As part of my exercise re-program, I’ve dedicated myself to give time to the dogs each day. I’m a fan of The Dog Whisperer, and so I give the dogs a job. That job is . . . to walk me . . . every day.
Now, this isn’t the leisurely stroll. It’s the heart-pumping brisk walk. Although they love to stop and sniff, we limit that to the beginning and the mid-point pause in the walk. My calves may be screaming, but we don’t stop. Our goal is to move forward and be in charge, I say.
We’ve gotten good at this dog-walk thing. We work together. We’ve developed routes – long and short. We have strategies – places to potty, how to avoid walkers and bicyclists, times to stop and sniff, when necessary.
There are rules:
- I’m in charge, not the dogs. They walk beside me all the time – not way out in front.
- They must go the route I choose – not one they would like to travel. They have to keep noses up and focused on where we are going – no looking back toward the past for too long.
We have success and failure:
- At times, the distractions of the environment are too much for them or me. An overly excited dog or wayward bird or rabbit can cause us to make adjustments. But, whatever we do, we see the walk through to the end, as a team.
Sometimes, we get stopped cold in our tracks, and develop creative strategies:
- One afternoon, it was to watch three deer. (Keep in mind we live in suburban Houston!) We paused just for a few minutes to marvel at God’s creation.
- One morning, a runner with a phobia of dogs, stopped and started screaming, “Control your dogs! Control your dogs!” Being right beside me, they were under total control but this moment, of course, made everyone tense. We had to calmly develop a way for both her and us to enjoy the walking route.
Many things about my dog walk have to do with leadership –
- staying focused,
- rules that work,
- looking forward,
- developing creative strategies,
- seeing things through, as a team, to the end.
Take your dog on a walk . . . go . . . now. And, be the leader your dog thinks you are.
- Postscript – This morning, upon our return from the morning walk, my dogs alerted me to a snake on my front driveway/porch. My cat, who loves to do this, took care of the offending creature. I should add that your followers can help keep the leadership safe in unexpected ways.