A Steaming Pile of Humility

A few posts ago, I wrote about how my wife and I recently welcomed a new puppy into our home. Her name is Phoebe, and she’s pretty darn cute. It didn’t take long for the lessons to begin though… and we were the ones doing the learning.

Phoebe came to us pretty well-trained and ready to listen. She knew how to use her potty patch, would go outdoors, and happily walked behind us on her leash. We thought we had it made in the shade, and silently patted ourselves on the back for reinforcing good behavior. “Raising a puppy isn’t so bad!” We thought.

Yeah, that lasted for a couple days.

All of a sudden, as if a switch flipped, Phoebe became bolder and more resistant to our instructions. She absolutely refuses to follow us on-leash, preferring to either race ahead, or else not move at all. Her play has become rougher and more excited, with growling, barking, and hard nipping all part of the deal.

Phoebe has also taken to… how to put this delicately… playing with her own crap. Let me tell you, there are few things in life more humbling than chasing your puppy around the living room as she drags a turd across the floor. What a lesson in humility.

Wrapping it Up

Phoebe may be just a puppy, but she’s already reminded us of an important lesson: don’t get cocky.

Arrogance breeds complacency, and complacency breeds game over. Just when you think everything is going well, that’s the moment you need to double up on your efforts, no matter what. It’s true in puppy training and it’s true in business, sports, cooking and everything else.

I’m reminded of a quote from Michael Jordan as I write this:

The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you can’t let yourself be beat because of lack of effort.

Who would have thought you could apply a Michael Jordan quote to a puppy turd?


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