Before the pandemic, I took our dog (Flash) for a walk around the lake near our house a few days per week. Not long into the lock downs, the walks turned into five mornings a week. The habit has stuck and has provided more physical and mental benefits than I can count on two hands.
Enough about me though. I’m sure, if Flash could talk, he would outline similar benefits. Since we started this (almost) daily routine, I took the opportunity to use it as training time. Flash has learned (not mastered) a good number of commands and made a few friends along the way.
This morning, on our walk, I decided a new habit for myself must take shape. As of today, I will strive to create a daily update to this little corner of the internet. I’m sure some updates will be a photo or a link (i.e. lazy days). Nonetheless, I will do my best to share thoughts, discoveries, creations, sights or a little pontification.
So, in light of my new goal here is today’s post about a small win with Flash.
Our three mile walk is, for the most part, on a crushed gravel path around a lake. The first bit is all downhill to the lake then flat. The last 1/3 of the walk is uphill through the neighborhood streets. There is one especially steep stretch that ends with a dog that seems to always be outside its house on a tie out.
On the side of the road, fifty meters before we reach the barking dog house, is a water runoff drain with an image of a fish. Stamped into the metal drain is also a reminder that the runoff flows to the Chesapeake Bay. When we hit this hill, Flash used to start taking the lead and pulling in anticipation of the dog at the top of the hill. To shift Flash’s gears and mindset I started stopping at the drain with the fish and say, “here’s the fish and give him a treat.”
After a year stopping at the fish drain, when we reach the hill I ask, “where’s the fish.” The result is him looking at the side of the road for the drain and stopping at the fish. No more pulling up the hill and a new target that is not the barking dog. Sometimes it’s the small wins that we might not see until one day we see the difference.