Learning with Sasha

I am a huge fan of The Dog Whisperer. I have always enjoyed psychology and understanding the how and why of humans and animals. I enjoy the National Geographic channel, getting mesmerized with documentaries about exotic animals or whatever. So, when I learned about the Dog Whisperer, I couldn't wait to see what it was all about - I even borrowed the book from my friend and read it — and I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A DOG! Needless to say, I would try these new techniques with whatever dog I came in contact with and talked about this cool stuff with friends who had dogs. It made perfect sense to me!

Now, I am trying to apply all this wisdom to my sweet Sasha - honestly, I don't know if she has earned the title "sweet" .... I can say I have seen pretty great results with her. She had little training when I brought her home so I started right away. She got the sitting before eating procedure down pretty fast. Food is a huge motivator! She also has the fetch trick down well, she isn't jumping ON me as much and she is good at the "come" command too — sometimes she goes a little farther than I want her too before she turns and comes, but she does come.

So, those are easy right? Now, Caesar (the Dog Whisperer) says one of the most important things to do is "Master the Walk" -- Basically, walk your dog, don't let the dog walk you. If you have ever seen the show, he makes this look very easy and smooth - BE the Pack Leader, they walk alongside you or behind you. Ha, well, Sasha as NEVER seen the show or read the book! She likes to go fast, her puppy energy wants to run and sniff and explore; while I am keeping the leash short, commanding her "stop," "no," "ssshhhh!"-"Sasha!"...the whole time. I come back exhausted and thinking, this walk thing is NO FUN for me or for Sasha.

After an exceptionally NO fun walk the other day, I was so frustrated. I felt like I was failing; then I had a rational thought: it's a dog! HELLO! I still felt a weight of responsibility to do a good job training, but she was wearing me out and I have only had her for less than a month! I had to laugh because I realized, man, even a dog can show me how much I need to grow in patience and wisdom, a dog! Well, God did use a donkey one time to get a man's attention, so why am I surprised if God wants to work on me through a dog?

I took a deep breath and prayed about it. Yes, I am praying about how to be a good dog owner. Maybe it really isn't about being a dog owner but walking in a way that reflects the character of Jesus more, less of me. It really is about totally depending on HIM.

So, I am embracing this experience. Sasha needs an outlet for all her energy; she needs to know I am her "pack leader" and I need to walk in the role God made me to walk in — ruling over His creation by His Spirit. So, I am continuing to work with her: rollerblading is fun, and good exercise for me. But today we had the best time yet: I took her out into the woods, let her off her leash to see how well she would listen to me. She loved it, and I had fun too. We roamed around the trails together, she ran and ran but responded well to my calls. I was so proud of her. It is working!

I am learning to relax, be consistent, expect obedience but maybe not perfection and not to get frustrated as easily. Hopefully I can apply these lessons to my own kids someday. :-)


Allie Andrews said…
i never really thought about it that way...

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