Pal Royale

FRIENDSRecently, I was feeling pretty down about not hanging out with my friends. It felt like everyone was too busy for me. Now, I’m pretty excited to say that I know I have lots of friends who want to hang out, and that everyone WAS busy, but now they want to chill with my awesome self! Makes me a happy panda!

I had a friend picnic that was really fun, even though we got completely fucking soaked rained on. I had a few previous clients come, and some friends I met at a dog workshop I took a while back. My parents came, and I got to see my niece. That was a really fun day! We played at the park, played with the dogs in the splash pad, and got to chat with everyone. Fun day!

I recently had a friend stay with me from out of town. She travels and moves all the time, so I can’t keep track of where she is. First here, then Washington, then Florida, then California – seriously, woman, calm down! I met her in college, and she moved shortly after I got married. It was an awesome thing to see her. I get to see her a few times a year, and she stays with us, so I get to see her on my way to and from work, and in the evenings.  She doesn’t give us much notice when she’s in town, so I usually can’t change my plans that late in the game (work and client appointments, previous engagements, etc). But it’s still nice to see her. She painted my nails, and we talked about all kinds of stuff.

IMG_9949I made a new friend as well, who was one of my clients, and my hubby and I were invited to her husband’s birthday party a few weeks ago. That was fun, especially since we were outside a ‘work’ setting. I’m seeing her again soon for a girls’ movie night with adult beverages. YAY! By the way, did you know they make cake-flavored vodka? Yeah, I know. Awesome, have to get some immediately.

I had another friend come back from a 3-week long vacation, so, we are trying to plan a lunch date. She’s a very special friend, who was also a previous client. To protect her privacy, I won’t say anything more. All I can say is that she is awesome, and I want to be her when I grow up!

A friend who used to live here, then moved out of state will be in town for a couple days this week as well, and we plan to have lunch together on Thursday. HUGE deal, because I haven’t seen her in almost a year! I see her husband a lot more because he flies in to town to work. He works with my husband, so whenever he comes to town, we always go drinking, or hiking or something. Very fun couple. We need to make plans to visit them, along with a thousand other people.

I’ve also been hanging out with a trainer friend and her hubby pretty often. We’ve gone horseback riding, played video games, and watched fireworks over the last few months, and we are going to watch a movie this week. Have you ever seen Hoodwinked? It’s a really funny who-done-it show with a Little Red Riding Hood twist. I like random movies like that. Speaking of movies, I just watched Warm Bodies as well, and I LOVED it! Since I rented it, I watched it three times, and I want to watch it again. I’m addicted to the main character. He’s like deliciously hot to the point where I think I’m creeping myself out. Well, he’s a zombie, so I guess that’s ok. Yeah, he’s hot non-zombified too. Ok, I’m weird. Whatever. I would zombie rape him. Here’s a trailer about it. Erm.. not zombie raping, but Warm Bodies. Ok I’m done.

Ok, one more because I have an unhealthy love for R. ❤

WarmBodies

Hottest zombie I have ever seen

And here’s a trailer for Hoodwinked. Yeah, it’s silly. But it’s really funny.

Anyway, my life is pretty much awesome. I’m happy to say I’m elevated again, so I always end up taking on too much. I’m not going to this time. When I have client cancellations, I take the night off. I didn’t used to do this, and I tried to fill the appointment with another person so that I could fit in more. I was overworking myself. I need a break, and I need more structure with my plans. With the help of a trainer friend, I have revamped my pay-per-session prices, changed my package prices, and I am putting together a group class I want to start offering next year. I have also written up my boarding contract and I’m being more of a business, than just an on-the-side hobby. I also changed my business name, which was much needed. I don’t train with positive-only techniques anymore, so I needed to update everything.  We are no longer Pawsitive Dog Training. Our new business name is Project: K9. It is a good change. I’m getting ready for the big leagues!

Peace out, fans! Thanks for reading and following my story!

Reflection of Positivity

Napoleon and I, after a short training session

Napoleon and I, after a short training session

With all of the emotional challenges I have faced recently, I have to keep focusing on the positives. I focus on how much good I do, and I also face the grim truth: We can’t save them all. But, the ones we are able to save will live on with better lives. I have to think positively.

