Both of our dogs can be stubborn in their own ways.
Even when afraid, Heathcliff tends to obey our commands and loves to go for walks. But sometimes when he sees other dogs, he growls, fusses, whines, pulls on his leash and breaks training in his excitement. Off leash at Vanaprastha, if distracted by an interesting scent or critter in the woods, he wanders and stubbornly ignores our calls until he’s quite ready to come home.
Unlike Heathcliff, Freya comes when she’s called but sometimes willfully goes on a sit-down strike if she doesn’t want to walk. When she and Heathcliff return from their mountain runs, she’s often muddied, smelly and in need of a shower but lies down and will not be moved. Upon further insistence, we discovered the reason for her stubbornness: she cowered and piddled in fear.
Keith and I now routinely carry little treats on walks and, time and weather permitting, let the dogs off leash to roam the mountain only before mealtime. We want them to enjoy their adventures, get plenty of exercise and associate coming home with welcoming experiences. We’re feeding the dogs in the basement shower to give that space more appeal – baths are one of Heathcliff’s fear factors, too. But even doggie treats were not enough to get Freya obediently into the shower until…
Pork chops. When Keith bit off a piece of grilled meat and offered it to Freya, she wolfed it down and immediately climbed into the shower with Heathcliff eagerly waiting his turn.
Thinking about our dogs, I wondered about stubbornness in people, distraction, willfulness, fear and the incentives that help me overcome. Do I trust God when I’m afraid? Do I obey God or willfully want the world go my way? Can I focus and hear God’s voice if I lose my cool and pursue distractions? Am I stubborn? What is my pork chop?
What is yours?
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