I know you’ve been there. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on bad behavior… BAM! You do it again, and before you know it, you’re in the doghouse!
That’s happened to me on a number of occasions. My leader mom has been pretty good with this thing she calls grace (unmerited divine assistance or favor), yet I was disheartened by something she said one Saturday afternoon. I don’t think she meant for me to hear what she said, which was, “I’m so weary of this behavior, Lou!”
My heart sank at the thought that I had disappointed her, yet it was her sigh of exasperation that really caused me pain. I wondered what I could have done to cause such a reaction. I thought everything was great between us so I was terribly confused. I wondered, “Does this mean she’s going to get rid of me? Will she find me a new home, or worse, will she take me back to a shelter? I sank into despair with worry!
I tried to remember what I might have done wrong. We went for a walk, I ate, we walked again, we came back, I went downstairs to my crate, and mom said her usual, “I’ll be right back, Louie!” I have a really nice safe place to hang out and it has a great view of the backyard. All was calm so I took a nap. Then, all of a sudden, I awoke with a start. I heard voices, and noise, and steps going to and fro in my house and I had no idea what was going on. I thought my mom was in trouble and needed my help. So I frantically pawed at the gate of my crate but couldn’t get out. The noise was getting louder, almost deafening. I was really worried that bad people were trying to take her away. This went on for hours and for every second I could, I let them know I was miffed. I warned them bark after bark that I would be getting out of my cage any minute and there would be you-know-what to pay! My mind was racing and I couldn’t escape the awful thoughts! I just knew I couldn’t let them take my mom!
Then the upstairs door opened. I held my breath and was perfectly still because I knew they were coming for me. I acted like I was sleeping but kept one eye focused the steps. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was my mom! Alive and well so I jumped for joy! But when she opened the cage, she put my leash on me. Now that’s odd! Ohhhh, I get it. They made you come down here to get me, put the leash on and that way they don’t have to deal with me…well, I’ll show them!
As best I could, leash and all, I ran up the stairs ahead of my mom (oops, big mistake—I’m not allowed to do that) and sure enough, there they were; the people trying to kidnap my mom! They were smiling and cooing at me, but I wasn’t fooled. One even said I wasn’t at all like she imagined me, based on the blog. I puffed up the hair on my back and nodded my head because I knew I scared her and that was my intent. My mom said something about being a creative writer but I ignored her and made them leave the house.
I thought my mom would be so proud that I came to her rescue. But that was when she expressed her exasperation with me. Apparently, I was completely mistaken about her kidnappers. They were actually her friends. Turns out they weren’t plotting to take her away, but rather they were all laughing and having a great time. Ohhh, my! I lowered my head and was terribly disappointed in myself.
I’m sure you know what it’s like when you get a crazy thought in your head and you just can’t get rid of it. One thought leads to another and before you now it, you’ve made some big assumptions and lost all perspective and blown the situation out of proportion. People lose friends, families sever ties, and jobs are lost all the time because one or both parties involved let their thinking get away with them. So I apologized. I was sincere and truly meant I was sorry. I also took complete responsibility for my behavior. I looked at my mom and was hopeful she could tell me what I could do to make it right. I thought maybe the people would come back. But they didn’t.
I promised I would not behave that way again. Of course, my mom forgave me. In fact, she even admitted that she did not go through our normal routine of accepting people into our house. That routine includes my sitting by the door, her slowly opening it, and allowing me to “get to know” the person coming into my home. Because this situation was different, I was much less welcoming. She, too, took responsibility for her part, and of course I forgave her.
I’m so glad my mom and I can have those tough conversations as soon as a situation arises—no guessing games. But I have a long way to go and thanks to her leadership, I am well on my way! So who would like to be my next victim, I mean guest? I’m practicing my manners at the door. It helps if you bring a dog that I like or one of the alpha pups…I like them coming into my home! And if I blow it, you get to see me practice my humblest apology!
NOTE: Be aware of what you’re thinking and capture negative or destructive thoughts the minute they occur. And if you blow it, own it! A sincere apology is one of the greatest gifts we can give to others. If you need help, Louie is happy to demonstrate the proper way to apologize in this video.