So, this week’s blog is about my successes this year with my business and personal gains. At the beginning of the year, I had set goals.  Goals I had to accomplish in order to make a huge life change. To take a leap of faith, to make the jump. It all comes down to that decision.

My biggest goal was to get my certification. I have been talking to the owner of K9 Lifeline for quite some time (starting over a year ago) about taking her certification course. At the time, it was around $3,000 and 2 weeks long. Well, that means I needed the money, and I also needed 10 days of PTO. It takes a full month for me to earn 1 day. So, that was 10 months of absolutely no sick days, no vacations, and no ½ days for my own personal sanity. I started saving up my time last year around November. I had a few days saved, so if I didn’t take a day off for Christmas or any other holiday, or get sick, or have an emergency, I could take the course in July.

I had the time, but the Difficult Dog Workshop was in June, and I JUST HAD to go. Which cost me 3 days. That’s 3 more months of no sick days or vacation. I can do it, I know I can. That means I can take my certification in October, and to play it safe, let’s plan on November.

Then, I found out the eTouch Workshop was coming in October with another very reputable trainer. Ok, that’s another 2 days. Which means I’m looking at Dec/Jan. Ah man… at this rate, I’ll never get it. And I’ll never take a vacation!

Then I heard from another trainer that the course is a little cheaper, and is only 6 days, instead of 10, but I get the same amount of material. WHAT?!  Really?! I can take it now! So, the plan is in motion, and I hope to get my certification at the end of August! YAY!

Pack Walk 6/28/13

Pack Walk 6/28/13 (Click to enlarge)

I have also started doing my pack walks. This wasn’t a requirement, but it is a success, and I’m proud I have been able to organize this event. Every time I do them, they get a little easier, I gain a little more confidence, and more people show up for them!

I am now offering a nutritional workshop (hopefully twice a year) because so many clients have been interested in what is the best dog food or I’m interested in raw, I’m just feeding chicken, is that ok? I want to educate and help people do what is right for their dog. Wow, another big event, planned. Hook. Line. Sinker.

I have attended a few nutritional workshops, watched online seminars, increased my training network and made some awesome friends as well. I have read so many books, it sometimes feels I’m reading the same things over and over again. But, if I attend a seminar, read a book, or meet with new people at a workshop, and I learn ONE new thing, it was completely worth it. If I learn a lot, that knowledge is invaluable because I will build on that and learn more new things and become an even better trainer.

I have been asked to help during my trainer friend’s Saturday Socials, and I feel I am becoming more and more confident each week.  This was huge for me, because eventually, I want to run these. I have run a small social in my backyard with 11 dogs (specifically picked out who would be able to come) and I was pretty confident (but so nervous too!). I am more confident and assertive when I am by myself because I sometimes feel I am such a baby in this field, so when I am around someone with more experience, I tend to freeze up a little or my heart starts pounding. I have only been ‘on my own’ training for 2 years. I worked at Petsmart and did simple sit/stay training with my dogs in high school, but not like this.  I will someday be as awesome as these trainers. I can do it, and I am well on my way!

Mowgli was here for boarding for a weekend

Mowgli was here for boarding for a weekend

I have started boarding in my own home. This was a scary move, but overall, I really enjoy it. The dogs are kept safe, get plenty of attention and stimulation and are in a loving environment. And I get to experience what handling more dogs feels like in a safe way. I try to only board dogs I know for this reason. Sometimes, I board dogs I haven’t met before, and it can go either way. I had a crazy dog I boarded in the beginning that was a disaster, but right now, I’m boarding 2 that I had never before. Both are sweethearts, and I’m happy to have them! I get to practice some of my own techniques, I get to practice reading dogs I don’t know, and I get to practice walking multiple dogs at the same time. Sometimes this is a huge challenge because I’ll be walking 4 dogs at once, and only one knows how to walk on a leash nicely. So, we take an hour to go around the block. But that’s just it – I get to practice!

I have actually started making money, and even though I won’t show a profit this year (which is actually a good thing for taxes, of course), I will next year. This year, I attended 2 workshops (so far, and plan to attend another) and my certification course, which weren’t cheap. So, I made money, and then spent it all on workshops.

