Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Walk In The Park

Today Coco and I went for a lovely walk in a forest preserve. It is one of our favorite places. The pathways are lined with trees and the people who go there are also enjoying the nature surrounding them.

Coco and I were in such harmony. When we got to the waterfalls there were a few people with dogs there. All happy to be near the water. All happy to be with their packs. Coco did beautifully. She was aware they were all there. She kept her focus and we were totally relaxed and having a good time.

And it hit me, that Coco and I have really rounded the bend in our training. Instead of tugging or losing focus Coco is now relaxed and confident when we are out in public and around other dogs. I think her being so relaxed is either helping the other dogs to be calm or maybe we just got lucky and were around people who were wonderful trainers and handlers of their amazing dogs. Or maybe it was a little bit of both.

In any case, I realized that there were times when I felt sad that I couldn't feel at ease taking Coco to a dogpark. Because I always worried about whether she would be okay if an aggressive dog came up to her. She is so playful and happy around cheerful dogs. But I knew even the anticipation of being stressed was too much for me. And then today I realized, Coco and I were happy. We walk in lovely parks nearly everyday. We sit and watch people or birds or animals. And we are relaxed and enjoying life.

It has been a lot of work for Coco and me to stay focused when we are out working. Some times more so than others. But she has become so consistently clear when she is working that this has helped me to be calmer and genuinely relaxed when we go for walks these days.

I need to always remember to keep in mind that what is - right in front of me - in the moment - is what is important to appreciate.

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