Celebrate Success, Shrug off the Poop!

In my last post, /static/51685611e4b0af9d19dec807/51696fffe4b0296bdc94d409/51697000e4b0296bdc94d47e/1328738337000/, I described a dog walker who had become so frustrated with one of the dogs in her care, she became verbally abusive to the dog. What I witnessed made me very upset and it has been on my mind for days now. It has prompted me to reflect on my approach with the dogs and how proud I am of the work I do with all of the dogs that hike with me at K9 Expeditions.

I thought I would share a funny experience I had a few weeks ago that could have been frustrating, but with the right attitude, was no big deal. We arrived at our trail of the day and once we were safely on the trail and the environment assessed, the dogs were let off their leashes.  A few minutes later, I heard a woman call from about 50 feet ahead that her dog bites.  I asked her to give me a second to leash up my four dogs.  I called them all back to me and they came enthusiastically to get their leashes on.  I didn't realize it, but I was standing right next to a huge pile of horse poop.  As I was leashing Finn, Stanley and Bayliss, Stevie was dancing around me getting lots of praise because she had just performed such an excellent recall.  She was doing most of her little dance in the poop and a few seconds later I realized that not only was Stevie covered in horse poop, but my pants were also covered in horse poop. Arggg!

Stevie doing a very nice sit-stay.

I don't like being covered in poop, nor do I like my dog to be covered in poop. Instead of getting frustrated, I took a deep breath and thought about how funny and great the situation actually was. My sweet little five-month old German Shorthair was so proud of herself for performing her recall with enthusiasm and drive she didn't even realize she was dancing around in poop! She was so focussed on my praise and her interaction with me, the poop didn't even register. So I had a little horse poop on my pants, no biggie, it probably won't be the last time. I kept things light and fun and celebrated Stevie's success. Sure, the horse poop wasn't ideal, but by focussing on the positive elements that came from the situation I was in I was able to shrug it off and have fun with the dogs, which is the whole point of K9 Expeditions. As the woman and her dog passed us, I took advantage of the opportunity to work on our group sit-stay and all four dogs did really well! 

The dogs and I continued on and had a somewhat smelly but fun-filled hike. One bath later and Stevie was smelling like my little girlie-girl again.