I have plans in the making to get a better ‘dog car’ as mine is really taking a beating with all the dogs coming and going in it. This may not happen next year, but the year after. In the meantime, I need to find a way to keep my seats intact! Even Napoleon’s kennel won’t fit in my backseat.

We have plans about our location for when I get more serious about doing this. Either having a facility on my own lot, or leasing/purchasing a facility in the future. This is WAY in the future, just a dream right now, but it’s something.

The biggest success, if you can call it that, would be the decision the family and I had to make about their dog, Ryder. You can follow his whole story here. He was a very special Merle Great Dane who had an unpredictable streak. He could be loving on you and playing, and then turn and bite someone. Unfortunately, these are some of the hardest dogs to work with because you can’t find a trigger. We thought it was men, hats, uniforms, etc – but, he wouldn’t go after the same person twice, or the same hat, and if you switched the hat with another person, he would be fine. 95% of the time, he was manageable and just needed training. The other 5% of the time, he was unpredictable and could seriously hurt someone. He was hard to adopt out, and we didn’t find the right home. So, we made the decision to euthanize him. We didn’t come to this decision lightly and it was months of talking about options. I won’t get into everything again, but this was the right thing. I cried pretty much the whole week, I was emotionally exhausted, I didn’t want to talk about it anymore, I wanted a miracle to show up on my doorstep and be the perfect place for him, or I wanted Best Friends to take him. Neither happened. But now, I am at peace with this decision and I am still sad of the outcome – it won’t ever be a ‘happy ending’. But, I know he is running free and will be happy now, without having to worry about anything. I had to make this decision and it has made me a better trainer. This was a turning point in my career. I’m sad it had to be him, but I’m happy he is free and healthy now.

Most of all, I can’t ‘count’ how much I have learned this year, but I have really taken an initiative on learning as much as I can, and sacrificing so much to do this. I have also learned so much about myself, and I feel more complete because of what I have accomplished.  I don’t have the constant stress feeling of ‘Am I doing this right?’ or ‘I’m going to fail, what if I fail?’ feelings. If I fail, I get up and try again. If I get bit or kicked in the teeth, I put a band-aid on and try again. I won’t let other trainers, dogs, people, or my mistakes stop me from continuing on. I will learn from them and be a better trainer for them. I’m happy to take constructive criticism and coaching, but please – no need to be an asshat about it. I want to learn, and I can admit I don’t know everything.

I work in the dog industry, a bite is bound to happen. Not that I want it to, but just like working in construction, it’s inevitable. It’s not if, it’s when.

I’m happy, and I see an end to these 100 hour workweeks. I see a light, and I’m excited to see what happens. Scared, but excited.

I can do this.

Paranoid

This quote really describes how I feel right now

Yesterday, I wrote about friendship and about how lonely I am. More and more I am noticing I am intentionally left out or not invited to lunch, to “girl’s night” or just dinner. My husband says it’s because everyone is busy and it’s the summer so people have things to do. Kids are out of school, and everyone is spending family time with each other. Is that true? That hanging out with friends is just not a priority, or is it me? It is because we don’t have kids, so we don’t fit in with this crowd?

I find myself getting ignored, talked over, and being completely forgotten. It’s not only in just one place. It’s at work, it’s with old friends, new friends, at home, in my neighborhood. Am I just blind, and not seeing when some people make an effort?

Again, my husband says that I’m just seeing the bad because I’m ‘in the darkness’ right now. Which is what we call it when I’m having a ‘depression episode’.

Nothing is wrong in my life. No horrible trauma has happened. Normal every day stressors are happening every day, but right now, it feels like every little thing that is going wrong is the end of the world.

For example, my husband asked me today, “You called me to tell me one thing, and now you are freaking out and getting all emotional. What’s wrong – what’s really wrong? Because you are throwing this out of proportion.”

Well, what is wrong…?

Maybe it’s because my neighbor’s sprinkler was flooding our front yard.  A company our neighbor hired went over to talk to them about it and my husband wants to hire them to work on our lawn.

