How are you investing in your dog?

goals Nov 14, 2019

If you’ve been following me, you may have noticed that my inspiration for these blogs mostly comes from three sources: the struggles clients share with me; the new things I learn and can’t wait to pass on; and the sh*t I am personally going through. Today’s blog is brought to you by door #3.

I believe we bring about what we think about, and related to that, we get more of what we focus on. I believe every decision or action or turn in the road adds up to create our current place in the universe. I believe our dogs are magical mirrors that get held up to us regularly. I believe we continue to repeat situations until we learn the lesson it contains, yet I also believe growth doesn’t have to be painful – that choice is ours. I believe we have less control than we think we do.

I could probably write blogs on each of these – and probably so could you! But today I’m going to focus on the first one listed and admit that I haven’t focused on my dogs in a few months and it shows!

Best laid plans

When I first came to Colorado, my dog goal was conditioning. I was embarrassed by how they looked at our national specialty in May and I vowed to take them on hikes, go swimming, and get all of us in shape. Within a couple of months, they had lost weight, were used to the altitude, and were rock solid. Trip was swimming without a vest, Mox was a retrieving fool in the water, and Indie was keeping up at eight-and-a-half. Because I believe in taking time off and switching-up what we do with our dogs physically, this fits that plan to a T.

In September, we went back east and I was able to drop-in to a few classes at A Click Above, our former and favorite training facility. Each of my instructors could tell it had been a summer of more fun than work – embarrassed again, sigh. But they were right, of course. I had invested in conditioning and not in training and it showed.

This is all a really long way of explaining that we get from our dogs (and from life) what we invest in. I invested in conditioning, I got conditioning, and that was it. My dogs held that mirror up to me, reflecting back exactly what I had given to them. It wasn’t bad – it actually had started as a goal – it just was.

New season, new goals

Now, heading into winter I find myself behind in all of my non-conditioning dog goals. As a reminder that we have less control than we think we do, the last six months have not gone quite as planned. From Moxie not coming into season when she was “scheduled,” to not being able to settle in as I had imagined, I find myself reassessing all of our lives once again. New plans are being made, new goals set. But isn’t that life?

We have to be a bit more compassionate with ourselves when it all goes to hell and the plans we’ve made shatter to the floor. Sometimes it’s not about gluing the pieces back together, but instead sweeping them up to make room for what’s new. I’m in a sweeping mode right now. I’m determining where I will invest my time and energy in these next few months and how to balance my dog goals with my life goals.

I’m pulling out my dog calendar, dusting off my goals, and creating new milestones that reach into 2020. There are variables to consider, trials to enter, training to do. Travel is always a present in the greater season I’m in right now in life, so that’s another variable. It’s about setting a point on the horizon while knowing the path will absolutely not be straight. There’s a fluidity in our dog relationships that we either learn to flow with or we are forever fighting against. I’m learning to flow.

I’m also aware we are in a season of gratitude as Thanksgiving approaches so I’m choosing to shift and be grateful for my healthy dogs and hopeful for what awaits. I am, I know, an eternal optimist and I always believe something wonderful can happen at any moment.


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