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In America, tomorrow is Memorial Day, which is a day for remembering all of the brave men and women of the armed forces who have given their lives in service to their country. Currently, the holiday honors more than a million people.

Their memories are celebrated with a National Memorial Day Concert, parades all across the nation, and the placement of flags on the graves of fallen soldiers.

It’s a time to remember the people who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up their lives in order to protect ours and, while it’s a solemn occasion, it’s also a time for renewal and the official beginning of summer. But the important word to remember is sacrifice, and the perspective this holiday can give us on that word.

Often, in order to get what we want, we have to make a sacrifice. What varies is the degree. It can be as grave as dying to protect something or it can be as minor as giving up those morning iced coffees to lose weight — although in comparison, that second sacrifice is absolutely trivial.

What people sometimes don’t consider before bringing a dog into their lives is that they are going to have to sacrifice in order to have a happy, balanced pack. It’s not a sacrifice that can be brushed aside, either. After all, a dog is a living thing and adoption is a commitment to that dog for life, no matter what problems come along.

Some sacrifices for dogs can be challenging. I’m not going to deny that. It can be quite easy to suddenly find yourself facing a daunting veterinary bill, or having to make a huge lifestyle change, like moving, in order to keep the dog in your life. Sometimes, a dog can actually come between family members when they don’t agree on how to train her, what rules she should have, or even what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior.

One sacrifice that all dog owners have to make is time. The minimum commitment to a dog is to make sure that he gets at least two long walks per day, that he has adequate food and water, and that he gets mental stimulation in the form of training and play time. And this isn’t time you make on the side.

A huge sacrifice that almost all dog owners have to make is dealing with misbehaviors as they come up. Whether your dog barks non-stop, eats the furniture, does her business in the house, or nips at family or strangers, it’s up to you to solve the problem. That’s another sacrifice of your time and attention, but it’s what you signed up for when you adopted the dog.

The good news is that a lot of these problems are easily solved, and I have a lot of the solutions right here. Just go up to the top of the screen. If you have a specific behavior problem, you can find it under “Help! My Dog Is…” If you want to learn my philosophies on dog psychology, you can find them under “Cesar’s Essentials,” and so on.

Our heroes tend to be humans who have made enormous sacrifices by doing something above and beyond. But, to our dogs, we are always their heroes because it’s very easy to earn their admiration and devotion. So doesn’t this mean that we should work even harder to deserve it?

Stay calm and give your all!

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