This month marks the 1 year anniversary of Project K9 being in business. It’s been a long 12 months, but looking back, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I pushed myself, I took on cases that put me out of my comfort zone, but into the ‘learning zone’. I can now tell if a dog will be too much for me. I found this out the hard way, as I took on a case that was too difficult for my current skill set. The learning curve was too high on where I was at that given moment. However, I persevered and in the process, ended up learning some very hard lessons.
Now, I have the confidence, the skill, and the smarts to say ‘This dog is a little above where my skillset is. Let me recommend you a different trainer who will be able to help you.’ No pride, no shame, just fact.
I have made mistakes, and I will continue to make them. But that’s what makes me human. I have learned from them. I am better, I am faster, and I can read behavior more accurately. I have tuned my body language and practiced the things I needed to learn how to get better. In a year, I have made a tremendous leap, and have gained the confidence to call myself a ‘Trainer’.
I have learned how to correctly use different tools on the market, I have taught people how to use them, I have seen success, and I have learned how to modify my body language in order to get across the right message to the dog.
I offer my services with confidence KNOWING I can help. I know what I am doing, and it shows. I will always be a student, and I will always want to learn more about ANYTHING dog. But I know what to do now, and I know where I want to go in my career. My new plans and goals are starting to take form.
I have new goals, I have more education, and I am always realistic. I won’t give up. Tell me I can’t do it. I dare you. By trying to bring me down, it lifts me up. It gives me the drive to keep going. I can do it, and I will. I have, and I will keep going. I will be great.
I am happy with my progress and I have much to show for it. I am ready for what is coming.
Change is coming. Good change, and exciting change. And I’m ready. Bring it.
Tomorrow my certification course starts at K9 Lifeline. I can’t believe it’s finally happening. For the past year, I have looked forward to this day. I found out about Heather Beck at K9 Lifeline and the certification program, and that I really could make this dream a reality.
You hear about it all the time with inspirational quotes and people who have turned their life around. Well, I’m now part of that 1% who have actually done it. I have tried so hard to go to as many workshops as I possibly could, read as many books as possible, go to seminars and purchase online webinars. I took classes on things that weren’t even relevant to training, but were to dogs (like my Canine Theriogenology course). I wanted to learn everything dog.
I’m now at a huge crossroad in my life, and I have made a choice. I am getting my certification, and I will be a legit dog trainer. All the hard work, all the hours, all the sacrifices I have made for this decision and the mistakes I have made along the way – it’s all paying off. And I’m doing it.
I am making history, so to speak, as I am turning my life around. I am overwhelmed with excitement, joy, nervousness, and the feeling of accomplishment.
I have made up my mind, my husband has been very supportive, and only a few times we have had a fight when we have had someone else’s dogs here.
The first time was a HUGE mistake of mine. I took a dog to ‘babysit’ (because I wasn’t officially boarding yet – I was doing it for free) for a few nights while a friend was out of town. That was Checkers. (WOW! Looking back at this previous post… I didn’t know much of anything. I won’t change it, so I can document my progress, but not a good decision to watch this kid!) He was too much for me (which I knew after the first hour of having him, as when I have boards here, they are on a pretty strict routine (boot camp, so to speak). He tried to go after Napoleon, he didn’t know his name, he was highly destructive, not kennel trained or potty trained, and couldn’t be left alone off the leash in the backyard because he scaled my 6 and a 1/2 foot fence. Yeah, bad idea. I didn’t even think to call for help, as it was my friend’s dog. He barked all night, and I didn’t have a bark collar. I didn’t even have a remote collar at that point.
Another disagreement was, of course, over Ryder. We got into it because we were at the end of the road with this dog. The family and I had made the choice, and I helped carry it out. The last remaining option was to save Ryder by adopting him. That was the only option besides ending his too-short life. My husband is a logical person, and he was right on this one. We couldn’t take him, as much as I wanted to. I was emotionally unstable and it turned into a pretty huge knock-down, drag-out fight. I hate airing my dirty laundry, but again – this blog is to be open and share everything. Even the hard parts.
Because of this experience, and the fact that I am not a positive-only trainer anymore, I have changed my business name. In loving memory of Ryder, my project dog, my new business is called Project K9. So, for all of you who asked why I picked this particular name, it has a meaning. This is why. It isn’t just a new name, but a new beginning. A reality check, and a way to learn from everything that has happened.
So, in the last year, I have learned so much from my experiences, from the rescues I have worked with, from Wasatch Canine Camp, K9 Lifeline and their staff, from my clients and their dogs, my therapist, the mistakes I have made, and of course, my family and friends, and my husband. I couldn’t have done this without the support of my friends and family, and the help I have received along the way. I have made so many sacrifices. I miss time with my husband, sleep, eating healthy, weddings, etc. I jumped into the deep end, and struggled to not drown sometimes. But I stayed afloat, even though I was exhausted.
It’s all paying off, and I’m going to do what I love. Thank you all for following my story. And for the support and love you have all shown me. I will be back in a week or so with more updates and to talk about everything I have learned in the following week.
Oh, and on a personal note, I am learning to control the ups and downs of having Bipolar Type II without medication. I have mentioned this before, but with the ups and downs of having a training business is hard enough. Then, add in a mental disorder, and it’s a party!
For everyone struggling with mental illnesses – keep your chin up. I can do it. So can you. For all of you who don’t have mental illnesses, but are struggling with a tough part in your life: Be strong. I know it’s hard. But you can do it. Just get through it because it will get better. Just grin and bear it. Just put on that happy smile, fake it to make it. You can get through it, and happiness is just as contagious as sadness. Try not to be a downer, and suck it up. Yeah, I’m blunt sometimes.
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