Our current foster dog, Layla, is a beagle mix. What’s she mixed with? Mexican jumping bean.
No Dog is Perfect
Layla is the easiest dog we’ve ever fostered.
She’s affectionate, calm, and sweet. She’s happy to go for a walk with you. But if it’s cold, she’s just as happy to curl up near you and nap.
Layla has one habit I find funny and endearing. But it might be a problem for someone else so we’re working on it together.
She jumps up when you come home.
Sure. Big deal. She weighs 20 pounds. Who’d even notice the jumping?
Well, she jumps high enough to head butt me. I’m 5′ 7″ (170 centimeters).
Layla can’t contain her joy when one of us comes home. Her back paws end up nearly 3 feet (1 meter) off the ground.
Don’t Reward Bad Behavior
We’re doing the same thing with Layla we did with Honey from the time she was a puppy.
If Layla jumps when I come in the door, I go right back outside. If she sits, I come back inside.
The second she jumps, I go outside again. Once she remains on the floor, I love her up and scratch her butt.
This process can take a while. But she is settling down faster.
I just need to respect Layla’s limits.
- Her excitement is greater the longer I’ve been away.
- Expecting her to stay sitting is too much. Standing or wiggling with all four paws on the floor is fine.
Training an exuberant Golden Retriever puppy taught me there’s no better way to guarantee failure than by failing to recognize someone’s limitations (thanks, Honey).
Computers Make My Head Hurt
I’ve missed my self-imposed deadline to relaunch my home buyer’s website. I’ve threatened to redesign Something Wagging This Way Comes for two years and haven’t started yet. Even putting a simple widget in a blog sidebar fills me with dread.
I hate feeling stupid because I can’t do a task someone else finds simple.
But I’ll only learn by doing.
So I read computer forums and search for answers to my questions. I pore over software trying to understand it. And I try not to give up too easily.
I do have limits, though.
And I’m trying to respect them.
If it’s unfair to expect an excited dog to go from jumping three feet in the air to sitting quietly when I come home, maybe I need to lower my expectations for myself.
Just because something can be done in computer code doesn’t mean I can do it. And sometimes just ok is good enough.
Limits Change Over Time
Teaching Honey not to jump on us took time. She’s still not perfect with some visitors.
But as she’s grown up and developed self-control, she’s able to do things that would have been impossible a year ago.
I needed to learn that expecting Honey to sit instead of jumping was too hard for her at first. So we asked her to pick up a toy from her box. Then we expected her to stand all wiggly butt when we came in. And now, she’s able to sit quietly when we walk in the door.
Layla is sweet. But she’s not as fast a learner as Honey. So we’ll have to figure out her limits over time.
And I’m sweet. But I’m not as fast a learner as Honey either.
I need to decide on the web design equivalent to not jumping at the front door and be satisfied with that for myself until I can build up my skills.
I have to respect my limits. After all, if it’s good for the dog, it’s good for me too.