Sunday, September 25, 2016


“It wasn’t my role to be cute and cuddly…” my Max told me when I was writing I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog.

Um, right. Max arrived at our house with a habit I didn’t appreciate: humping the legs of humans. 

This was back in the days when I was still learning about dog behaviors and their causes, as well as before I animals were talking to me, so I simply tried to prevent this activity by side-tracking Max before he zeroed in on his next victim. If he was faster than me, I corrected the behavior and distracted him to do something else while I apologized profusely to the human.

Since then, I’ve shared space with dogs who had other bad habits, such as chewing windowsills, fear biting, resource guarding, seemingly aimless barking in a shrieking pitch that literally makes your head hurt, sticking doggie noses into the private parts of humans--

Well, you get the picture. 

Max said I showed compassion for him and realized bad habits didn’t make him all bad. The lesson was to also show compassion for my own bad habits. It took many years to reach the point of not beating myself up, and I still need occasional reminders about this. However, this has been much more useful in changing habits than being harsh with myself. 

How about you? Is there a habit you would like to change? Have you tried loving acceptance of a bad habit while changing it or replacing it with something more beneficial? 

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