden retriever can have a bad day, maybe I can too. And not have it be the end of the world.

If it’s good for the dog, maybe it’s good for me too.

Train Your Dog Month ChallengeAdd Your Link to the Train Your Dog Month Challenge

You have one week to tell us about how you celebrated  Train Your Dog Month. And if January is too exhausting to even think about meeting training goals with your dog, stop by to get inspired for the spring.

Your Turn: How do you handle bad days? How does your dog?


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  1. Indeed. We are all allowed to have off days, as long as we keep our perspective and don’t let one bad day drift into ten. Sometimes it is smart to just stop and re-charge before that happens.

    I hope you aren’t having a bad day today, but if you are, I have no doubt it will be brief!

  2. I usually handle a bad day with a long walk (which of course isn’t happening right now) or a bit of house cleaning. Both help me clear my head and calm down.

  3. I try to not beat myself up if I don’t get everything done. There is always tomorrow.

  4. We’ll have to have a beating ourselves up contest — the first one on the floor with self-inflicted blows wins (and loses — it’s perfect)! I like your perspective of famous people having bad days in public. Private humiliation and self-flagellation are so bush league!

  5. Oh us dogs do have good and bad days for sure. My sister Katie actually has moody days which makes Mom crazy! Hopefully Bailie will be having a good day this week when she attempts to graduate from Obedience 1. Mom keeps telling me she only needs to pass this one class and then never take obedience again, but Bailie doesn’t seem to are. We will see in a couple days.

  6. My bad days usually come when I don’t get enough sleep the night before. But, I try not to let them get the better of me. If I find myself in a really rotten mood, I take the dogs out to the back yard and watch them run around for a while. Just watching Ducky try to catch a squirrel cheers me up. Or, if Ducky’s at daycare, I’ll take out the Chuck-it toy and play a few games of fetch and keep away with Callie and Shadow. Last week was so cold, I used the indoor Chuck-it toy. I’d almost forgotten that we have one. If it rains tomorrow, I’ll take it out of the closet again. I’ve learned to not beat myself up so much. My Dad was a firm believer in the phrase “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, so I wasn’t allowed to be “lazy” unless I was sick. Now I call my “lazy” days “Mental Health Days” and enjoy at least 3 of them per week.

  7. Poor Mity was poorly when he took his final assessment on his training class and so was pretty high on medication – think it was the only way he passed it as he was brilliant when away from distractions but whenever we took him to classes he would run around like an idiot because it was just more fun!

    I think everyone beats themselves up too much. I know I do, and I struggle to ask for help. I don’t know if it is this over pressured life we are living?!

  8. My husband made me promise that my New Year’s resolution would be to be less hard on myself. I’m a lot like what you described: If I don’t plow through the never-ending task list each day, I feel like an unproductive failure. All that pressure is totally on myself. I deal with bad days with a good book and a glass of wine! The dogs have bad days, too, of course. Like the time Emmett and I were scheduled to talk to a group of social workers about the benefits of therapy dogs and he ran straight across the room and jumped up on the buffet table that was set for lunch… But, of course, he shrugs that stuff off immediately. Yet another lesson I should take from my guys!

  9. Too much! After years in the corporate world I now work from home. Making my way or not as a freelancer. While you would think I could manage it all, the house is messier, laundry is behind, I don’t have a concrete plan for dinner…what else?! I don’t even have kids at home anymore…just dogs sigh! This made me laugh and laugh at myself for being so serious about it…attitude is everything, so on this note, I’m going to make a short list, knock those things off the list…and call it a day, be like Biddy and Tristan and go sit in the sun and relax!