All of that is behind him now. He is learning how not to be a spoiled brat, how not to get his way, and how to be a happy and balanced dog. He is learning that when people say things they mean it, playing is fun, and getting out of control and lashing out is not how he makes friends. He has been easy in some ways, hard in others, and there was a point where I wasn't sure how I was going to get him to understand that he needed to give up the fight for control. However, our disagreements have become fewer and fewer and his willingness to follow has revealed a little dog whose greatest joy is not in controlling anyone, but in being a competent member of a pack led by mom. I love seeing his sense of purpose when he hears his name called and the joyful way he whips his head around and bounds over to see what mom wants.
Just as with every other dog that has been in my care, he is teaching me too. He reminds me of how important it is that I remain calm and in control. He reminds me how being assertive is not enough, patience and understanding have to come with it. Willy's joyful approach to life and ability to be 100% of whatever version of himself hes being has been interesting too. When Willy is angry, Willy is red zone, hide your kids, hide your wife type of angry. When Willy is affectionate, he can hardly stand not licking your face with all his might. Most of all, when he is playing, joyful, happy, or celebrating, he is all the way playing, joyful, happy, and celebrating. This is good for me because I tend to forget how to be completely present, how to let go of past or future and just celebrate at the beauty of the moment I am in. Dogs always live in the moment, and Willy does so with gusto.
I am excited to see what more is in store for me and my new partner, and hope to be using him in sessions soon, as my trust in him and his in me grows. He has been great practice so far and is already fitting in as the tiniest member of my pack. I can't wait to see what else is ahead of us, and what more I can learn from his tiny monster of a self :)