Who’s Teaching Whom?

“. . . and when he’s fussing because he doesn’t want to be back in his crate, I’ll get down on the floor next to him and pretend that I’m going to sleep with him. He always settles right down and goes to sleep. Then I just slip away…”  I was proudly telling the vet how I calmed Blu, when I had to leave him for the afternoon or evening. Before I was finished, the vet was shaking her head no.  “Really?”  (I figured she just didn’t understand.)  “He’s trained you to do that. He might even be telling you that you belong down there with him. Next time, give him a toy, and walk away.”

Is it a coincidence that Blu’s demands, and his creativity in expressing them, rivals my own?  Maybe its a little how parents feel sometimes with their children….   

 

Blu’s View: Hey Blu Don’t Be Afraid

The day he arrived, Blu, in his rambunctiousness, misjudged his first step and skidded down the steps on his stomach. No fun at all, especially because the edges of the granite were a little sharp, and at eight weeks old he was away from his mom for the first time.  And he was already exhausted.

For a long time after that he mistrusted almost every stair that he had to go down. More often than not, each step was studied then negotiated very purposefully. Unfortunately, this approach led to a couple of more minor mishaps, which only seemed to strengthen his opinion that he couldn’t be too careful with stairs. We knew he wasn’t generally fearful. He was already launching himself full-bore onto our much larger five-year-old Toller, just to incite a little fun and excitement.

One day Blu was racing back and forth across our refectory. Typically, he misjudged things a little, and ended up running up the long stairway. He looked around, and there he was at the top of the stairs. It sure looked like “OOPS!!” may have crossed his little face. With the next breath he headed back down almost as fast as he had come up.  And, of course, it was a successful descent. I wanted to pick him up and say, “There! See?  You can do stairs. Just stop thinking about it and trying so hard.”   

A quotation from Ray Bradbury, that I saw at the kid’s home-school open house last night put it perfectly: “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It is self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”
 
 

A new leash on life

Little Blu had his first big reality check last week when it was time to start on a leash.  As he slid and skidded across the wood floor in the Brothers’ friary in his little harness, it was obvious he had better ideas. Then, as I struggled with the little guy across the lawn on walk after walk, I found myself saying, “You can either continue to dig in your heels and be frustrated – or you can give up and enjoy this.”  Then that was followed by another thought: “Whoa — Is it possible? I’m just like Blu.”

Very slow walk, on day 5 of leash training.