I happen to love science and excel at it, but I am not a natural actress or singer (although I am in awe of those who are). Growing up I hated giving speeches in class or even just talking in front of groups of people. Over time I have learned to overcome some of my fears. I now can teach classes and lecture with no problem at all (but there is still no way I could sing in front of a group of people!). Just like humans, dogs have natural strengths and weaknesses. Some dogs are born to be therapy dogs, others could care less about visiting with strangers.

Honoring our strengths is something we do as humans all the time but we often try to “force” our dogs to be someone they are not. I often have people come to me that adopt a puppy and expect it to be a service dog. This is equivalent to a human having a child and expecting him or her to be an Olympic athlete! Both of these “professions” require and enormous amount of training and dedications- not to mention the RIGHT GENES! Michael Phelps was “made” to be a swimmer with his long arms and legs. If he was born with a different body, he would likely NOT be a Gold medalist.

When you are deciding if your dog should be a therapy dog, service dog or compete in a sport, first decide what your dog is good at. Many things can be taught but to set your dog up for unrealistic expectations will not only be hard on him, it will also be hard on you!