Uncomfortable Preparation


Pictured: Regan (niece/dancer), Ava (niece), Caryln (daughter/dancer), Kara (daughter/dancer), Lauren (niece/dancer)

This past weekend was Milwaukee’s Irishfest, held on the Summerfest grounds on our beautiful lakeshore. Milwaukee Irishfest is the largest Irish festival in the world which is pretty awesome. Interestingly before I met my wife Michele, I’d never been to Irishfest, and now I haven’t missed for seven years running.

While attending this year’s event, I had a great conversation with my brother-in-law’s mom, Mary, about training Charlie Murphy (our new Goldendoodle). She asked if I would be training him myself and I said that I would. Mary shook her head and said, “That’s not going to work!” I told her that I had read books and was really prepared to train him. She then asked about house training, which I said should last about a week based on my latest reading, “The GoldendoodleHandbookThe Essential Guide For New & Prospective Goldendoodle Owners”. According to this guide, Goldendoodles are really easy to train and usually get the hang of it in about two days.

Even according to the totally objective Facebook group, Goldendoodles Rock!, very few owner/parents struggle with this breed. Given this is my first time, I figured I’d stretch out my expectations to a week. She responded, “I’d give it six months!” I replied with a smile on my face and hands on her shoulders, “Mary, have you thought about being a motivational speaker? You’re so encouraging!” The three of us laughed as she bent over from her chuckle thinking about her responses.

Before we left the conversation, she offered to take Charlie on walks during the day if I needed her (she’s retired). However, this could’ve been a totally different conversation if I wasn’t prepared for it. I’ve learned through the years that even well-meaning people may not be encouraging to your idea or plan. For those who need a cheerleader (my wife Michele and sister Katrina were both cheerleaders in high school if anyone is in need), they can become discouraged or defensive when they are not supported in the way they want.

Maybe it’s the entrepreneur in me, but I’m very confident in my dog-training ability even if I haven’t done it before. The reason is quite simple. I have goals and a plan to get there. However, I understand that this is an experiment. As I work my plan, if something works I keep doing it. But if it doesn’t, then I’ll adjust accordingly. This doesn’t always feel comfortable, but success isn’t always comfortable. Every dog, kid, person, and client is different, so I’ll have to make it up as I get to know him anyways.

Pictured: Tom (brother-in-law/Kilkenny jersey), Darren (me/Dublin jersey), Ed (father-in-law/Muenster rugby jersey)

As for the over-concerned dog lovers out there, YES, I’m taking “pawternity” leave for a week to get him acclimated to our new environment. Full disclosure, it really just means I’m working from home, but please don’t tell him because he’s a Gen Z designer dog so who knows how he’ll handle the news. As a good parent, we’ll just keep him in the dark as long as possible, allow it to blow up in our faces later, then yell at him with the, “I sacrificed everything so YOU would have a better life and this is how you repay me?” response. Parenting 101.

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