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.
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.