I have a confession to make.
I’m not a good dog owner.
I mean, I love my dogs like crazy. I treat them incredibly well.
But I didn’t do a good job training them.
Especially the youngest one.
She barks at EVERY dog she sees.
At people who decide to wear a hat that day. Or the wrong type of sunglasses.
I could make excuses as to why she does this.
She spent her first year living in isolation in the Outerbanks during the pandemic.
Our island was closed. Our neighborhood was empty.
It was magical in its own way. The beach was ours. Not a soul in sight.
But in the end, her behavior is on me. I own that. No excuses.
In order to accept responsibility and change the situation I’ve created, I signed up Miss Olivia for group dog training lessons.
This past week we had her “introduction” to the school.
Basically, it’s a test to make sure she can handle it.
I was terrified. I thought there was a better than 50% chance she would fail the first test.
Whenever we walk down the street in our neighborhood, if she sees another dog… or the big glasses lady, she turns into a mini Cujo.
I swear she gets possessed, and it feels like there’s no stopping her.
She also LOVES to sit on our porch and wait for anyone to walk by so she can make sure they know this is her house… Hear her roar!
The truth is she’s scared in these moments.
She wouldn’t bite or anything. I think deep down, she just wants to play or say hi, and she doesn’t know how to.
So back to the class. I’m sweating as we walk in.
Ready for her to freak out at anyone she sees. Dogs. Trainers. Doesn’t matter.
Well, we walk in. And she’s an angel.
A freaking angel. Cute, as always. A little timid. And not a peep. No noises at all.
She sits there next to me and watches the class with a trainer sitting next to us. She’s watching dogs do agility practice. And she loved all of it.
And this is where I learned something from the dog trainer.
Dogs (like humans) have environment-based habits.
Olivia has built up the habit of freaking out at people from our deck and on walks in our neighborhood.
But take her out of the environment, and she doesn’t have the habit.
This revelation floored me.
It brought me down a mental pathway that shed additional light on how we fall into various comforts depending on our environment.
Some of these comforts can be supportive. And some might turn us into our version of Cujo.
I think about how we behave when we are around certain friend groups.
Or family and how our actions/habits/demeanor can change just by the people we are surrounded by.
I think about going to certain restaurants and being called to order a Mojito because “they make the best Mojitos”… Even though we told ourselves we weren’t going to drink this week.
For a positive example, our son Nico has a bench and weights in his room.
The environment created in his room has resulted in Nico and I focusing on being healthy.
There is no doubt that I would be in worse shape if I had to go to the gym anytime I wanted to work out. And the gym is only a 5-minute drive from my house.
The awareness of how our environment affects us can make a big impact.
Some things I’m paying more attention to are thinking about where I’m going… who I’m going with… and what old patterns I may associate with my environments.
This way, I can be aware and make plans that serve me and how I want to show up in my life.
Perhaps you’ll join me and pay attention to your environment with this new lens to look through.
Thanks for being here with me.
Dave “getting environmental” Marino
PS. My other dog Lucy used to be very well-behaved. She grew up in Paris and was accustomed to dogs, people, and all sorts of noises.
She had that environment down pat. Now that she’s lived in OBX for five years, she’s not as good as she once was. Olivia rubbed off a little on her.
She’s still very good and well-behaved. But there’s a difference from before. I spoke with the trainer about this.
We both think once Olivia gets her act in gear, it will rub off on Lucy, and she’ll be back to her old self.
This is another example of an environment at work. Her “friend group” is affecting her behavior.
PPS. The new live program “Moi – A Love Story” will be starting in early April. If you join today you’ll save $1300!
I’ll see you tomorrow
ALSO: Whenever you’re ready… here are more ways Elegant Femme can support you.
- Tara’s next live program – Moi A Love Story
A brand new program starting on April 4th. If you struggle prioritizing you, then Moi can help you shift out of that pattern. You can learn about it here
- The Beautiful Soul Led Podcast
Listen in as Tara shares her insights with you weekly. Available on all podcast platforms. New episodes will commence in April. You can catch up on episodes here
- Women Living Fully Facebook group
Elegant Femme’s free group filled with like minded women who are committed to their growth and evolution. Plenty of free programs and resources in the “guides section. You can join here
- Tara Paris
Beautifully crafted clothing made in Italy and designed by Tara. You can check out the collection here