As some of you may know, we got a recent addition to the household- our puppy Betty.

cue AWWWWWWW sounds….because she is cute.

But along with cute, comes the fact that she is a living, breathing creature…

A living, breathing creature that must be loved and nurtured and cared for and trained….

Puppies must learn what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is not… As I write this I here my husband saying “No. No.” I’m assuming that Betty is nibbling a bit because she is teething.

Nibbling while teething is a natural behavior- their teeth hurt and they are trying to make themselves feel better. However, no one wants themselves or all their belongings to be used as a chew toy, so Betty is given a chew toy to nibble on when she needs to. We keep things off the floor, we make things unattractive for her to chew on and replace it with something acceptable.

You could say that this is a battle that we choose the fight: teaching/training the puppy to only chew on certain items.

With a puppy we have other battles that we need to fight:

  1. going bathroom on the wee wee pad
  2. eating meals at certain times
  3. not drinking after 9pm
  4. sleeping in her crate at night
  5. not barking at inappropriate times
  6. learning to sit calmly in the dog carrier
  7. being brushed
  8. cleaning her butt
  9. dressing her in a coat if it’s cold
  10. sit, stay, lay down, etc…

Trying to train a puppy to do all these things is exhausting and tiring…

But do we need to do all those things?

Do we need to fight all these battles?

What battles you want to fight are entirely up to the individual

The same theory can be applied to just about anything…

You might know what needs to be done, you might know the “right” or “wrong” way to do something, but you might not choose to follow all the steps…

For example- I know that the dog sleeping in a crate at night will probably be the best thing for her. But I know my Husband is a big sucker and will let her sleep in the bed once she is potty trained.

Do I want to fight that battle with him?

What about the commands?

Am I going to spend that much time teaching my 3.4 pound dog to heel?

When you have a seemingly endless list of battles to fight, how do you choose which ones to follow if it feels like you can’t follow them all?

Right now I know all you dog owners are thinking- “Well- you have to do all these things, otherwise the dog will be a mess.”

But again- extrapolate…

Are there things in your life where you choose one battle over another, or decide not to fight certain battles at all because it’s just too much?

Do we need to fight every battle we face?

Which battles are the most important?

How do you choose?

Which battles have you decided are just not worth fighting?

81 thoughts on “A or B or C or none of the above….

  1. Good luck!!! Our dog is trained in the keen art of choosing to obey the commands he chooses and discarding the rest …. hmm, I think we all know people like that too 😉 Sadly, he’s over 70lbs and, when he chooses, he can be a stubborn mass!

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  2. Our dog, Poppy, slept in the crook of my arm like a baby when she was a puppy. Tiny, runt miniature dachshund. I was definitely the sucker. Now she’s 14 and hardly lets us pick her up but we love her. ❤️ Have fun figuring things out with Betty! 😊

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  3. That is why cats are better.😛 We never potty trained the cats we had at home so far. They used to meow and stand near the door – let them out and they do their business in the empty plot.
    Speaking of battles, I don’t think it is necessary to fight every thing that comes our way. Speaking from experience, fighting is only going to make you exhausted and you won’t be able to do the things that are important. (On a daily basis, that is.)

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      1. Um, from experience? Like, say you know there is not point in arguing with a certain somebody (which you know because last time, the argument went sideways) you wouldn’t want to fight with them again. Or, someone so stubborn that they refuse to look at your side of the story. Finally, the good ol’ gut instinct. If it’s a stranger and you feel there is no point in fighting, walk away.🤷‍♀️

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  4. The phrase ‘pick your battles’ is never more relevant than with teenagers. The messy room may have to stay as long as the homework’s done, etc. I guess that’s any relationship, pets included.

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    1. Oh you are so right! With my daughter I had I think three or four non negotiables, and the rest I used my gut instinct. With kids you can’t fight them on everything

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  5. The best dog we’ve ever had was trained when my kids were in their early teens and we all could be a part of her training. So much better than the dog we had when the kids were babies and I didn’t have time to be training a dog.

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  6. My dog is the only one on a firm schedule in our family. That’s because my vet insisted that I put her on a strict schedule to fight her skittishness as a puppy. (She hadn’t been properly socialized.) Anyway, I wish I’d been as good raising my kids. The dog is a gem and I can read her like a book.

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    1. I was the opposite with our other dog. She was a love but a mess! I’m trying to be tougher with this one. My daughter, on the other hand, is pretty good….though I’m sure I’ll soon hear how I messed up her life

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  7. “Pick your battles” they say, which often translates to me as a reminder that one might need to be willing to give up some control… If everything is a fight, a victory to be won, a proverbial enemy to be conquered then when do you have time to just live.

