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In Training, Dog Play

This morning Will and I are in training. Will, is 11-months-old and weighs 70 pounds. We are in week 6 of our training program.

Training is seen as a method of learning — in educational programs, professionally, in the field of sports, for parents and married couples, with adolescent pups, and in our life journeys.

Let start with the basics.

Tools — Harness & Leash

When we started working with Teri, our trainer, I already had a red leash that I saved to remember Shadow. He and I spent a great deal of time together in search and rescue training and missions when we lived in the Sierras. Shadow was almost always off-leash but there were times when a leash was necessary, when leash laws prevailed.

Will loves to be off leash but is reactive to everyone when he is on leash so a new approach is called for. We switched from the red leash to a harness and a longer leash with a bungee cord and two loops to put my hand through as we walk. This system is helping both Will and I to enjoy our on leash walks in our neighborhood. It’s a process that involves a great deal of patience. We spend a great deal of our time walking going in circles, playing games, and hanging out with positive results.

Treats

Shadow’s favorite treat was a red ball. Will is a foodie — so this time round training treats come in the form of well chosen bites, Kong balls and toys, and the simple pleasures of being together.

We Can Do This!

Will and I spend most of our days together. Ever tried to play hide-and-seek with a Golden? Will is most often by my side, so, well, lets just say it’s impossible to hide. I love that we are so bonded. He reminds me moment-to-moment of the loss of my son, Will, to metastatic cancer. His companionship is helping me to let go, feel deeply the loss of my son while celebrating life.

When we began training 6 weeks ago it was rough! I had conveniently forgotten just how crazy an adolescent Golden puppy can be. Will was in constant motion, biting my wrists and hands, jumping up on me and anyone else he wanted to greet, and barking loudly at any two-legged or four-legged passing by our home or on our walks.

Now that we are 6 weeks into training, Will and I are starting to get into the groove. His first birthday is November 9th and we are ready to celebrate. All our training is paying off and we still have 3 lessons to go to improve our skills.

He has his moments of the crazies. He still barks at people, dogs, cats, and deer but with patience, consistency, and lots of rewarding what works we are making progress. Will is able to relax with us in the morning and the evening on his pillow, and pays attention to me so that we can enjoy our time walking in our neighborhood. He loves to play games and with new toys.

Inner Guidance: I Am Writing

After a training session with Will this morning, I went up stairs to write. I picked up one of my decks of inspirational cards and mixed the deck, being careful to add back into the deck a card I had chosen the day before — Patience. When I selected the card — Patience again, I laughed.

Patience with Will. Patience with my Self. I am in training too. I am being guided by what I hear people say, and what I don’t hear but feel. I am guided by the daily inspirations and soulful moments of my day. I am being guided by my waking dreams and divine stories that come in the night.

Patience

Somethings up. It takes time to write well, to re-write, to be-friend my inner critics, to meet my Shadow as a friend who sees what I do not see clearly. It takes time to dream, to pay attention to those dreams so that I take integral action.

I remember in this moment something my children asked me so often as they grew,

Are we there yet?

Consistency

It doesn’t matter how many words I write in a day as much as that I am consistent. Doing the work, believing in the work.

Rewarding What Works

Have I been rewarding myself for what works rather than what isn’t working?