Don’t just take your dog for a walk
I am urging you to participate with your dog’s interaction with the environment and you,
I don’t want you to be an audience to your dog’s ‘walk’,
Us humans get so wrapped in what we need to get done, planning and actual events, that we spend too much time focusing on these upcoming things and lose focus on the here and now … and our friends!
I am guilty too, so perhaps my ramblings here will help you.
I often find I go off to walk the dogs, and chose to stand back and watch them run off when off leash and they mosey around snuffling at smells, poking at fencelines, playing with each other. If they come to me I offer then a mere glance and continue to ponder “ow, I need to do this, I need to do that, I have to get a long now”.
I watch (while sitting in the car waiting for traffic to move or as I drive past) other folk pottering along as their dogs walk either freely on a loose lead or frantically towing their ‘carer’, the dog is engaging with the environment, sometimes trying to engage with their carer, the carer is studiously struggling with the towing dog or obviously in a mindset and world of their own.
These two examples are of ‘taking the dog for a walk’. In neither case are we engaging with the dog and sharing its engagement with the environment and when the dog invites us to share a moment or two with them our responses are often really fleeting and rather dismissive as our minds pull us away from true communication or engagement with our dogs.
Dogs and us have been blessed (in most cases) with some fabulous senses so we can enjoy and read the environment for nourishment, reward, or signs of danger we are best to avoid, but also so we can interact with our friends our dogs, and they with us … if we resist the silly temptation to shut them out because we are ‘taking our dog for his walk’ rather then ‘walking with our dog’.
The senses are of great value to us at all times but particularly when we choose to go for a walk with our dogs. Just to remind you how you can engage with your dog and the environment when out walking, use your sight, hearing, sense of smell, taste the air, touch things near you like your clothing and your dog!
You can even rest your voice and just tune into your dog with these five basic senses: look and see what he sees and wants to share with you, you can invite him to enjoy and feel what you see and would like share with him. If he wants to stop and sniff something why don’t you stop and allow him to sniff? If you see some cool sand on a hot day why not encourage him to walk over this or sit together for a few moments? Catch the scent of a fresh breeze, turn and encourage your dog to enjoy the breeze on his face and the riffle through his fur and the light scents by sniffing.
Remember the golden moments of introducing a young human to something in the environment, or touching each other, moments of pure enriching sparkles you can share every time you go for a walk with your dog rather then taking your dog for a walk. We traditionally think that sitting together and stroking is the best rapport building moment but going for a walk with your dog is the time for truly building a rapport. Sparkles that enrich your live, enrich your dog’s life, and build a unique and friendly bond between two living individuals.