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    1. Very well said. While raising my daughter I had four non negotiables. The rest was on a case by case basis…I had to giver her autonomy or she’d never learn to make decisions

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      1. I know. My husband still doesn’t get it, but that’s a whole other blog post. And my sister doesn’t get that you can’t be washy washy. She will change her opinion by the hour

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  8. I don’t have a dog so I can’t speak to training them. But battles, yes I’ve fought and won and lost. What I find interesting is that I choose the battles which I feel are important to me and leave the rest to those who want to scrap in lower vibrational ways. I can’t be bothered. It’s a personal choice but one of those battles which I don’t engage in is when I hear that the ex (or family) speaks badly about me. I used to feel I had to defend myself and right the wrong information. I no longer bother because as long as my kids know who I am authentically, their (ex/family) opinion holds no power over me anymore. Best feeling ever.

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  9. We adopted a pug puppy a few years ago as a present for our daughter, who was away in college. I raised him for two months. I remember it was a full time job! We crate trained him. When our daughter took Waffles to school with her, she immediately let him sleep in her bed.

    I remember a lot of times when our kids were young, I decided to choose my battles. Especially if we were with relatives or friends. I would relax rules that I’d normally enforce if we were alone. I didn’t want to deal with a scene and just wanted things to go smoothly.

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  10. I tend to let my emotions dictate, if they’re highly triggered it’s probably something I need to address, if not, maybe I let it go. I try and confront without judgement that seems to be a trigger in highly emotional situations. Calm is key. C

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  11. I definitely learned to pick and choose my battles, especially with things like clothes when the kids were young. Wear what you feel comfortable in. I had one that really didn’t like to wear sweaters even in the cold and she used some combinations that I would never have chosen. My son has long hair, not my favorite look on a guy, especially when he puts it up in a bun. We bought a crate for Benny when we got him but my husband refused to let us use it, staying home to be with the dog instead of going with us so that the dog could be crateless! We got lucky that Benny was potty trained when we got him and learned quickly to let us know when he. had to go out. That’s really all I cared about. Have fun with your new child.

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  12. I have to say, with our current pups, the training was invaluable. Most of the investment was in time and love vs commands. They are very devoted and are great when they are inside the house. Of course, we may have just lucked out with temperament. That’s also a part of the equation. Lol.
    The ability to pick your battles is a game changer in life. It doesn’t help anything to stress about everything. As a parent, as a teacher, and as a wife, this is a skill I’m constantly working on. It means I can’t be in control of everything. I’m okay with that. (Kind of.)

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    1. Oh, I should add that they don’t heel. Not at all. They are 60 lbs each. Walking them is like being in the Iditarod. And my hilarious son has taught them that “banana” means lie down.

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  13. There is nothing more wonderful than a well trained dog..and nothing more annoying than an untrained one.

    We’ve had them both.

    We take full accountability for the wild one (We had 4 kids and no business getting a small dog) and we take full credit for the second..(no kids at home, all the time in the world to train.)

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  14. More than I care to admit to answer your last question. I think nature decided to make baby animals cute so that we couldn’t hold a grudge. I remember taking my lab puppy to obedience classes and they asked everyone what they wanted out of the class. I said I wanted my dog to be able to greet children without knocking them down in her happiness. A well trained dog is a well loved dog. It all comes down to priorities as is so often the case.

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    1. With our other dog I wanted a happy loving dog, which I got. But, her lack of listening was a bit trying. I want to be able to brush this one , and just basic stuff

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  15. Aw, I can totally relate! Our puppy is now 7 months old and it’s like having a 70lb baby to teach everything to! But he’s a fast learner and brings so much fun and laughs (and frustration lol) to us. You’re so right about picking your battles. Enjoy your pup!

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  16. First, congrats on your fur baby. She is awwwwdorable. As one who has had four dogs and trained all four dogs, I can assure you the time spent training her now will pay off in spades later. If you aren’t comfortable training her, I do recommend enrolling in puppy kindergarten. 😃 Once she knows what is expected, you can choose which rules to relax a bit. As you know, Cabo is spoiled rotten, but does have manners! PM me if you every want any advice in this area.

    If living with a Type A driven man with cancer has taught me anything, it’s how to pick my battles and how/when to keep my mouth shut. I’m constantly asking myself if “this” is the hill I want to die on. Most of the time, the answer is no and I live to disagree another day with the realization that life is too short to fight about the little things. Again, congrats on your fur baby. I look forward to a lot of Instagram photos!!

