I have a challenge for you. For one day I want you to observe your dog, play with your dog, and work with your dog without judgment!
I have a vivid childhood memory of being at my Grandparent’s place. We were celebrating a birthday for my younger sister in their beautiful back garden. My Sis and I were messing around as sisters will do and my Grandpa Johnny got impatient with us. What I remember so clearly about this was what my Mom said to her father, she gently chastised him and informed him that kids will be kids. I felt so good when she defended us from my stern Grandfather. It felt liberating and safe to be me!
I think the quality of any relationship can be enhanced with an absence of judgment. This is no easy task! We are constantly labeling and defining everything in our lives. Events and people are condensed down to good or bad. Things make us happy or make us sad. Maybe we are missing some of the richness of life when we view things this way.
We have a propensity to do this with our dogs too. Whether it is teaching a puppy the ways of the world, or working on more complex moves with a more mature dog.
New puppy parents frequently want more from their pup than what is realistic. Or get impatient when everyday behaviors, like come and loose leash walking take time to train to fluency.
I am not going to call any of this bad. That would be judging and today I am taking myself up on my own challenge : ). Today I am going to hang around with my dog and simply be with her and have fun. We will work on moves, some that I have been working on for months! We will play and walk. Sometimes she will pull me, sometimes she won’t. She will mostly always come running when I call. I hope that I contribute to her feeling good and safe and free to be her, I think I do.
If you feel inclined to take us up on this challenge maybe you will share some of your experience of that day with us here.