I always tell people that if they are not feeling well they should let go of high expectations when it comes to their dogs. I do think dogs are very good at reading our emotions and feel our frustration even if we don’t act on it or direct it towards them. And sometimes we are just not fit enough for our dogs.
I was thinking about it today as I took Fenix for a walk. I’m having one of those very bad days, I’m stressed and so anxious I feel I’m going to explode. So I decided easy walk will be the most I can (and should) do today. Fenix has to be on a leash either way (medical reasons) so we went to a nature park where dogs have to be on leash. It has beautiful fields and a forest, very peaceful place ideal to relax.
So we are walking, me busy in my own head and Fenix few steps ahead busy in the grass. As I made another step forward I see a huge hare jump straight from under Fenix’s feet.It was the first time he saw a hare from so close and let’s just say he did not take long to figure out what to do. I on the other hand took way too long to react and his 10 meters long line slipped through my hands…And he is in a full chase after the hare. You know the rule; don’t recall if you know it wont work? Yeah me too but my mouth was working faster than my brain. As they were both jumping through the grass like little deers I was feeling pretty stupid. I should have kept the line in my hands, should have reacted faster but here I am standing in a middle of a field watching my dog running off. And then I smiled to myself and sat down in the grass. No point trying to get his attention, loose my shit. I will just wait. We were completely alone, there are no roads around, and I didn’t expect him to forget about me. The whole thing lasted maybe a minute and he started running back to me. He came back with a speed of light (there goes no physical exercise) very proud of himself. And I was happy to welcome him back. Few years ago I would have been frustrated. But well, dogs chase bunnies sometimes, dogs in puberty don’t listen sometimes and the best thing I can do is to be better prepared next time, to train for those kind of situations. He has a good recall from other dogs and people, he stays close to me 90% of our walk, we just didn’t train with running hares. Everything is a learning experience after all and less time we waste on being frustrated the faster we can get to working on improving the situation.