As a dog trainer whose days are centered around dogs, dog behavior, dog knowledge, and sometimes, dog poop, the last thing I want to do is take dogs into my home. It’s not relaxing and always takes about 3 days for things to normalize, but when a friend with a 9 month old mini Australian Shepherd tells me that her dog sitter is pulling out at the last minute, I really don’t have an excuse. It’s what friends do, and I should be good at it given my profession. So, I did. I said yes.
The plan was for Friday to Sunday. Three days, two nights. I can handle that. Right? RIGHT?
So, here’s what I learned:
- Everything I’ve told dog owners about prevention and management is true. It sets everyone up for success.
- Everything dog owners have told me about prevention and management being a pain in the ass is true. You really just need to acclimate to a new way of living with gates, crates, and leashes, and sometimes, you just don’t want to.
- You do get used to the prevention and management tools mentioned above, and it does make things easier.
- 10-year-old dogs, don’t always welcome a “friend” into their homes.
- We won’t be getting a puppy anytime soon.
- Socialization – meaning exposure to everything in your human life, not just dogs – is key and, every so often, all you need.
- A well-socialized dog whose attention you can get makes up for a lot of things.
- Smaller dogs are just easier. When they pull, when they poop, when they do just about everything.
And that’s the truth.