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Training: Learning Limits

3/11-- It is humbling, after devoting the past month to Gracie's training, to admit that I've reached my limits-- physical, mental, and emotional. I started to doubt that we'd be successful last Thursday, when everything went a little akilter. Doubt deepened Friday with her regressing, and turned to despair on Saturday, when I could barely get out of bed and had no endurance. The key insight today was that my training wasn't sharp-- muddy commands, poor observation and timing, indecisiveness, low frustration tolerance. Poor training might be worse than none at all.

Yes, my frustration tolerance is shot, like hers. I couldn't hold the ground, provide the structure, secure environment and effective activities adequate to ease her into our family system. So I accept the painful reality today that I've reached my limits.

Ordinarily in life, or so I've observed that we tend to learn our limits best when we exceed them. And some of us have to exceed them over and over-- stubborn and willful-- before we learn ..if we ever do. If we never test any limits, we don't know what or where they are. In this case, Prudence won, and Consequences were avoided.

I see now that, among other things, I was too caught up in Gracie's emotional-- and visceral-- swings to have the clarity and steadiness required of a good trainer. And I was susceptible to being caught up in hot anger toward myself for all the mistakes I made, steps I screwed up, things I forgot, etc. You know, an ego and performance thing. Again not an attitude conducive to effective teaching of any kind.

And finally, I see that my bristleness and fierce focus on Gracie's training illustrate how vitally important it has been to me to succeed--- for our family, for my well-being, for my vision of daily nature walks with the hound again.

Whatever happens now going forward, which is opaque at the moment, I take away many lessons from this experience, only some of which I now fully understand. More will be revealed.


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