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Archive for the tag “puppy”

Perfectly Patient…Uh Oh

We recently added another dog to the mix.  Mocha, a chocolate lab, joined our family last Sunday and I could tell already that there are going to be a whole lot of lessons exchanged between us.  Adam the mailman, Bruce the UPS guy, her breeder, friends on Facebook  have all said she’s going to be big….”look at those paws, that head.”  Gulp!!!  She’s sweet and busy and nippy and vocal and stubborn and smart and teachable.  I’m all those things too so I’m up for the challenge.  Today I glanced over at her as she was sleeping and twitching away and as I marveled at how big she was already at 9 weeks, I heard the Lord say, “don’t let the outside fool you, she’s just a baby…be patient.”

That comment resonated in my spirit.   Outward appearances can fool us.  That person who seemingly has it all together, is altogether wrecked and no one seems toIMG_3651 notice and the ones who get close enough to know the deal, don’t want to know the details…be patient.  That daughter, whose outside screams that she’s a woman is still a child becoming a woman, subject to the same disappointments and feelings, but lacking the experience and knowledge to navigate her world…be patient; that church member, newly saved and knowing everything…uh, yeah…still a baby…be patient!  Even though Mocha is pretty big for her age…GULP; even though at 6 months…maybe even at 3 months, she’ll be strong enough to take me down, I can’t be moved (well I can, but not in that way)…I need to remember that she’s still a baby and while I must be firm and unbending where her training is concerned, I must also be patient.

The one thing I have learned about patience is that you don’t ask for it, unless you are prepared for  every devil in hell posing as your boss, your neighbor and your loved one to be unleashed against you to test it and, well, you just have to pass!!  You should also expect to be tested in traffic, at the grocery store…even your appliances and – ahem, your computer will play a role in your testing.  You can’t pass a test unless you’re tested, right?  I’ve been a pretty good student of patience.  I say student because I have witnessed the fruit of it, but can confidently say that I will always be minding that garden.  I’ve been able to clip the lip, but you should see what’s going on in my head…those “murderous thoughts,” (not really murder, maybe just inflicting injury); the toe tapping (yes, in my head); the white knuckling, lip biting, deep breathing, counting…1, 2, 3…you feel me?  James 1:4 says “But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be (people) perfectly and fully developed (with no defects), lacking in nothing.”  So, if I give patience permission to do its thing, I can expect to be perfectly developed, with no defects and lacking nothing and those around me from my puppy to that baby in church will greatly benefit and I will maintain my perfect peace because I’m perfectly patient!.

Lord, perfect my patience…Uh oh!

I just have to say…this the second time I wrote this blog.  The first one…”error message…deleted unretrievable.”  You see what I mean?  OY!!!!

Why “Why” Is So Important – A Lesson in Communication

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Communication (from Latin “communis“, meaning to share) is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior.

We’ll be adding a dog to our family this summer so I’ve been preparing and part of that preparation entails locating a training program for our puppy.  I’m liking the idea of a training program which includes other dogs who are also being trained.  I was referred to a place and so this week I spent two days auditing different classes.

One of the handlers took some time with me to answer questions and explain the process.  She was very helpful.   It was play time at the end of one of the classes…a 628x471time when some of the pups were selected to “fellowship” in the center of the room.  One of the pups was not having it and kept running over to where my husband and I were sitting.  I naturally gave her love each time she came over, at one point comforting her since she was shaking.  The head trainer was a bit exasperated and whispered something to one of the handlers, who then brought out a covered gate and plopped it down in front of us, blocking the pup’s access to us, and unfortunately blocking our view of the proceedings.  The handler said, “don’t feel bad, it’s not you.”  How could I not feel bad?  I got the impression that I had done something wrong, but wasn’t sure what.  What a missed opportunity to communicate and thus teach a prospective client about protocol.

Now, I’m not too touchy, so I wasn’t at all offended or even bothered by the incident, but I did want to know what, if anything I had done wrong and how I could have avoided that barrier.  I got my answer today while watching Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer dude, explain that when you reward a dog while it is in a “state” other than calm or submissive, you are rewarding that behavior, thus giving it the okay to continue in that behavior.  What I should have done was ignore the dog’s request for comfort while it was in a fearful state.  Makes perfect sense why the trainer was irritated with my response to the runaway pup.

Naturally, this explanation got me to thinking about the value of communication and how leaving a question unanswered, assuming that someone knows better, or responding with nonverbal communication can lead to confusion, hurt feelings and missed opportunities for establishing new relationships or building and maintaining strong ones.  Perhaps if we learned to communicate effectively, we would lessen the likelihood of those pesky barriers!!

Being someone all about the “why” of a thing, I can’t get over how the Lord so knows that about me and never misses an opportunity to school me in order to make me better, not bitter!

Who knows, if we do select that puppy training school for our dog this summer, I may be in a position to train the trainer a bit on communicating with humans!  Keep calm and submissive and carry on! 🙂

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