It was good to know people were pulling for us.
Despite Honey having been abducted by aliens the day of her Canine Good Citizen test, I don’t have any complaints. The test evaluator and her helpers not only loved dogs but cared about people who loved dogs.
So why did I feel like crap?
Neurotic Dog Person
The test’s evaluator encouraged me not to be nervous by telling me the Canine Good Citizen test was not about obedience or tricks. It was about the relationship between the dog and her handler.
Because if it were about training, I’d be off the hook. I know I’m a rotten trainer.
But I work really hard at the relationship.
So if Honey is more interested in squirrels, other people, the evaluator’s clipboard, and the dog in the truck than she is about me, I’m a big fat loser. And I’ve somehow harmed our relationship.
Yep, that’s how a neurotic person interprets words meant to be encouraging. We’re crazy. Get it?
Building a Relationship With Your Dog
What I don’t know about dogs could fill books. Come to think of it, it does.
But I do know that I want a relationship that goes both ways. That’s why I try to:
- meet Honey’s needs
- understand what’s important to her
- keep from tricking her (I sometimes fail, but I know I’m not the only person who has faked a treat in the pocket in desperation)
- let her make choices
So if the test is about relationship, and the signs of the relationship are weak, somewhere I messed up.
Of course, worrying about my relationship with my dog isn’t the only way I’m neurotic. I’m also known to
- experience intense guilt if I don’t see the pedestrian standing at the crosswalk before it’s too late to stop
- worry that by turning on the heat when I’m shivering I’m killing polar bears in the arctic
- and become suicidal when I realize I’ve forgotten yet another birthday
Somehow, the only thing that makes things better when I feel like a hideous stain on humanity, is taking my dog for a walk.
Hmmm. Maybe I’m wrong that neurotic people should not be allowed to have dogs.
Maybe we crazy people need dogs more than anyone.