I have been following the Natural Dog Training methods for some weeks now. Mostly pushing for food, to encourage the dogs to invest their energy in me. Things have been
going well and I have been enthusing about the process. Then last week we had, what appeared at first, to be a set-back.
After pushing for food with Logan, the trail hound, in the field we were walking back to the van, getting ready to work the other two. I was working to a time-scale, needing
to get to work. I probably had taken my mind off Logan.... as I watched him jump over the fence and get into the old familiar pattern of 'I'm off on one....'.
I called out his name, but my heart sank – I could tell from the body language and the speed that he wasn't coming back any time soon. I went back to get the other two dogs,hoping that Logan would be back shortly. It didn't happen.
I started to be aware of my emotions and feelings. If Logan was mirroring my emotion what was going on,why had he bolted when I thought we were doing so well? Maybe I would learn something. I was surprised to find that the biggest fear for me was
not, as might be expected from previous experiences, Logan getting shot. The biggest fear was getting in trouble with the authorities (the police) and what people would think of me as a dog owner if my dog got shot – irresponsible, uncaring....That was a surprise I have got quite philosophical about death over the years, but I was surprised by these other fears emerging.
A very good friend often says if she has a feeling about something that needs to be attended to she looks for confirmation from 3 independent sources. That was the first one. Within the next 24 hours, I was aware that I had experienced this strong feeling of getting in trouble with authorities for following my beliefs two times more. Confirmation that I needed to pay attention to what was going on.
Logan was back that evening, 'all apologetic' – or however you describe the emotion of a whining sycophantic dog as he jumps into your arms. (Logan is the one of my dogs who is still trying to get comfortable giving me all his energy – confirmed, I guess, by him tear-arsing across the country-side away from me at 20 mph!)
My approach to dealing with the emotion that came up for me was seek out help from a lady who did past-life regressions.......
Ok, hang in there..... Whatever you might think about past-life regressions, and I have to admit it was a first for me, the main theme is that it is to do with healing and, in my case, releasing stuck emotion. All useful stuff if I want to develop my relationship with my dogs, and that relationship is around feelings. As luck would have it, Morag McMaster,
who I went to see, had a slot the following day – isn't it great how these things work out!
The past-life regression took me to a previous lifetime as a healer (witch) where I was burnt to death for my work. Emotions came up for me during the session. Under
hypnosis, Morag asked me to describe the lessons that I had learnt in that life. What came up for me was 'to keep quiet', 'not tell anyone how to get better'. The messages that I was to bring to this life were 'to be strong', 'to follow my heart' and 'to keep going, even when it got difficult'. The experience was very interesting and opened me up to further complimentary ways of healing which I had never explored before.
4 days later, as I was taking Jack and Archie out to work in the field, Jack 'bolted'. I had got too complacent, leaving his long-line trailing as I closed the door. All that progress I had been making in the less charged environment down in the field, was not strong enough at the edge of a forest teeming with young roe deer.
As I raced up the drive to see if I could see him I checked in with my feelings. I found my attitude to the whole event was entirely different. From the moment I realised
what had happened I found myself able to accept it as a lesson in life, whatever the outcome, and did not get overwhelmed by the fears I'd had the previous week when losing Logan.
Another happy ending, Jack returned home safe and well from his exploits.
And the lessons I got from the event....
- Don't get too cocky, you're not there yet (and switch that 30ft long-line back to the 60ft one!)
- Always be aware of your feelings and emotions, because in there is the real learning.
- There's a really good reason why people choose labradors over hounds!
And another quote from Kevin's book, Your Dog is Your Mirror:
"Dogs are here to teach us that wild heart's can't be tamed, but they can be broken"