My shweet pitbull, Vito, just turned one year old…
When he was about 4 months old his trainer asked me — regarding my pooch’s daily walk — “would you be going on the daily walks if it weren’t for your dog?”
My answer was no.
He then added; “…so, since you are taking the walks for your dog…make sure he has a great time!”
Hmmm….I hadn’t thought of it like that before.
I could see that the walks were indeed becoming “all business.” And, I could also envision that continuing on this track could easily build a heavy sense of obligation, stress, or even frustration when I felt rushed. And, no doubt, my pup would in turn feel cheated.
So, I tried it. It was tricky at first, because I can be all about time management, efficiency, and truth be told — at times — “what’s in it for me?”
But, I quickly found that even if he wanted to investigate the smells of the same bush for 5 minutes (which I don’t get at ALL)…there was still plenty of time for him to do his business and get a bit of exercise.
The second thing, I noticed that when I stopped pulling him away from everything he was interested and deferred to what made him happy…I was happier too.
I enjoyed myself more, I was more relaxed, and of course since our pups take their cues from us, he became more relaxed, too.
Of course, there is a time for discipline, especially when they are young and imprinting; but I really needed to make a decision to enjoy the process!
This got me thinking about my time with my 10 year old…what if I practiced being “all in” with him, too? Meaning, if I decided to do an activity with him – the trampoline park, for example – what if I let him call the shots? I did this, and, needless to say, it involved me jumping ‘til my calves cramped! But you know what?...I had the best time EVER! So much better than had I been sitting on the sidelines watching, or worse…texting!
This got me thinking about other areas of my life; family, friend and work commitments. What if I went “all in” for these, too? What if, I set aside any essence I had of obligation, and decided that if I decided to make a plan...the time would be about them?
I’m not talking about making ourselves a people-pleasing doormat, I’m suggesting that you will likely find more joy in the things you give yourself over to completely.
Whether it’s for another, or, for yourself;
Get involved. Get silly. Stay open…and, see what happens. You might surprise yourself!
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I love this blog! My pit mix could be the litter mate of yours, although my boy is 4 years old. We have three dogs and we subscribe to the “Let them enjoy their walks”. We go out of our way to take our dogs on unleashed walks/runs along the canals and through remote fields so they can run freely, sniff to their hearts content and enjoy life. We enjoy it also! A timely post for me since I am struggling with having to let our pets go since we will be losing our home in the not too distant future. Thank you!
Thank you for your post Jeanne! Makes me happy to hear that you and your pups are having such a wonderful time together...and with today’s weather, wow! I hope you were able to get out a bit in the evening. You’ll have to show me a picture of Vito’s “twin.” But, I must say my heart is heavy for you at the prospect of losing your home and having to find a home for your pups. Do please let me know if there is anything at all that I can do in helping you with placing them. I am sure you will enjoy every moment with them until then!
Thanks again for commenting...it means so much to walk this path with you!