‘Atta Boy, Trace!’

So last night, was training with the dogs in the back yard. Typically I can let Bella off leash as she REALLY loves to push. Trace (our Husky) on the other hand, as I have shown in the past, I’ve got to have him on the 50-footer because he just tunes out and goes into load-overload. Well for whatever reason I decided to work with Trace first, off leash. I kid you not, this was the first time the boy followed me and maintained focus on my center than ever before. Sheer steady-state focus for a good 20 minutes until the food ran out. We ran around, wrestled a bit, and he pushed harder than ever before. The emotion I felt just seemed free-flowing. I was so proud of him. It was a breakthru for him and an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me. I think he and I have ventured into a new phase of our training relationship.

For the sake of self-disclosure, it is tough working full-time as a college counselor, part-time as a church youth leader, in addition to raising a child and maintaining a dog training regimen. Then to make the time to work out and spend some time with my wife. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m over-committed :). It takes a toll on energy, both physical and emotional – not that that is a bad thing, its just a reality. That’s probably half the reason I’ve been MIA for a couple weeks. But something changed within the past few days – I’ve just felt more content, more motivated. But most of all, Trace taught me something last night – I don’t have to try so hard. I can get better at going with the flow in all areas of my life. So I thank him for allowing me to just absorb what he had to offer – ‘atta boy, Trace!’

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6 thoughts on “‘Atta Boy, Trace!’

  1. It is amazing how there are literally leaps in the dogs’ responsiveness. And, they so often come when you are not trying so hard. Sharing your moments really helps me keep going when I do not see progress.

    In fact, I was really concerned a couple weeks ago with Nellie as she regressed a bit to soiling errors and mouthing. Fortunately, I saw posts by Kevin talking about how return to the “puppy mind” including short-lived (hopefully) regressions were good signs.

    1. RE: puppy mind – reminds me of being human and returning to a state of inner child. From my perspective, the most raw emotion we can see is that through a child. I mean, I can look back at times when I was kid, just playing and being free and careless. For me, my pups are a way to return to that state of emotional flow. Yea for dogs!

  2. It is amazing how these leaps occur. They seem often to happen when a person stops trying so hard. Sharing your leaps and other moments really helps me keep going during the dry spells when no progress shows up.

    In fact, a couple of weeks ago I was really concerned about Nellie because there was a regression to soiling and mouthing. Fortunately, I ran into other NDT posts where Kevin spoke of the return to the “puppy mind” including short-lived regressions.

  3. Well done Scott – I can so identify with the over-committing and fighting to find the time, and also to the fact that that’s when breakthroughs happen – ‘acceptance’ ? Thanks for sharing

  4. One of the biggest lessons I learned through NDT, is to not worry about it all so much. You have to go through this process of friction and mental gymnastics, constantly thinking about it as you try to get your head around it. It seems like there is so much to learn and understand. But then you reach a point one day where it all just clicks, and you realize that at its core, it’s actually all incredibly simple. Then you start letting go of all the stuff you’ve spent so much time agonizing over, and you finally just start going by feel. And once you start going by feel, you’re finally having a conversation with your dog that he can understand.

    Sounds like you’re starting to experience that Scott. You are well on your way. 🙂

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