Monday, September 1, 2008

Lessons from the Dog Whisperer

I spent the first part of today cleaning out my closet (with Eminem lyrics in my head) and bagging up clothes for the Goodwill. While I sat on the floor and went through my drawers, I was thrilled to find a Dog Whisperer marathon on the National Geographic Channel. I totally heart the Dog Whisperer. After watching several episodes of him telling ridiculous (very much like me) dog owners to "Be the pack leader and exude calm, assertive energy", I got the perfect opportunity to try out my new skills. Tammy called and asked if we wanted to go meet them at the park and play tennis. I just knew that the 3 hours I spent absorbing Caesar's wisdom would pay off. My dogs would be miraculously transformed by my new peaceful demeanor and The psycho fencing bumping dogs down the street would be no match for my tranquil attitude. Lately I've been using a connector dealiebob to take the dogs on a walk using just one leash. I hadn't ever seen the Dog Whisperer use one and despite my initial excitement, I understand why. Picture dogs jumping over each other, getting caught on either side of posts, trees, mailboxes etc. During my epic closet cleaning adventure this morning, I'd uncovered a leash that I had thought was long gone. This created yet another way I could use my new found knowledge. I got the leashes on the dogs and was repeating to myself, "Calm and Assertive". If you have to repeat it, I'm guessing you aren't feeling it, in hindsight. Anyway, I opened the door and forgot the first lesson immediately (you go out first, dogs follow you)...oh well. Anyway, I spent the first 3 blocks doing the DW hiss and jerking them away from everything. My calm, assertive attitude was quickly dissipating along with the feeling in my hands. But an amazing thing happened at some point in block 4, the dogs fell in line! There was slack in each leash and they were happily trotting next to me. It wasn't perfect, we definately stopped more times to "water the plants" than I would like, but it was seriously incredible. It really works... On the way home, I was thinking about how nice it was to walk without tension and have a peaceful, relaxing walk. It reminded me of my walk with God-- how many times do I bolt out the door without stopping to make sure He wants me to go? In order to find peace, the dogs needed to be on a short leash that was independant of anyone else. This part really got me... They needed to be close enough to feel a quick reminder tug in order to stay on the path. If one of them got distracted by something they didn't need to focus on, I just gave them a quick tug and a verbal reminder and they looked forward and walked the path I had for them. They had to respect that I was the leader and trust that I knew where we were going. How many times do I ignore that still small voice when I'm looking elsewhere? Both dogs are now passed out on the floor after thoroughly enjoying our walk. I feel like we all had a breakthrough. Tomorrow, my goal is to respond to each little tug and keep my eyes on the path before me.

1 comment:

lookin4sprouts said...

Megan, so good. So right on. You are a writer, writing from the heart and i am blessed. Love ya, k
call me. :)