Pep, pizazz, pluck, and punch. Jumping down from the steps, chasing each other, smelling everything, exploring with their mouths. Spying what the other pup is doing and then racing over to pounce. These puppies have two speeds: napping and playing. It’s bursts of liveliness and activity as they exert all that energy.
This is a different type of energy which I am writing about today. After my session with the dog handler, whom I will call “G,” I learned that behavior training is all about energy. Not the wild-spirit energy that seems to be replenished with every nap they take. I am talking about the energy in our space. It may be the Northern-California-raised-girl in me that likes this vibe-like dog behavior philosophy. Humans have many different energies. G (the dog handler) definitely came in with an energy that felt right. I felt relaxed, and that we were in good hands. Which, by the way, is exactly what our puppies need to feel.
They look to us, the humans in the house, for calm and balance. I cannot help but think back to when our aussie, Dot, came home to the chaos of a family with four young children. I remember a trainer telling me that Dot needed a calm predictable environment, and I told her flat out that it was too late, our house was anything but. Somehow we figured it out. Dot thrived in the herding work I gave her, but she also exhibited anxiousness when she sensed my stress or elevated concerns. So if I started to freak out inside about her reaction to a visitor to our house, Dot sensed it and became protective. It was mostly just me who caused this unsettled feeling in her. My energy.
I’d like to think I am a calmer woman than I was fourteen years ago. My children are older and independent. There are not kids rough-housing on the furniture, or scaling the pantry shelves for snacks before dinner. I am not yelling, “Shoes on! Shoes on!” In a mad effort to get my crew organized and out the door for school. Things are fairly quiet around the house these days. I am also different.
I tend to be more relaxed and chill. Reading, writing, crosswords, sitting and observing are things I enjoy now more than ever. Kitty is my partner in serenity. I am happy to report that she continues to be the calm force, sleeping on the sofa just a few feet away from the puppies. My biggest challenge is making sure that my outward peaceful nature is also what I am feeling on the inside. The GrizzlyBearMa name started for a reason. My brain can be consumed with worry and problem-solving over my cubs. The protective instinct around their well-being is fierce. Seems simple enough, just keep my energy balanced. Breathe.
As G explained, I need to work at it, fake it if I have to, but really try to exude calmness and confidence. There is one hurdle that I must get over to achieve this. I am afraid of dogs. Not all dogs, just every dog I don’t know that looks wise to my fear and has teeth. That’s a lot of dogs out there. Like horses (who I’m also nervous around), they have keen awareness of a fear. I’ll write another day about where this originated, for now I realize it’s necessary for me to get over it. As G the dog handler said, this is not only canine behavior training, it’s human behavior training.
My energy is all about love, kindness, providing security for my cubs, and I will do my best to overcome the negative energy that throws our space off balance. Koda and Summer, you are in good hands. I got this. Deep breath as I practice the “settle hold” with each of them. Ahhh.