With the lessons of this week firmly under my belt I set off on my dog walk today. Yesterday Brando and I had the best dog walk of all time! Despite Marines in ghillie suits, other dogs and horses he behaved beautifully off the lead the entire walk. Today, in contrast, he kept coming forward. Each time I corrected him he went behind me straight away but very soon afterward he would come alongside and then come in front of me again.
Thanks to Pip’s teaching I now realise that most of the time when things are not going to plan we are actually the culprit rather than our horse or our dog so I asked myself "how am I causing this?" The answer was very simple. I realised I was walking along with my shoulders slumped and my head down. I was having a low energy day and this was being transmitted into my body language subconsciously. As soon as I squared my shoulders and looked ahead he stayed behind me perfectly for the rest of our walk.
Knowing now that I will always question myself first is very comforting. I dread to think how many times in the past I have scolded my dog or horses for doing what I am inadvertently telling them to do! I’m so glad to have this new found knowledge and I am sure it will stand me in good stead for the rest of my life.
The difference in my relationship with Brando is so marked. I find it hard to believe how much things have changed between us in just a couple of weeks! No longer do I need a halti or to worry when I see horses, cows, dogs, or people on our walks. I’ve had compliments on his behaviour for staying behind me and have given Pip’s details to people who were interested on how I had achieved such good behaviour from my dog.
Most importantly to me, Brando seems much happier in himself and that is the greatest reward of all.