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  17. There’s a reason why some of us over 50 people don’t have puppies or small children if we can help it. It’s because we did all our “raising” when we were much younger and had more energy. Well, I can only speak for myself. We rescued our dog Buddy from a family member. When Buddy came to live with us 2 1/2 years ago, he was still very much a youngster. Rambunctious. Needy. Definitely a chewer. My favorite bra, my purse, my new quilt on our bed, a couple of pillows, one pillow case, my ring that was on my bedside table and was never found–all became fodder/chew toys that were destroyed and/or eaten before we found Kong, hard rubber chew bones! We tried to crate him, but that made him a very unhappy dog! 😦 However, he’s wonderful in every other way — except his farts. Oh. My. God. Gross, but reality. Also, he’s never gotten the hang of going on walks. He doesn’t like the leash very much and he likes to run! He’s very strong. What we figured out is that neither David nor I have the strength or endurance to take Bud out for walks! Thank God we have a backyard! Good luck with your new puppy! I’m sure you and your hubs will make fine fur parents! And I’m even more sure that she’s totes adorb! Mona

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    1. She’s very cute, so that helps. And she’s really a good dog, if we can just get her to stop trying to eat her poop. But yeah…I forgot how tiring a puppy is!

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  18. Phew, love animals, and, they are a lot of work! Hmmmm. I would say that my choices today are based on return on my time investment, as thinking about what I, or the team, or family, friends, etc., will get back. In many ways, for me, it has to do with reciprocity and agreement. If there is reciprocity and agreement, then proceed, if not, well, maybe not. The last year, I’ve had to let go of several things I was committed to, because the reciprocity is not there. Great post, LA, and good luck to Betty, and you and your husband!!

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  19. That’s an easy one. If I lived in a flat in the middle of New York I’d buy a budgie. A cat would be a challenge, and a dog is far too much effort. I don’t look on it as picking my battles, I used laziness as my yardstick and I’m too lazy to take all that on.

    As for kids – lead by example, keep them busy and it seemed to go OK. To this day I couldn’t tell you how we managed it. The only thing I know about rearing kids (based on my own experience as a kid) is that if you have too many rules they will lie to you and you will never know what they are up to.

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    1. I agree with you on that. My mother had so many rules and I learned early that I would never live up to her expectations. With my daughter I had a few non negotiables but I tried to give her freedom to make mistakes

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  20. I’ve been thinking about your post for the last 24 hours. If I were to offer the advice to anyone, I’d suggest that while it is important to chose your battles, it is more important to chose the timing. Primarily to let tempers cool off. Afterward, the issue may have resolved or disappeared.

    Good luck with the pup – I am a cat person, so am not inclined to ever want to bring a dog into the household, but I do understand the appeal.

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  21. Having rescued a boxer twenty years ago, we had to be consistent. She had been returned to the shelter by the family who had her before us. Their reason being, she had snapped at the kids regularly. We quickly learned why. Being deaf, she didn’t take kindly to the kids sneaking up on her and startling her. I had elementary school age kids so this lesson was zero tolerance level important. Make your presence known, respect her space. We never had a problem.

    From there it was all about sign language, since it was uber important that she SEE us in the event she ever got off her leash in public. Again. No problems.

    It’s about being consistent with the most important things and understanding that the other stuff is beyond your control. Like her instinct to dig up. Everything.

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    1. My new puppy, who is sleeping on my lap as I write this, is going to be a lap dog. Luckily, I want a lapdog (because I fancy myself as the heroine in a regency drama where the Lady always has a little dog around) this is her personality and that won’t change

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  22. Congrats on the puppy! And yes, they are a whole lot of work (just like human babies) but the good news is they get easier as they grow up. And I agree that with puppies and in general, we do need to choose which areas we concentrate on and which battles we fight. As long as you are not being mean to the dog or driving yourselves crazy, there is no right or wrong answer. You just need to decide what is important to you, and then train your dog accordingly. One of my friends has always said that any dog sharing her household has to follow two iron clad rules: They may not bite anyone, and they may not potty in the house (although she is very willing to work with the dog to teach them what it means to be housebroken). She’s willing to put up with anything else, just not those two things.

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    1. Those are two of my iron clad rules as well, though I allow a wee wee pad. But, I know with our other dog she was impossible to groom and whined when she was in a carrier and these are things that I would prefer the new pup doesn’t do because it just makes my life easier

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  23. Yay! A puppy. I insta-decision what lines to push or not every day, all day with my ‘puppies.’ I have basic standards, then I have things that I decided to/no to push based on tiredness and distraction. 🙂

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