My dogs are the most vital part of my life, but I do have a relatively ‘normal’ life beside them. I’m not a laid-back person in most situations, when I do stress I approach it, as most other things, with a profound seriousness. Eager to create worries I despair when I lose control. Funnily enough I’m different around animals. Calm, relaxed, focused but happy. Just like that, without even trying.
So our weekend mini-adventures are as important to me as they are to the dogs. We take our time to explore, to learn the world and one another, we don’t actively train yet the dogs make progress in their ‘adaptation to the challenges of life’ journey. Recall gets better (because I know where to go-or so they think), fear of people weakens (because we met few, mostly with dogs, so it’s not overwhelming), all the chewing, digging, madly chasing whatever there is to chase is allowed -and so much better than in the limited space of the garden (and, alas, the house).
Lily’s over-excitement can be channelled, she loves her weekend trips and she makes loads of (as interesting as annoying) noises waiting for us to open the door and go out. Such a great opportunity to teach her that good things come to dogs who wait! She is, after all, allowed to make as much racket as she wants when she chases pigeons.
Brian’s issues can be addressed, too. Walking on the lead with no pulling, not backing off when he sees a human- it’s so easy to practice when there’s loads of space, not many people, various paths and distracting scents. We change pace, direction, terrain. I lead, he follows because he wants to, no pressure.
When we spend our weekend wisely, we’re ready to face the week. Happy and full of energy, we know that even if we get tense and we hold our breath for too long, the weekend will sort it out, we’ll relax and breath out again.