At time of writing I had been following the Natural Dog Training methods for some weeks, concentrating on encouraging the dogs to invest more of their energy into me. Things had been going well.
I had just finished working with Logan and we were walking back to the van. My mind was on working with one of the other dogs, before leaving for work. I wasn't thinking in the moment. Until I watched Logan jump over the fence into the next field and run off into the distance, in that familiar pattern of 'I'm off on one....'.
My heart sank. I just knew he wasn't coming back any time soon.
I checked in with how I felt. Kevin teaches that our dogs are mirroring our emotions. If Logan was mirroring my emotion what was going on, why had he bolted when I thought we were doing so well? I was surprised to notice that the biggest fear for me was not Logan getting shot. The biggest fear was getting in trouble with the authorities (the police) and how people would judge me if my dog did get shot. What was that about?
Logan was back that evening, 'all apologetic', or however you describe the emotion of a whining sycophantic dog as he jumps into your arms.
In the days that followed my 'fear of authority' came to my attention a few more times. I was encouraged by a friend to explore past-life regressions.
A first for me, it piqued my interest. Could I shift something by exploring ancestral history? I contacted Morag McMaster.
In the past-life regression I was taken back to a previous lifetime as a healer (witch). My husband was my son. Someone was being burnt at a stake. I shed tears during the session as I realised that the woman was me. 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'. It was a really interesting experience.
Progress and Learning
A few days later, when I was out with Jack and Archie, Jack bolted. I had got too complacent, leaving his long-line trailing while my mind was on other things.
As I raced after him I checked in with my feelings. I realised that my attitude to an escaping dog had shifted. I found myself much more sanguine, able to accept it as a lesson in life, whatever the outcome, and I wasn't overwhelmed by the fears I'd had the previous week with Logan.
Fortunately Jack returned home safe and well from his exploits and I was able to add some more lessons to my list:
- Pay attention! (and switch that 30ft long-line back to the 60ft one!)
- Always check in with 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"