Recently this beautiful little creature came into my life. He’s brought with him a profound change. Often you don’t realise how much of a routine you’ve created for yourself, how stuck in certain loops you’ve become. You need a new family member to shake things up a bit, to change the dynamic. My 2 cats are certainly having to adapt!
I’ve had 2 realisations so far from this experience.
1) Change is good
It’s such a cliché, I know, but adapting to new circumstances is good for us. It challenges us to try something new. It stretches us. It keeps us flexible. It brings new insights and opportunities. The only way to get to learn to ride a bike is to actually get out of your comfort zone, get on the thing and pedal.
2) Puppy training is like coaching people
I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this one, but hear me out. Puppy training is all about lots of positive reinforcement and motivation (in the form of treats). People respond favourably to positive reinforcment too, and when we are motivated by a purpose, we learn fast and perform well, reinforcing the good behaviour. Puppies need to be slowly introduced to their environment so that they can become accustomed to their surrounding and learn what the rules of engagement are. People are the same when learning new skills (although hopefully they learn quicker than puppies being housetrained!). We all need to build the foundation of the new skill and then add to that over time. This ensure that the new skills become properly ingrained.
I realise that the similarities don’t stretch too far, so don’t worry, I’m not going to milk the analogy further, other than to say that we actually do have some similarities in our brains.
Even tough it can sometimes be extremely challenging, I’m looking forward to years of happiness learning with my puppy.