Mama Sally: This post may seem a little silly….or certainly very different than what you might normally think of for a training tip, but I think it’s really valid! I’m just heading back to work after a wonderful, relaxing, four days off. For the most part, the weather was just gorgeous, and we have a beautiful, wooded back yard, so I spent a whole lot of time out on our patio.
Naturally, Rugby was my shadow, and he enjoyed sitting out on the patio with me. The temperature was moderate, there was a nice light breeze, and bright sunshine. The birdies were singing their little hearts out, I had nothing planned except enjoying my family and my dog. It was bliss. I have no other word to describe the feeling. It was just blissful!
I rush myself through life! I have a very demanding time schedule for my job, and while my job itself is relaxing and fun, trying to keep to a schedule and manage driving from one client to the next can be a bit stressful at times. Sometimes I run into a snag training a given dog, or additional questions or problems I need to help with at a lesson, and that can make me late for the next appointment, which can turn into a domino effect for my day!
Because my schedule is stressful and demanding, there really isn’t time for white space in my day….where I can dream, and relax and just exist on the planet. I typically find myself rushing from one thing to the next. My “To Do” list is a mile long and two miles high. I cross off one thing, and move right along to the next.
Some days, I find myself rushing Rugby through his day, simply because I’ve got too much on my plate! And for him….that doesn’t always work, although he’s generally a really good sport about it! However, there are days when he just looks at me, and studies my face, and there’s a sadness in his eyes.
I know what that sadness is.
He just wants me to be all in with him in the now moment, instead of thinking about what’s coming up next on my “To Do” list. That’s all. He wants me to have white space in my day….in my week….in my life. And he wants that white space to include him.
Dogs know how to relax. They do a terrific job at relaxing. If they had a storefront, it would be “Relaxing R Us.” It’s a natural thing for them. They don’t have to work at relaxing….it just comes. It’s part of who they are.
So…while I was sitting out with my hubby Michael, and Rugby was in Michael’s lap, I got an opportunity to just sit back and watch Rugby enjoying his yard with his favorite people in the world. It occurred to me that I needed to record a short video of that moment in time, because I don’t think I ever want to forget it.
Humans want to be on the move all the time. When I’m training reactive dogs, I often suggest to their owners the thought of just sitting out at a park and letting their dogs just observe their surroundings, rather than walking them at the park. Let them sit with you and observe what’s going on around them. Let them soak it all in, and watch without being rushed.
Socialization would really be beneficial for dogs and puppies if they could just see things and try to figure it all out. That can be tough to do on the move. I know. I’m always on the move.
I love the look of contentment on Rugby’s face as he listens to the birds…the subtle twitching of his ears as he tries to follow the sounds. The little lift of his chin while he sniffs something interesting on the breeze…and his quick little glance over to me to make sure I’m taking it all in right along with him. It was the best way to waste time….and I felt so content and richly satisfied when I was done.