While I am practicing not letting what people think bother me--a skill I am considering mastered for myself, I bump into every now in then glitches in this skill set when I get commentary about my dog.
Example: "I think you really ought to get your dog a gentle leader leash."
I hear this at least a couple times here and there. I have acquired through gifting two of them. I have repeatedly said, "Thanks but I'm not interested." Am I being stubborn? Partly. I have absolutely NO interest in using this type of leash. Sure, would it save my arm here and there? Likely. Does it look like a mussel? Yeah. Why does this bother me? I decided it's two fold. My previous friend who had labs didn't like them and she raised three labs. The look makes me think "unfriendly dog", which is not the vibe I want. I am the one walking him, so if my arm is pulled off and I don't mind then why does it matter? There have been countless dogs before the gentle leader came out that survived puppy hood just fine without them. And if they don't like it pulling on their nose, why do I like that idea? So no. No gentle leader. Enjoy them Mom--she asked about them for Chloe, I said, "oh for the love don't buy one I have like twenty."
Example two: "Have you taken your dog to puppy school?" This one I take personally. While the poor innocent person doesn't know, I am thinking, sure, when I'm pay check to pay check, in a job that does not have a set schedule, nor can you request a set schedule, and I am spending 15 minutes minimum three days a week training Orion because I'm trying the best I can for my dog, no, I am not taking him to puppy school because I'm a horribly irresponsible dog owner. Overly sensitive? Totally.
Example three: "Oh my gosh your dog is so dirty. Don't you think you should get him out of that mud puddle--aren't you worried about your car?" No. I am not. Do you see that smile on my dog's face? He likes mud puddles. He's happy. When he's happy, I take great joy in the shared happy. So what? I will wash my clothes.
Then, after I recognize my sensitivity, I revisit my practice at not caring. I look at Orion and I say, "I like your pinch collar just fine. You don't seem to mind it either. As for school, we are doing the best we can and that's all I can ever hope for and I do take care of you, and we still have stuff to work on." Then I think, "Molly, this is part of growing up. He is your dog. Do whatever the hell you want with him, and don't let it bother you."
So I sit here after two hours in the rain watching him run around happy as can be, one vet visit down to treat the ear infection, he's sleeping on his dog bed, and you know? Things aren't so bad. He is a puppy. He does eat my glasses. He does jump. But, we're working on educating him and also acknowledging the perfect behaved dog doesn't happen over night. He's also educating me on patience.