Did your parents ever teach you patience? In my day, it was something that you were expected to learn from a young age ; “Be patient” “You’ll have to wait” “Not now” “Patience is a virtue, you know!”
And now, many of us probably have the same expectations of our dogs. We may expect them to patiently wait for us until we get home from work, while we make dinner, while we do our chores. And, just as we’re about to take them for a walk or prepare their dinner, we ask them to wait again while we “just send a quick email” or pick up our phone to check social media.
In fact, much of a dog's day is spent patiently waiting for us. And it is something they excel at in the main. So, when do we return the favour? How often do we catch ourselves hurrying the dog along? “This way” “Quick-quick” “Let's go”. We may expect our dogs to do everything at our speed, rather than allowing them the time that they need…. time to sniff a really interesting piece of pee-mail; time to acclimatise to getting into the car; time to get their lead or harness on etc.
Patience is most certainly a gift we can bestow on our dogs. Allowing valuable processing time will better enable them to learn; to make good choices; to find the right frame of mind to deal with a particular situation.
Just patiently allowing your dog to sniff the air and survey the scenery when you arrive at a walking spot can make all the difference to his whole mindset for the rest of your time there. Give him time to acclimatise to the environment as he processes the information he is receiving until he feels comfortable or calm enough to exit the car. For some dogs, being patient can extend to minutes, rather than seconds, but they are valuable minutes invested in enabling your dog to learn without pressure and to feel that he has choices.
And, of course, there is a positive benefit to us too! Being patient can help us to slow down, breathe and be calm. A win for all! Author: Lynne Hockney