The Puppiness Project – Sometimes All You Can Do Is Grow Up

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.
Golden Retriever Puppy Sleeping

How do you expect me to write a cute caption? Can't you see I'm sleeping?

I keep making the same mistake with Honey. She’s so smart, so calm, and so eager to please that she’s very easy to train.

But she’s still young.

Sometimes I expect a little too much from Honey because she performs so well at home. I need to keep reminding myself that she’s still an adolescent and things like impulse control are going to take time.

This is a mistake I’ve been making for many years–with myself.

I bought my first house when I was twenty-four years in what could kindly be called a “distressed” neighborhood. I worked with a very active block association to address local problems like abandoned houses, slum landlords, crack dealing, and other things associated with poverty and neglect.

I didn’t always show the maturity and respect I should have to some of my neighbors. I thought I knew more than I did. Over time, I got better at listening and learning. I just needed to grow up a bit.

I’d love to know what I could do in that neighborhood with the maturity I’ve gained since then. And to know what more my neighbors could teach me.

Being well-trained (or educated, if you prefer) isn’t enough. It takes time to absorb life’s lessons. Sometimes you just need to give yourself (and your dog) time to grow up.

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  1. It’s so true! It’s also why I can’t be too hard on myself for the mistakes I made back then, either. Something I am prone to do. I was young and I thought it was a good idea at the time. I should probably cut my former self some slack.

  2. Very true. Though I suspect I might grow old before I grow up.

    Your old hood sounds scary.

    • Let’s hope you never grow up. I suspect if you did, your blog wouldn’t be half as much fun. :)

      I miss the old hood. I’ve recently realized about myself that I need to live somewhere that’s just a little bit dangerous. Not Sarajevo in the 1990s dangerous. Just a little edgy.

      My current town is really safe as far as crime goes. But we are surrounded by jagged gorges which see several deaths each year.

      My next home will feature another kind of peril to face. I’m still trying to figure out what in the world this all means. Oh well, future blog fodder I guess.

  3. Great point – growing up definitely takes some time. I’ll let you know when I get there…

  4. Now that I’m older, I wish I could go back and do a few things over….
    I learn every day from my puppy (who is now older too!)

    • One of my friends in her 70s has gotten so past all these discussions. Now she just says, “I’m old. I can do what I want.”

      I guess one of the benefits of getting older is having lots of puppies over the years to learn from.

  5. I’ve realized in the past year or so that I need to slow down, listen and learn more. I don’t know everything or have all the answers, and never will! I’m glad I realized this at 24 rather than who knows when.

  6. Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional:) I think it’s fine to not grow up as you grow old as long as you’re not a danger to yourself or others! Also having dogs helps you stay young mentally and have fun.

    A couple of my best friends have just turned 70 and they are both an inspiration to me:)

    I’m still not very good at impulse control myself, how can I expect my kids to be, lol.

  7. Such a great post – I often forget that my little guy is still less than a year old, especially when he carries out the demands of this trainer so well. Thanks for the reminder – Kuna thanks you, too. ;0)

  8. Very well put. If there is anything I’ve learned from our dogs is growing up and maturing can make a big difference for both of us. Why just today Zappa went on the job with my husband and was tied up and didn’t bark his mouth off all day long. He was great! What a difference a year makes and what a lesson to learn.