“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
This morning I had the grand illusion of taking Eloise to someone else’s yoga class for the first time. The illusion part comes in where I thought it would be a seamless endeavor. 😉
I suppose I didn’t really consider that while she’s gotten better behaved at yoga classes I’ve taught, that while she was with me when I wasn’t teaching, things might be drastically different. Because I was in the receiver mode – not vocal, teaching mode – I had to whisper my commands to her as I tried to respect other peoples’ space. I simply didn’t feel comfortable administering the commands the way I normally do.
Thankfully, this was a veterans’ yoga class, and the teacher is my friend, so she understood, but I still felt terrible when as soon as Eloise finished eating all the peanut butter out of her Kong, she simply wouldn’t sit still.
I tried all the basics I knew she knew:
“leave it” to refocus her
Butt down. Feet up. On the move. Sit. Up. Lie down. Up. And so on.
You get the idea.
And what the training has taught me is to stop forcing things. I almost forgot! Like, I almost just wanted to stay there, in the front of the room, ordering her back to her bed a thousand times. Then – voila! – the light came on and I remembered what my trainers, Lyndon and Malachai, taught me – change the environment. She does know how to do those things – sit, stand, stay, etc – but she’d become so overwhelmed and distracted she couldn’t do ANYTHING at that point. It really would be an unreasonable expectation to think she could really obey any commands at that point.
The training has also retaught me that mistakes are part of the larger success. You don’t have to get all wrapped around the axel about it!
So, up we went. I simply walked her out of the yoga room after a few minutes of struggle. Beyond those walls was actually a lovely little training space. (Well, a space I made into a training area, anyway 😉 ).
For the next 40 minutes or so Eloise and I utilized the time we did have to together. First I took the vest off her, let her run around a bit to get the jitters out, then the vest came back on, and we focused on her training. She did great! And by the time the class finished and everyone came outside, Eloise was laid out on her side, chilled out, and ready for puppy pets.
Everyone was so kind and understanding about it, so I didn’t need to be embarrassed or apologize like I did. It sure means a lot to have a community like this to practice with, the yoga stuff and the dog stuff 😉 …to have a place to practice that is safe and forgiving.
*NERD NOTES: For those of you interested in the empirical evidence between perceived fault in mistakes/failures and impact on moods and mental health, I’m always intrigued by this old (1988) but still relevant research article, Illusion and Well-Being: A Social Psychological Perspective on Mental Health by Taylor and Brown. “considerable research evidence suggests that overly positive self- evaluations, exaggerated perceptions of control or mastery, and unrealistic optimism are characteristic of normal human thought. Moreover, these illusions appear to promote other criteria of mental health, including the ability to care about others, the ability to be happy or contented, and the ability to engage in productive and creative work. These positive illusions may be especially useful when an individual receives negative feedback or is otherwise threatened and may be especially adaptive under these circumstances.”
*Both photos taken by my friend, Julia Brown Meyer, on our hike on Stanley Mountain, CO June 2016. This hike included a few “fails” along the way (encountering waist deep snow), but was well worth the struggle to get to the top.
Feeling on top of the world here.