Relatable relationships…

Thank you all for the positive feedback in relation to my previous blog…. and the offers of ‘perfect’ dogs that would suit me LOL. I have 8 dogs, all perfect… so at this moment in time… plan B, is just that… a plan! I It did however, get me thinking about the perfect ‘relationship’ and how we use that word so frivolous to capture issues we have with our dogs, or the interaction we have with them.

Indeed, I always explain my take on dog training falls under 5 distinct areas and one of which is relationship.

I would love to be able to say, that every dog I have owned I have instantly clicked with and had that head over heels infatuation with. I definitely have had that, with most of my dogs…. but there are a few that it took a minute to create and find. Thats right, my name is Kamal Fernandez and I didn’t have an instant head over heels fall in love feeling when I saw some of my dogs…. I admit it! Stone me in the streets, flog me repeatedly, tar me and roll me in feathers….what a bad owner/dog lover I am! 

But I know, some of the people reading this blog will probably have felt exactly the same. 

I would love to have that instantaneous connection with my pup/rescue dog… that gut wrenching, skip a heartbeat feeling… you know that no matter they do, you love them, accept them and adore them… yes they may have their little quirks, yes they may have some hang ups, but despite that… you love them. Warts and all. 

But sometime, that just doesn’t happen. Sorry to burst the bubble of Disney and ‘happy ever after’, but sometimes it takes work. There are several examples of relationship issues that I see and have experienced myself.

Second dog syndrome is a classic.

That phenomenon where you have had one dog, a particularly special dog that you just clicked with. You instantly had that head over heels feeling when you met and saw that dog, and it just seemed to innately know what you wanted or with minimalist training, picked stuff up, made your dreams come true and was a great family pet…. 
The time comes to find another dog, and that subsequent dog never meets up to the expectations set by of the first dog. Often they are have a connection to the first dog, which makes it all the more challenging to see this dog as an individual and accept it for what s/he is, rather then living in the shadow of your previous dog.

Another example, is getting the wrong dog for your personality/lifestyle.

This is such a common issue which affects the relationship you have with your dog. In dog sports, people assume that a breed or line of dogs will bring them ultimate success. However the traits that make the dog so great for that sport, also can be a source of frustration and despair. The high energy full on workaholic doesnt always just clock off when you leave the competition setting. That OCD desire to ‘do’ still is there at 10pm, after a long day and all you want to do is chill out and relax! Or picking a dog or breed that clearly doesn’t suit your needs/lifestyle or commitment. 

It has always baffled me when people talk about the pick of a litter…. pick for whom? One mans meat is another mans poison. 

Or the case of the ‘rescue’ dog…. the person who lives in the head space where your dog is always a ‘rescue’ case, rather then doing what dogs do, and living in the now. I can say this from experience, I’ve had ‘rescue’ dogs, several of them… i’ve had rehome dogs, several of those too…. my dogs aren’t ‘rescued’ once I have them. They are just ‘my dogs’. I always bath them when I first bring them home, for me this is cathartic. I’m washing away all their past, and whatever issues they have I merely focus on solutions. What do I have, and what do I want…. the bit in between is simply dog training.

I can speak of these examples because I’ve had them all. 

I’ve found myself telling everyone that will listen about how inadequate the dog I have is, whilst inside I am comparing him to my previous dogs…. I’ve found myself out dogged, underestimating what I had on my hands, and seeing what I thought I was getting and what I had being a rude awakening, I’ve had the ‘rescue’ dog whose every short coming was hung firmly on that ‘label’… rather then taking ownership and acknowledging my part.

You could probably say, why didn’t I just find a nice home where the dog would have been loved and adored from the get go? And sometimes this is probably better for the dog TBH…. but for me personally, I know that life is about lessons. The dog in front of me is here for a reason, it’s here to teach me something. I may have to wait to see where that lesson falls into place, but it always will. Perseverance, understanding, adapting, compromise, acceptance…. just a few of the life lessons, my dogs have taught me. Thats the choice I make, I don’t judge people for the decisions they make. To each his own. You dont always get what you want, you get what you need. Whether you think you need it or not.

I have ‘stuck’ with each and every one of my dogs and they have given me some of the greatest lesson I could ever have. They have all ended up, confident, well adjusted and happy. I have ended up with a relationship that was based on truth, acceptance, mutual respect and admiration. I set ego aside. I removed all labels, and worked with what I had. I learnt to love them for who ‘they’ were, rather then what I wanted them to be, and moulded them to the best they could be. We compromised, we managed, we train, we cried, we laugh, we contemplated given up, we got frustrated and sometimes we didnt even like each other. And at the end of it all, it was worth every struggle, every heartache and every challenge.

Thats right, relationships take work! Who knew! Relationships take work to create and nurture, to build a solid foundation that will stand the test of tme.

Any relationship is a long term investment, do the work, because the return is worth every second!

7 Replies to “Relatable relationships…”

  1. Absolutely get this Kamal! Having had a fabulous working relationship with my first WS, then 20 years later have the same thing but with an added deeper relationship; to be able to know instantly what to do, to say and have him respond even before I’d said anything – we just had a ball together, life was just one big smile for both of us. And then a few years further on to be blessed with a dog who combined the best of both previous worlds, only to have him taken from me before our journey ever really started. The cruellest of blows which tbh I’ve never got over and which now affects the input I have with my latest boy – he is his own lad bless him and deserves so much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So very true. Each dog deserves its own special place in your life and I feel blessed at what all my dogs have taught me, and still are teaching me.

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  3. Loved this. I took in my 2nd boy 18m ago, rehomed. Adore him, warts and all but have I found the “secret sauce” to motivate him? Nope. Every time I work him I feel like we’ve taken 2 steps back although I know he’s made huge progress over the 18m. But we don’t click..I can’t read him like I can my other boy. But I do know he’s teaching me stuff.

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  4. So true I have an 8 month gsd he is such hard work probably due to his size he’s 40kg! He mouths everything and he has a big gob! Chews, is gobby but I’ll get there with him very refreshing to read your blog

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