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Adult learning on Christmas morning? It would never be the same. I woke up before my early-bird husband, brushed my teeth, took a shower, got dressed, and quietly opened the bedroom door. Angel, my husband, is always awake before I even think of opening an eye, so this morning I planned to make him a great breakfast.  We planned  to be at my sister’s house for Christmas day around noon!  But first, I had to take the dog outside for her walk or shall I say visitation.

Our dog Remmy was rescued from Nate’s Honor Rescue.  The nice folks at Nates called me a foster-failure, because I was only supposed to foster Remmy for a week until their flood receded.  My son and neice decided that Remmy was such a great social dog that we had to keep her. I fell in love with her and so did Angel.  So, foster-failure it is!

Everyone was Remmy’s friend. She loved to sniff all of the other neighborhood dogs and even had play-dates with her to girlfriends on the corner.  They have a fenced-in yard and all three dogs play, run, and wear themselves out! Remmy wants to visit everyone and sniff everything that sometimes she doesn’t have time to do her business.  Most of our neighbors have dogs and even the ones who do not, love Remmy and give her dog treats.

So back to Christmas morning.  I put on my flip-flops, my hat and sunglasses, put Remmy on her leash, and walked out the front door.  Immediately we saw Jerry walking Ozzie, his little furry mutt.  We tease that Ozzie is Remmy’s boyfriend.  They are always on the leash as they greet each other by sniffing then ignoring.  Remmy really likes Jerry; she knows that humans usually have dog biscuits! We saw Shirley walking with her two mops Harlee the party dog and Lilly.  Harlee is on a leash but Lilly does not need one.

As Shirley walk up to us, both Jerry and I did what we always do. We moved so all of the dogs could greet each other.  Remmy got a bit tangled in Ozzie’s leash as she went to say hello to Harlee.  Then all of a sudden, Remmy started growling – she never growls unless she is in the pool area and smells Racoon!  I pulled her back as she started pulling harder on the leash making wild dog sounds.  Somehow, I fell onto the driveway and dropped her leash.  She went after Harlee and bit his collar around his neck and shook him like he was a rag dog.  Both of my neighbors just stood there in shock.  I jumped up and grabbed Remmy by her bandana (her Christmas treat). I pulled her away and hit her. “Bad dog, sit!”  She did sit but she would rather not.  I calmed her down and asked Shirley if Harlee was OK. Harlee was wearing a large leather harness that covered most of his neck and back.  He was OK.  But we weren’t.  I quickly put Remmy in the house and went back to the scene of the crime.

Shirley said that she was happy that nothing happened to hurt anyone because everything is closed for Christmas. Jerry thought that Remmy was being territorial. I was just shocked that after having Remmy for almost 2 years that she would suddenly attack a dog that she has always known.  Then Shirley asked if I was hurt.  I looked down and my foot was bleeding and I had scraped my knee and hand.  I didn’t feel anything…yet.  I said good-bye and went into the house.

I put on a couple of band aids and thought “if Angel had been there that would not have happened.” He treats Remmy like a dog.  Angel is the Alpha and that is the end.  He says that I love her too much.  I decided that Remmy needed to go to dog training. We never took her when we got her because she was already a great dog.  She could walk on a leash and listened to us most of the time.  Why did she do that?  She was such a bad dog.  She needs training!

Then I took a breath and decided that I needed to go to dog training.  It was my fault that I did not control my dog.  Yes, that was totally out of character for her, but it was my fault.  It took me a while to realize and re-frame my thoughts.  I needed training.

Training.  One of my favorite adult learning theorists and Malcolm Knowles’s mentor, Eduard Lindeman (1885-1953) defined adult education as “a co-operative venture in non-authoritarian, informal learning – the chief purpose of which is to discover the meaning of experience” (as cited in Brookfield, 1987, p. 122).  Well, I need to discover the meaning of that dog fight experience with other dog owners and a trainer.

I am a life long learner. In fact, I am going to become certified by Lumina Learning on three assessment tools in January.  I am looking forward to learning more about my field and being up to date on the latest assessments and tools.  But, dog obedience school? I have researched different types.  One trainer takes your dog for 2 or 3 weeks and when you get them home – boom – they are trained.  Another comes to your house twice a week for two months of training.  Can we say expensive? I want to go to a good dog training class with a lot of other people and dogs.  I’ve seen them in parks.  Those cute little puppies being “trained”, running all over the course, with their people calling “Marcos, Spotify, Tiffany, Zoe.”  Chaos, but fun to watch.

Remmy and I need to find this special type of training and sign up.  I also need to change my mindset.  I have started by saying, this is my fault, I have to take the blame. At first I was blaming the weather, the fireworks, and my dog.  Mindset can be difficult to change.  I needed to work on my words first and to reframe my mindset. Remmy needed dog training and I need to learn how to control my animal.  Coach Sheri Kaye Hoff blogs often about managing your mindset.  I have learned a lot from her and I will put this into action!


I love to snuggle my pointer mix.  She is so cute and loves being petted.   Remmy even loves the pool, her lounge chair, and a bath.  This good dog does not sit on the furniture in the house, however, she can sleep on my son’s bed when he is home. She has 3 plush doggy beds around the house.  One of the beds is in my office where she is resting right now.  After her walk and breakfast I say to her, “Let’s go to work” and she bounces up the stairs to the office and sits on her bed.  She never fails to snuggle me at least once an hour so I can get out of my seat and stretch.

My dog needs me and I need her.  I will master my mindset, accept the responsibility, and take action to schedule a doggy obedience class.  But, it will be “doggie and me” training.

Let me know if you need a change of mindset or have gone to doggie training recently.  I’d be happy to get new ideas.

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#mindset  #adultlearning  #lifelonglearning  #self-development #training

The Journal Book by Lori Ann Roth Ph.D

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