Big news here at world headquarters of Coaching Concepts: we just got a puppy. No, this is not an April Fool’s joke (as those of you who know how allergic I am to animals will surely think). After discussing the pros and cons of a dog for a long time, Jim and I bought a tiny hypoallergenic Cockapoo – half miniature Poodle and half Cocker Spaniel. His name is “Harley” which delights Jim, as he can now say to folks “I have a blue Harley, and Sharon has a black Harley.”
We have only had Harley for a week, but he has already captured our hearts, minds, and wallets. I have dutifully puppy-proofed the house, Jim built a playpen for him in the basement, and if you recently noticed a spike in PetSmart stock values, you can thank us. My neat, tidy home is now littered with squeaky stuffed animals, tasty chew toys, and cozy dog beds. Milk Bones are in every pocket (handy treats are essential for training puppies). The dark circles under my eyes are from the 2 a.m. trips outside with Harley for potty training. Fortunately for my rugs and my sleep schedule, he is a fast learner.
Harley isn’t the only one who is on a learning curve around here. I have read books and articles on puppy psychology. Consistency and patience are key ingredients to success, they claim. We are realizing the importance of setting clear boundaries (no nipping! is a tough rule to enforce with a teething puppy) and communicating in ways Harley can understand. Dogs are not a verbal species (at least not in English), so body language and gestures carry more meaning. Like many humans, Harley is more attuned to tone than content. He is helping me to be more aware of how I say things, not just what I say.
Fortunately, life is not all about learning. Playtime with a puppy is one of the most relaxing activities on earth. His energetic antics make me laugh out loud, and the sight of a little black ball of fur hurtling around the yard, ears flapping wildly, is hilarious. We also have lots of quiet time for just hanging out and giving him love, affection, and tummy rubs. I’m already learning a lot from this little four-pound tyke. He is helping me stay in the moment, play more, and enjoy the small joys in life.
I hope that this month brings you delight in new ways, just as Harley is bringing to me. Take the time not only for the learning, but also for the loving. Happy spring!
Sharon Keys Seal