Even though the weather was less than cooperative, I decided a would play in my gardens this weekend just because I’m sick of waiting. I also have little Sinbad the Keeshond visiting who is now three months old, so I had some help ‘landscaping’.
I was pulling weeds out of beds when he parked himself next to me to watched intently for several minutes, then suddenly, as if he decided that green things needed to be out of the garden, he began grabbing every green leafy plant he could find so he could remove it with a violent shake, spraying dirt and manure all over.
Now, most of those plants I wanted to remain IN the ground, but I had to admire the little guy. He first studied what I was doing. Then, all by himself, he determined what it was I wanted and started to help me. The fact that he didn’t have an understanding that some plants should stay and other should not was irrelevant. What he did demonstrate was the power of leading by example.
Many times while I was raising litters, mothers would demonstrate what was permissible and what was not to their puppies, but this was a little different. This was interplay between species. I was more or less a stranger with no true ties to Sinbad, he was in new surroundings and still he taught himself a ‘trade’ just by watching what I was doing. So, I began to wonder what else we teach unknowingly to our animals companions by them observing our behaviors.
We do know that guardians who are afraid of thunder or storms usually create that fear in their companions and same holds true with the front door event where the dog runs up to the door when there is a knock, causing unnecessary chaos. That particular event can be traced back to a person’s reaction to the door knock and the previous experience of the dog at the door. We preconceive the event to a certain extent by what we have in our mind at that time about how that particular event is going to go. Service dogs are trained to perform a function, but as they get to know what is required of them they begin to expand that job on their own. Most of these are attributed to energy passing between the two parties, but in the case of Sinbad, he studied what I was doing and repeated the process. Apparently what we do is as important as what we say.
We’ve all heard that. But it really makes one think about one’s actions and how they are perceived not only in the case of our animal companions, but also in the case of how we conduct ourselves in our own social network.
Do our actions help to better society or hinder? Something to think about…as I re-plant my garden.