What do you do if your dog isn’t perfect, if he barks at skateboards, begs at the table, sometimes pulls on the leash?  What do you do if your dog’s training gets sloppy, if he whines when he thinks you forgot about his dinner even if it’s only three o’clock, if whenever you sit down, he plops a toy into your lap?  What do you do if your dog isn’t Lassie, if he won’t run for help when you need it or swim the rapids to get home to you if he’s lost?  On top of that, what if he sheds all over the house?  What if he snores?  What if he’s too busy, too fast, too slow, too anything?

No dog is perfect.  Not even the ones you  see in movies or on TV.  Not even the trainer’s sidekick.  Especially not your dog.  Or mine.  Some dogs are very excitable and bark more than you’d like.  Some dogs need little training tune-ups here and there, five or ten minute reminders of what “down” means, or “stay.”  Some dogs won’t stop trying to play unless you put the toys away.  Some dogs hog the bed, ball the blanket up into a nest, lie on your hair so that you can’t move.

But if your imperfect dog doesn’t bite, behaves affably around kids, listens when it’s really important, stays quietly in bed with you when you’re down with the flu, is delighted beyond belief when you come back in from getting the mail, is lovable despite all his little quirks, so be it.  Sure, a little Fall tune-up will help, a little Winter, Spring and Summer one as well.  Sure, try a down stay when he tosses you a toy and you’re writing the great American novel – or put the toys away until later.  Sure, get into bed first and once you’ve made yourself comfortable, let him get in next.  You can even make a game out of some of his habits, spinning flax into gold.  But if like me, you’re not perfect, maybe your dog doesn’t have to be either.  With living creatures, maybe pretty good is good enough.

And here you thought I was going to plug my training book!