5/31/2012 2:45 PM
As some of you may know, last summer I adopted a third rescue dog named Bear. My fondness for big dogs added another German Shepherd to our home. My dog trainer recommended walking 3 dogs together was the only sure fire technique to bring harmony to the household and establish rules of the pack. So I made a commitment when I adopted Bear, I was going to get out there and walk them, every day! Thus, my dog walking began. I've never been an exercise proponent so the goal of dog walking was pretty huge for me. But during this year, I have learned some things that I thought I'd share about what dog walking has taught me
#1 Setting goals.
Dog walking gave me a goal. I learned a goal doesn't have to be accomplished in one fell swoop. By setting a series of smaller goals, the larger one didn’t seem so impossible to reach. We started doing 15 minutes walks twice a day. We progressed to 30 minutes daily, very quickly. Before I knew it, the walks were so enjoyable; it took little effort to walk for an hour or longer. I walk them 7 days a week now, they don’t know (or care) if it’s the weekend or if I’m tired!
#2 Have respect for an individual's preferences.
Each of my dogs want something different from a walk. For Junior, it's important to smell (and pee) along the way, while Bear wants to lead the pack and set the pace. KD is more social and wants to greet other dogs and get pats from other walkers. I am in tuned to their preferences and realize each derives their own pleasure in their own way. People are like this too. Without judging if someone's preferences are right or wrong; accepting that people just are different helps group harmony.
#3 Be in the moment
My dogs don't realize how long they've walked. Each walk focuses me on enjoying the moment. I check out the neighborhood and experience the changing seasons much more than I ever have before. I notice new blooms on someone's tree, the smell of newly cut grass, the arrival of deer and chirping birds. My dogs have taught me to appreciate the beauty of each day. It's being in the moment that is so special.
#4 Appreciate the small stuff
Walking each day gives me pleasure. It also makes me pleased with myself that I have honored this commitment to both myself and my pack. Someone may say, it's just a dog walk but I derive so much pleasure knowing I'm making my dogs happy. They all get along much better too. They get excited as soon as I put my sneakers on.
#5 Take time to relax
When we return from a walk, my dogs are so content. They curl up in what I call "dog islands". They have shown me it's important to relax, put the day's problems and challenges behind me and take time for yourself to simply relax.
Have you learned anything from your pets that you'd like to share?