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  • Writer's pictureLynzey Ruscitti

Mutt-ly Mindfulness

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

Trigger warning: I cuss in this post and I'm still unapologetic ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Here’s the thing: Dog training is often serious business.

There are safety protocols: Leave it, drop it, stop, stay, etc. Then, there’s general obedience*: sit, down, stand, speak, etc. There's Agility: Wait, weave, wait, tunnel, run, run, FASTER! There's Tricks: Bang! Boing! Sit Pretty! Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer.

We’re constantly micromanaging our dogs in a world that constantly micro-manages us. As dog owners, our success is measured by this [bullshit] standard of obedience. If you are a trainer, it can feel even worse (Imposter Syndrome on FULL force, anyone?). "You’re only a good dog owner/ trainer if your dog is a mindless automaton that obeys your every arbitrary whim."

However, here’s another thing: Dog training doesn’t always mean training.

Sometimes, dog training means tossing this unrealistic, unwritten expectation in the dumpster fire (where it belongs) and just living in the moment, with the dog in front of you. Sometimes, dog training is not training at all. Let your dog roll in that weird, stinky thing. Buy yourself that Pinkety-Drinkety from Starbs. Let your dog chase that squirrel. Let your hair down. Let your dog enjoy their environment. Let yourself enjoy your environment.

The best thing you can do for you and your dog is to let them be a dog and to let yourself be a human.

(Louder for everyone in the back!)

The best thing you can do for you and your dog is to let them be a dog and to let yourself be a human.

Dog training can be serious business, yes, AND you are a human- and your dog is a dog. That’s fucking beautiful. You are both enough as you are, with all your quirks and flaws. In a world that is constantly demanding from you, and from your dog, please, I beg you, take moments to just be. Take as many of those moments as you possibly can. You have to, because it's actually your birth right.

*I hate the term obedience. Even as a dog trainer. I will never teach Obedience. Basic Manners? No problem. Obedience? Sorry, I'm not your gal. Maybe it’s because I’m a feminist, or maybe it’s because obedience is inherently suppressive and rigid. Obedience by definition means submitting to someone else’s expectation. Fuck that, man- that’s not the vibe.

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