Hi furriends, the other day, a stranger walking by asked my mom if he could pet me. Since we were busy running errands, mom responded politely “Thanks for asking but not at this time”. At that moment this person replied “Oh, I get it, your dog is not friendly”. In the past, this response used to really trigger and upset my mom, but she’d typically remain quiet and keep walking with her head down. However, this time she looked back at this person and calmly responded: “She is friendly, but we need our own time to socialize and this is not the right place nor the right time”.
We continued our walk and she felt really good for standing up for me but most importantly for herself. It has taken some time for Mom to realize that I might not be the most social pup in the pack. In fact, I need some extra time and space in order to feel comfortable around others. Just like hoomans, dogs have their own personalities. And believe it or not, the more time we spend with our pawrents, the more we adapt to them, aligning with their energy quality as well as their individual personalities and manners.
In my Mom’s case, she had to realize that if she wanted me to be more social and calm around others, she had to behave the same way. It was not fair of her to ask me to be someone she wasn’t willing to be herself.
Given that Mom has struggled with anxiety since childhood, overcrowded spaces and the proximity of strangers used to make her extremely uncomfortable. Nevertheless, in order to fit in, she’d put herself in those uncomfortable situations, which only aggravated her own peace of mind.
Hooman society can be overwhelming sometimes, forcing you to be someone you are not. For us in the dog world, we don’t pay attention to our superficial differences. We just approach our fellow dogs based on their energy level. For us dogs, size, age, shape and color don’t matter. In my case I gravitate towards other calmer dogs, because they give me the time and boundaries I need in order to feel comfortable. Which is precisely the type of environment in which Mom feels at her best... coincidence? I don’t think so! :-)
Observing me has helped Mom realize that she shouldn’t feel forced to socialize just for the sake of doing it. Her path toward self-love and self-acceptance has been a long one, but luckily she had me to help her see herself along the way. Because, we furkids, have the power to be the little “mirror”, our pawrents need in order to observe themselves and realize when a tune up is needed.
Understanding this concept can be very powerful in enhancing the connection with your pawrent. Sometimes, when we bark or growl, their immediate response is to believe that there’s something wrong with us. But if we are just acting as their “mirror”, then our barking or growling becomes a shadow of a thought that is upsetting them, and in many ways holding them back from true peace of mind.
If your pawrents are applying proper dog training techniques and taking you out on daily walks to exercise and socialize, but you are still growling and barking, then it’s time for them to look at the little mirror inside you to see what needs to change.
I believe that it just takes a little bit of self-awareness and acceptance. But once that big step is taken, your pawrents will be ready to take the next puppy steps that will guide them to a more fulfilling and rewarding path with you by their side.
As we start a New Year, filled with new energy, new hopes and new adventures, I want to take this moment to thank you for your continuous support. Mom and I are grateful for having all of you on our paw journey and we send you lots of love and cheerful energy.
Remember to write down your new intentions and make 2018 the best year ever.
Happy New Year Furriends!!!
Love & Paws,