Photo by Sander Weeteling on Unsplash

A story about a bad dog!

Zeke, my therapy dog, is not a perfect dog. He’s a good dog. At one point however, he was a terrible puppy!

When he was a puppy, he decided it would be great fun to jump our fence at her house and chased deer in the neighborhood. Being handy, I raise the height of our fence by several feet. The first time I let Zeek outside, he saw a group of deer. He ran and then easily jumped the taller fence. He then proceeded to chase the deer in the neighborhood for most of the rest of the day before I was able to catch him.Photo by Sander Weeteling on Unsplash

Because of his bad behavior it made me think of options to help Zeke. Should I find him a better home? Should I send him to the well-known prison dog training program? I decided to call and in-home dog trainer. He did a thorough assessment of our situation and we decided the best course of action was for Zeke to work with the trainer at the trainers’ home for three weeks. When Zeke returned home, he was a completely different dog. He was obedient, he listened to commands eagerly, and most importantly, when he was off leash, he responded to the commands come and stay.

Our next step was to enroll Zeke in advanced dog school which occurred for the next several years. During this time, seek was trained and obstacle courses, off leash work, and received his advanced canine good Citizen certification. We went on to do specific training with professional therapy dogs of Colorado which certified Zeke and I as a certified therapy dog team.

For the last seven years, Zeke has been coming to work four times a week and puts smiles on many people’s faces every day. He loves coming to work. He is playful, loving, and always happy to see people. Zeke is not a perfect dog, but because of some of the mistakes and problems he had when he was younger, we made some choices as a family that helped him to grow into the wonderful dog that he is today.

The reason I’m writing about Zeke today is to remind parents that kids mess up and make many mistakes. We want kids to make mistakes because kids can learn a lot when they mess up. It is our hope that by making mistakes when you’re young, we don’t make the same poor decisions when we are adults and for the most part this is true.

Just want to wish all of you health and happiness as we work through this difficult time and give you a funny story about my labradoodle.

Dr. Steven Lazarus
Child psychologist