If we hire them, we aren’t going to have any money. We will go bankrupt. We will have to eat ramen and mac and cheese, and we’ll get unhealthy and fat. We’ll have horrible skin and get acne. Then, we can’t afford to feed the animals, and they’ll have to eat normal store-bought food instead of eating raw.

And because we won’t have any money, I will have to get another job and work extra to make more money to make up for all the bills we are skipping. I will have to quit my business and then abandon my dream.

And what about how I feel? My heart won’t stop, I can’t catch my breath, I can’t see straight, and I couldn’t sleep last night because I was crying, and thinking about how no one likes me and really doesn’t want to hang out with me.

What if everyone is just pretending to be nice to me because they are nice people?  Am I that repulsive? Do people really not want to be around me? Well, I think I’m done then. I’m done asking people to hang out. I’m done expecting people to ask me to lunch. I’m done asking if people want to come over and walk their dogs with me or come have a drink. Or watch this stupid Vampire Diaries show, which I have never seen, but I thought it would be fun to do with some friends. I’m done asking people to be friends. I can’t do it anymore.

How do I handle all this? I put on the happy suit and go about my day – hiding my invisible battle. Hiding my feelings and just pretending like everything is ok. Because I have to fake it to make it. Right?

RyderFinally, a paid holiday off. Tomorrow is Independence Day. I’m not looking forward to the kids or the fireworks or the noise. But I am looking forward to no work, no training appointments, and I actually get to do something for myself for once. And I am boarding Ryder – a Great Dane I have been working with. I should really get around to writing an update about him. He is back and forth on progress, but overall, it’s one step forward, ½ step back every single day. Progress is incredibly slow, but he has made significant changes since we started working with him. He is way more balanced. Now that I know more about him since the workshop, I see changes, and I see respect and calm behavior… As soon as he feels he can be disrespectful, he will. Anyway, I will have to write about this later…if anyone cares.

Productive Weekend

PupsWell, even though I didn’t get a lot of down time this weekend, I had a blast! I hired my friend’s son to come out and help with some yard work, had some adult drinks, and had plenty of puppy play time on Saturday and Sunday!

Raven

Friday, after I came home from training, I got all caught up on paperwork, brushed the kitties, and then headed to bed early. I had an early start the next day. Even though there was no social class on Saturday, I had a ton of yard work to do. Winter cleanup always hits me hard, and I just can’t seem to catch up. So, I hired a teenager to come do the dirty work. My friend brought her 2 furkids over to play with Napoleon, and we ended up helping and digging out a dead pine tree out of my yard. We were fabulous!

PlaydateWe worked for four and a ½ hours, and ended the day getting about 75% of the yard done, a nice sunburn, and some tired pooches. I was really happy to make a new friend, and get to know her and her son a little better. We’ll have to have a BBQ or go up to the creek to have the dogs play a bit sometime. It was really fun.

On Sunday, they came back to help me finish the yard, and have our furkids play again. I had another friend come over with her Newfie puppy and it was like a small dog park in my yard for about an hour. Well, as I have mentioned previously, I have a problem with my dog mounting. Saturday, we pretty much took care of the problem, but Sunday – he started mounting the puppy in full force.

NapoleonBeau

I try to catch this before it happens, but sometimes, he is pretty quick. I can catch it about 80-90% of the time before he actually does the mount. When he does successfully jump on the other dog, I have tried saying his name sternly/loudly to get his attention, spray bottle/vinegar to the face, pet convincer, pulling him off and then tethering him for ‘calm down’ time, tethering him to me, and completely separating him from the other dog (having him kenneled or put somewhere else – out of eyesight. I have started kneeing him hard in the chest when I catch up right before he mounts. All of these things sometimes work, but are not 100% reliable. If he is really adrenalized, he stares at me and does it anyway. I don’t feel this is a leadership issue, as we don’t have any of the other problems with challenging, pulling on the leash, not listening, jumping, etc. He is a high energy, over-adrenalized dog. I can put all of this problems into that one category, and I have enlisted the help of another trainer on this problem, as what I know isn’t working. We start an obedience course that will also cover this problem on Saturday.

