Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project about the year she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy.” The Puppiness Project is my attempt to learn the same from Honey, my Golden Retriever, and Chérie, our visiting Foster Pup.
Sibling Rivalry is Good
Honey has taken a big leap forward in her training lately.
It may be the result of eight months of hard work. Or perhaps her increased confidence has quickened the learning.
But I think it has something to do with a smart alecky foster dog with one blue eye and a sense of mischief.
Honey is eager to please . And she’s very smart. But I’ve learned something new about my pup—she’s competitive.
Honey just got tired of seeing Chérie walking on teeter boards and hopping into bicycle carts for treats. She could do that. And gosh darn it, she did.
Honey has also picked up speed. She races to jump in the cart, before that “other dog” can beat her to it.
Yep, competition is good.
Keeping the Peace
I’m a Communitarian. I try to make choices that benefit the communities I live in and not just myself.
That means that on game night, I might not play my best if it means others will have less fun. It makes my husband insane. He thinks I’m not competitive enough. Especially when we’re playing on the same team.
But I can’t help it. It’s more important to me that everyone have a great time than that I win.
Dog Blog Wars
But I don’t always roll over and let myself get peed on. I do have a competitive streak. And, as long as I know it won’t harm my community, I indulge it.
Here’s my nasty little secret.
When I’m tired and don’t know why I’m blogging—when I need a little push to get my energy up—I start comparing stats. I visit compete.com, check my Alexa ranking, and see if I’m gaining or losing on Technorati.
Oops, my Alexa ranking is slipping. Better step up my game.
But it’s more fun to compete against someone else than yourself. So I’ll choose a blogger I really admire who is doing a little better than me—they have more monthly visitors or they have more incoming links. And I’ll set my sites on passing that blogger.
I figure it doesn’t do any harm. The admittedly one-sided competition perks up my energy a little bit. It pushes me to do a little better.
But it also makes me appreciate all the great bloggers out there. Some write every day. Many write humor that makes me laugh out loud. Others provide wonderful resources and information that teach me more about dogs. There is no shortage of talent in blogville.
I get my little competitive burst. And I get to enjoy my community.
Pitting One Dog Against Another
Honey is not the only dog in the house who responds to a little competition.
During Friday’s training session, I noticed Russ having a good time with Honey while I was clicking and treating Chérie for remaining calm with a scary stranger nearby. He noticed a shift in Chérie’s behavior to barking to solicit treats instead of barking in alarm. So he decided to play with Honey to encourage Chérie to get in on the fun.
Did it work?
Well, the Chérie in the yard when Russ left was not the same dog who “greeted” him when he arrived.
The learning is definitely going both ways.
Now if only I could end the competition to dig up the most cat poop in the garden.
Are you competitive? Is your dog? Does it help or hinder?
Welcome to Monday Mischief – The pet blog hop that wraps up the weekend! This Blog Hop is brought to you by Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, My Brown Newfies and Luna, A Dog’s Life and you can read more about how to link up here.