Fear has always been my achilles heel. For some people, it's insecurity, for others its lack of motivation or procrastination. For me, it's fear. I often half-jokingly describe fear/fretting/worrying as my default position. Without even realizing what I'm doing, precious moments of peace in my heart and mind often turn to fretting about 'what-ifs'. And in no case was this more true, than with when we got Lincoln.
I've always wanted a dog just exactly like Lincoln, and beyond what I thought we were getting with him ... he continues to surprise and bless Ryan and I with his eagerness to please, quick learning and sweet softhearted nature. Yet despite all the sweet goodness he has to offer, I was still letting myself worry about him and our future with him. Ridiculous, irrational what-if's used to flood my mind when we first got him.
Then one day, I had a MAJOR realization. Everything I've been told or read about training him says that Ryan and I need to be the pack leaders, the leaders of this household and of this dog. If I want him to be calm in certain situations and around all people, I need to introduce him to all those situations and I need to be calm while doing so. I set the tone. I had always hoped I would have a dog I could pack up and take downtown for a walk and coffee with a friend. A dog that was flexible and fit our lifestyle. But with a new puppy I wasn't sure of how he'd respond. Then I realized, I needed to face my own fear of having a puppy who couldn't do those things, and just do it. Take him everywhere, introduce him to everyone, be calm in all situations and face all those unknowns with an assuredness that everything is going to turn out great!
For every fear or unknown situation that I walk into believing things will turn out just fine, I'm consistently amazed to look back and see him there. following my lead. acting as I'm acting. being calm as I am calm. behaving like the truly great dog I'd hoped he would be.
I knew this pup was going to be a tremendous addition to our lives. I did not, however, fully understand just what cathartic healing he would bring me in the areas of my personal shortcomings. for these experiences and realizations, and how they apply to my life in general, I am truly grateful.