learning between the lines

Hurry up and wait.

Milestones that allow us more, or allow us to believe there is more, and we seemingly and willingly give up precious days and precious moments to focus on, well yet another moment. But when you reach a certain age, like I have,  you learn to savor each day, each lesson, and sometimes each breath. And you realize that hurrying up to reach certain markers shouldn’t be the goal, it is the ‘each and every day’ getting to that point, or whatever point, that should be the goal.

We have been given a narrative about our own lives, our precious lives, by our parents, our relatives, or neighbors, and or friends. We learn from an early age what our life story is about through their eyes. It’s not always a bad thing, but it’s not always a good thing either. And we learn to hurry up and wait.

Finish up your school year so you can enjoy summer break.

Endure the long winter so you can plant your spring garden.

Finish college and get a great job.

Grow up.

And we learn to create this same narrative for our puppies and dogs. Hurry up and wait.

Hurry up with teething.

Hurry up with maturing.

Hurry up with learning.

Hurry up so we can compete.

Hurry, hurry, hurry.

And all the moments in between, the ‘learning between the lines’ moments, are the ones that really make us who we are, and give us the moments we need in order to learn more about us. Those are the moments that allow us to write our own stories, about our own lives. For us and our dogs.

When you step out with your puppy or dog, see them as another living being, not just a training partner. Each moment together, you learn, you share, you stumble a bit, but it is an exchange. What has been written, or expected, for you and your dog is not the important part, and you might not want to focus on that stuff. Its what you learn when you get your hands dirty, when you are nose to nose with your dog and exchanging breaths, when you feel a twinkling of understanding between the two of you. It’s all of those little learning moments, that aren’t obvious at all, that teach and connect us to our dog.

Not every day is the same. Not everything we did the day before will stick today. And sometimes we might feel like we are spinning our wheels and working on the same things all of the time with our dog. That is totally okay. Why not? What is the hurry, seriously, what is the hurry? Be honest about that. Rewrite you and your dogs story so it makes sense for the two of you.

It is your relationship together, your short time together that matters. Learn between the lines.

I was once told that Ocean had to listen, not be afraid, be obedient, be perfect, walk on a loose leash, and have no opinions. That was of course if I wanted a competition dog. Well I looked at my little white puppy and said, fuck it, we are writing our own story, and doing what is going to work for you and me.

Even if it means dancing in the rain and mud.


18 Comments Add yours

  1. Kathi Hamblet says:

    Every time, I WAIT and savor your words. In your freestyle training video, you changed my (training) life when you stressed having a thoughtful, thinking dog as a partner. Your words go through my head in every training session.
    I am an expat living in Central Mexico and the help with positive training is limited for sure. Just want you to know you have helped me a bunch getting ready for a little street skit about a rescue dog found in the garbage. We are just taking it as it comes 🙂 If you would like to see some practice go to kathi Hamblet you tube “Meche practicing skit”
    once again Muchas Gracias

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Kathi, thank you. Where in Mexico, I used to live there and have a couple of friends who are training there. Perhaps I could hook you all up. I am glad my little video has reached you and that it has helped in some way. Thank you again for the kind words, Nancy

      1. Kathi Hamblet says:

        Nancy, I live in San Miguel de Allende. I currently work with a Mexican trainer who worked with a super lady named Charlotte Peltz. Charlotte has now moved back to the states. I would love to be in touch with ANY others in this area that you know. Thanks so much! Kathi

      2. Nancy Tanner says:

        oh oh oh, I love it there! Lucky you. So Ana Laura Chavez in Queretaro. She is part of https://www.facebook.com/Deporcanis?pnref=lhc. If you have one good trainer in your area I would feel super lucky, if you have two or three you have more than most! All the best, Nancy

  2. Nikki Brown says:

    Wow, once again oh so deep, Nancy. I remember thinking something like this when Maui didn’t pass her canine citizenship test because she couldn’t stop being wiggly when we approached a person, or dog, and because she got a bit concerned when I was gone from the room that particular day. Now, mind you, I do understand the reason for these requirements, the test, and all that. But I also thought, you know what, I love that she gets wiggly and excited about seeing people. She loves everyone! This is who she is. And I decided that I didn’t want to try to change that for anything, and I was so done with being concerned with passing someone’s test for anything. I just want to enjoy them. This is another one of your gems I’m going to be sharing with others. And no, I don’t do tests anymore of any kind. Well, do eye tests count?

    1. lanny says:

      Beautifully written. We are the author of our own stories, not others. Our relationship with our dogs are special. Live in the moment & enjoy every moment that we have with them that would give us another beautiful stories to write, to remember ….

    2. Nancy Tanner says:

      Hi Nikki, I think it is important what you say. That we know who are dogs are, and what makes them who they are. All too often I hear well meaning people tell me how they ‘trained out xyz…’ so they could pass a test, or impress their in laws, or, etc. I always wonder if they truly understand what that means. Sometimes, even if we are going to take a test, or compete we need to learn how to work with our dogs, not against them, and let their personality be part of the bigger picture. Thanks Nikki, Nancy

    3. Kathi Hamblet says:

      Thanks Nancy, This looks greatI My trainer Tomas, has been so helpful (positive clicker trainer) but has only had limited training himself….would love to find someone to help us to the next level. Right now, I have just memorized your freestyle video that I bought from Tawzer. I think I have watched it 15-20 times Thanks again

  3. Maggie Landry says:

    The other day I was snowshoeing with my dogs. As I watched them, romping and burrowing in the snow, time felt like it had stopped. I was in the moment with them and I stopped thinking about getting home, and the things that I was rushing towards. I realized that what I loved most about them was that they were always in the moment making the most of life and not in a rush. Now I slow my mind down, and let them take the time they need to enjoy every moment we have out together. I love your style of training and wish I could take classes from you! It fits us more than any dog sport we have tried together. I am learning on my own and I study all your clips for clues on cues! Breaking all the moves down to small bits! Wish us luck!

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Maggie, this is beautiful. I think it is a profound moment when we realize that slowing down to enjoy the moments IS the best part. ❤ Nancy

  4. mtwaggin says:

    I just had that moment today as I cancelled reservations to do some training this summer after realizing I want to do the things I enjoy the most with my dogs – out hiking and seeing them be natural. Oh I’ll still go compete but honestly I lost the “goal” with that crap a long time ago. Our walk today was fabulous and fun and I just plain enjoyed the time watching them explore!

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      I love you Sherry. If others knew HOW MUCH you do train and compete, they would know this is a big deal to just have a free day, and enjoy the moments. Cheers to you my friend.

  5. Samaara says:

    Love it! I really get the older slower part! I love rewriting my life. After all cancer said I should be dead. Cancer was so wrong 🙂

    Ocean is magnificent!

    Samaara Robbins, CMT, CMLDT Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Therapist Serving Truckee & North Tahoe (970) 333-0433

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Samaara, so good to hear from you! You are a STRONG rewriter of life, and an inspiration. WIth love, Nancy

  6. dorannrule says:

    There are true words of wisdom here!

  7. Lisa Acevedo says:

    Absolutely wonderful post! I look forward to and enjoy your posts so much Lisa

  8. Eileen Hosking says:

    I love this, Nancy.  You are such a wise woman.Eileen

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