Refraining from reaction is as important as acting when it’s needed. It takes much more skill and self-control, though. Many trainers described it as the zen of dogs and it does make you feel like you’re more like a constant flow of water shaping the stone, not a hammer just breaking it.
Nobody can make my dog whatever I want him to be but me. I need to be an expert in his character and talents. I need to watch and listen because he watches and listens.
When I see a dog returned to the shelter I know it’s our fault, it’s a mismatch and even though both the dog and the adopter were perfect, they weren’t perfect for each other. My dogs wouldn’t (or didn’t) work for most people but they fit so neatly in my weird world that when I have to say good-bye to one of them I never forget him and he takes a part of me, never to be replaced, never to be returned.