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Puppies on holy ground

Julie Bacon Goals Puppies Training

I thought about naming a dog "Holy Ground" inspired by the T-Swift song of the same name. Of course, her's is about an ex (spoiler alert), but it's about remembering all the places you've been before, yet that person is no longer in your life. So you're walking on "holy ground," so to speak.

Look, I'm no Swifty, but the song inspired me to think about the pressures and goals we put on our puppies before we ever bring them home. Then once we get them home, we can't help but compare them to our former love, our other dog. "The other/older dog was perfect." "That dog understood what I meant." "That dog just knew."

There's a lot going on here, but let's focus on two things: our idyllic memory and our habit of comparison. Our memories kinda forget the bad parts, like the puppy phase when Mr. Perfect chewed the leg of treasured furniture, or when Miss Perfect had a tantrum when faced with a bath. My first dog out of college pulled my arms out on every walk for three years (a lab mix, so duh!), but ask me and I'll tell you he never did anything wrong because I remember him when he was perfect.

We think that with more experience, it will get easier and easier with every new dog, and in many ways it does. However, as we get better - be it life or dog training - the universe decides it's time for us to "level-up," a term borrowed from gamers to mean getting to the next level. Your new baby is not only NOT your previous dog but has come to you so that you can Level-Up.

Which segues nicely into comparison. Yes, we can and should learn from our previous experience and our other dogs can provide a baseline of sorts. But don't use those markers as permission to measure one dog against another or grade your own handling as better or worse, or even to judge your relationship. It's just different. Further, it's too much dang pressure to put on a new kid! Geezus! They didn't show up to fulfill your dreams, they came so you could get better.

They may be walking on holy ground, but your dog is here to forge an entirely new path. Keep those reminiscings separate, sacred, and special and open up to a whole new loving adventure!!


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