It was not a good day. Lady's "bad" behavior on the morning walk infuriated me beyond all reason. She had a full blown flip-out episode when a jogger and dog passed us, frustrating me to the point of making ridiculous declarations like: "I am never walking this dog again." Somehow it feels personally insulting that after all this time, I still can't get her to respond like a normal dog in these situations.
There are times when she does respond to her training, in tune with (and caring about) what I want. When she can interrupt the cycle and look me in the eye even for a moment, I see it register there. "I need to leave it alone." There have been times, particularly this past year, when I was convinced we had overcome this problem.
But then the jogging person and dog go by and she's lunging on her hind legs and bouncing around on the end of her leash, barking like a junkyard dog. "Who is this dog? How long have we been working on this? UGH!!" This was one of those days, when by the time we got back to the house I was longing for the good old days past when I could go for a walk or jog with a "normal" dog - or no dog at all.
But this dog that can frustrate me to the very limits of my patience in one moment can completely catch me off guard with her tenderness in another. She has this habit of resting her head on my foot at night when I'm watching TV. Not in a pushy, I-own-you way, but just in a quiet way that communicates "I'm right here." The soft warm fur of her face against my bare foot makes it very hard to remember ever having been frustrated with her at all. Funny how that works.