Playdate2I think my last option to handle this behavior is an eCollar. We have tried everything else, and this is one behavior I have yet to be able to curb. So, we’ll be working on this in full force. I will be purchasing a Tri Tronic bark collar  soon.  I will need to speak to my local trainer about which one is right for my needs with Napoleon, but I’m excited to try a new approach with him. I will need to learn more about the eCollar in the meantime. As soon as I take my Certification program from K9 Lifeline, I will be Certified in eTouch (using eCollars and the like). I don’t feel comfortable teaching this to clients until then. I want to make sure I know what I’m talking about before I go and introduce a new tool.

Anyway, we finished up the lawn, had a great weekend with some puppies, and at the end of the day on Sunday, I finished it off by watching some Scrubs. My second favorite show. My first favorite is Grey’s Anatomy.

How did you spend your weekend?Chaco

ADHD Day

Here’s a day in the life of a person who has ADHD (and on that note, I honestly think my dog has it too. Yes, I’m serious, and yes, it’s real in dogs). Here’s a commentary of one of my normal days…(Including my thinking process)

Every time I start something, I want to do 10 other things.

I start working, and I realize I haven’t posted on my blog yet.

So, I open up a new tab, and open up my blog. Then someone comes over to my desk to tell me that my new business site looks really good.

Oh Thanks! As a matter a fact, I’m going to go look at my business site. Yeah, you are right, it looks great… except for that-wait. What’s that?

Work forgotten, I start working on my website.

While I’m working on my site, my friend messages me on Google Talk and tells me she’s on Facebook and see’s something cool.

So I go to Facebook to check it out. Oh, haha- yeah, that’s pretty funny. Thanks friend. Types message to friend to tell her it’s really funny. Oh, I have 14 new notifications on my Facebook account. Checks them.

Huh, work phone is ringing. Answer phone, work related conversation. So, I get off the phone, create a development ticket, do the ticket, and then realize I have emails in my Outlook. Start answering email…

Oh! I got a notification on my phone – new email to Pawsitive Dog Training. Great! Check that… starts answering email…

Umm, I have to pee. *tick tock… tick tock* Ok, I’m back. What are all these emails doing on my screen… Oh! I was in the middle of finishing and sending them.. Right! Continues email…

TiberiusI look over and realize my bearded dragon’s cage is dirty. Hmm, ok, let’s clean that….

Yay, all clean! Oh! I need to answer all my Facebook notifications. Realizes there are now 28 new notifications…Hmm.*.  Starts checking notifications… 

Oh yeah! Work! Closes Facebook, does some work.

Remembers I had emails sitting, waiting to be sent. Finishes one of them – work related.

(*Thinking…. In my head… realizing all the things I have to do today… update my blog, go to the butcher to get dog food…Max is getting neutered today… go to the bank.. CRAP! Oh… I have to make sure my dog gets a walk today… it’s kind of mandatory. *)

Ok, back to work… Oh, I don’t want a yahoo account anymore. Let’s close it out. Now, we have to change all the emails on every online account I have. Bank, utilities, online doggie forums, student loans, Vistaprint, Living Social, Pinterest, Facebook, online banking software… the list keeps going. So, I do that, and in the meantime, realize I’m hungry…

*Eats triscuits* Mmm. I like those. I’m eating the Fire Roasted Tomato and olive Oil ones. OH MAN! Those are good with some cheese. CHEESE! I have some at home, maybe I’ll have a vegetarian quesadilla tonight. Yeah, that sounds good.

Oh! Work! Right! Ok, just do some work. …Finally sends other email, and does some real work.

10 minutes later

Cool, did some work. I have a voicemail on my work phone, and my cell phone says I have a text message. I should really put that thing on silent. . . puts phone on silent. Checks text message… Oh, that reminds me: I need to update my status on Facebook for my business page and update the Tip of the Week on my business webpage. Does that…Realizes there are more notifications on Facebook to check… Checks those… responds.

OH! The voicemail. Ok…work! Checks voicemail. Woah! Someone yelled at me in the voicemail. Ok, call them back… explain it’s not our fault. MOVE ON WITH LIFE. Shake it off.

