Pondering the meaning of the word reactive, as it applies to working with my little brown dog, has really grown and expanded. I recognize that not only does this apply a lot when I work with Sunshine, it also enters into my dealings with members of the human species :-). It also makes me more aware of how an unexamined definition can trip me up. I may be giving more or less weight to something than is in my best interest. And, I may not be alone….
I have come a long way at not taking Sunshine’s reactions to me personally. However, there are still those days when I walk out with a halter rope, he turns away from me, and I can’t help but feel my heart sinks a little. It doesn’t happen every single time anymore but recognizing that I am a very sensitive… or perceptive… person, there are just some days when it does bother me. I know that this affects our working together and our relationship, and I am always looking for new tools to make it an easier dance.
So as I really think more and more about the word reactive and how it simply can mean a response to a stimulus, it helped me be aware of this fact that I still need to work on not taking things personally with Sunshine. I have been reminding myself of what I have learned, and the last few times that I have gone out to get him it has been better. Some days he has decided to come in with me, and some days not. And that’s okay. I am getting much better at being curious about his responses to the pressure that is put on him just by the presence of a person, and then with the halter and lead rope as well. This is teaching me a lot and helping me understand that even if this word doesn’t convey a lot of pondering for some people, they might have similar words in their lives that give them results they are not always looking for. I am hoping that all of us can get caught up in language a lot less and live from intent a lot more.