Oh! It’s time to go home.. well, do all the stuff I was thinking about yesterday! Yay! CRAP! Tiberius didn’t get his crickets…feeds Tiberius crickets. Crickets need food, too… so…feed crickets.

Wow, I’m exhausted! Just a day in the life of an ADHD individual. Lots of work done, but not much to show for it…

Tranquility

Mia

Mia, 2/26/13

Today, I’m at peace. Not numb, actually content.

Sometimes, just a compliment from someone can help. A friend, a family member, a coworker. Just a compliment. Last night, I received a compliment. And just a simple one, but it mattered to me. And it made a difference.

Today, I’m not happy or sad, but… content. No ripples in my lake yet.

My cat also snuggled with me yesterday. Not my boy, Max, but Mia. She wanted to. Normally, she seeks out my husband. But she found me. It was strange… yet, calming.

Just small acts of kindness from my pets, and a friend – made all the difference in the world.

I have a bit of confidence today. Which is good, because I desperately needed a break. It’s nice to feel the clouds part, even if it’s just for a short while. It may rain tomorrow, but today, I have a blue sky. 

Mushroom Soup

As I knew it would, I crashed. Got up, feeling off, feed my animals, and went to work. Got to work, and realized the massive project I had left yesterday… was still there. Been working on it for about 5 hours, and it’s just now starting to clear up. Due to a problem within our software, a project I had been working on for a week or so has crashed, leaving a huge mess of clean-up for me. Basically, it’s a lot of unnecessary, tedious work that shouldn’t have happened.

That sort of set me off this morning. But I was determined to not hit the wall. So, I plugged in my headphones and rocked out to the same song over and over again. It helped. Then I get a call from my husband, asking if we could go out for dinner with some friends tonight. Some friends who are only in town for a few more days.

I didn’t have any trainings tonight, and he knew that, so he called to see if I would like to go. This would normally be something very nice that I would enjoy. Well, being a little on the low end today, and then being OCD, I realized my plans would change tonight.

*Panic*

I wouldn’t be able to go grocery shopping this evening, which means I’m not able to make mushroom soup. I was looking forward to making mushroom soup, because we have a lot of mushrooms I need to use before the end of the week, or they will go bad. This also means that since we are going out to dinner, we are going to spend money. Which causes anxiety… this is where the tears started to well up and I started to shut down.

mushroom soupI kept thinking, because that’s what I do. I then realized that I would be getting home late this evening, and I’m already having a not-so-good day. AND I don’t get mushroom soup.

Oh SHIT! Napoleon! He is crated at home right now, and he needs to be let out before we go out tonight. Which means I have to go home first (which is 20 minutes out of the way), let him out for potty time, feed the animals, and then crate him and leave again. This almost had me in hysterics because this means he’s going to be in his crate all day, and then again while we are out at dinner. He would also not be getting exercise today, which is unfair to him. UGH! I hate when this happens.

So now, all these things are swimming in my head, and I can’t even think! My brain just shut down. My dearest husband doesn’t understand, and he’s trying to talk me down. Finally, I’m breathing. Just breathing. That’s a good thing. I stop breathing when this happens.

Ok, back to reality. SHIT! SHIT SHIT! I have someone coming tonight to pick up something she bought from me. Now I have to call and cancel or reschedule with her. I HATE RESCHEDULING!! I feel like I’m a flake and I just cancel or reschedule on everyone. And, on top of that, I can’t the rest of the week because I have dog trainings… and I can’t during the day, obviously, since I work… oh, it’s starting again… I can’t breathe.

*************************************************

Later….

I have calmed down now…though it took several hours. I’m getting ready to leave to go out to dinner. It’ll be fine. Napoleon will be fine. My mushrooms will be fine. My husband has offered to go to the grocery store tomorrow while I’m doing training, so I can come home and make mushroom soup. He also offered to go out on a walk with me later this evening with Napoleon (if it’s not too cold), otherwise, we’ll play hide ‘n seek with him when we get back. This is a big deal since he doesn’t like taking care of our animals.

… *breathe*… Just try to breathe. I feel a panic attack coming. I’m trying so hard to keep it together. WHY?? I just want to sit in a dark corner and cry…and eat my mushroom soup.