I was just getting ready to begin recording for this blog. On my recording days, Naylan knows to stay outside. It takes me at least three tries (sometimes more) to get going. He is incredibly mindful of what this experience is like for me.
Before I start, I always tell him I am beginning so that he knows not to come in the house. He said to me, “If I need the bathroom, I will come walking on my tip toes, okay?” I chuckled.
So, I hit the start button and began recording. Five words into it, there he is – on his tip toes – walking every so gently and softly, not to make a peep. He walks around and stands behind the camera that is facing me… and he hand gestures something.
I didn’t understand what he was saying so I stopped the recording so he could tell me. He said “Mum, [with such enthusiasm, excitement and joy] you HAVE to (strongly pronouncing the V) come outside and see this. There is a hawlk and a mommy bird, and the mommy bird dived at the hawk three times and hawk ate three lizards…” and on he went.
We walked out quietly, not to disturb the birds, and hoping they were still there. Sure enough, they were.
Developing awareness is about allowing all our senses to be activated at all times.
I think children teach this to us best.
A child is born with a deep sense of awareness. As their senses open and become alert, they become more and more aware of the world around them.
The first part of a child’s life, the child’s senses, are embraced by his/her parents and or caretakers. So much effort is made in the design and creation of mobile’s, sensory toys, and equipment – things the baby can sit in and press buttons to have lights and sounds turn on. Some even have motion to them, rocking the baby at different speeds.
Then, as infants turn into toddlers their life becomes smaller. Everything becomes a matter of don’t touch, don’t put it in your mouth, don’t pick it up, don’t don’t don’t.
At school age, things begin to get seriously bizarre in their world. Nature makes it such that they are “being” one way, yet everyone around them works tirelessly against this biological norm.
They begin to be looked upon as: fidgety, lacking focus, distracted, hyper, unmotivated, being delayed, having difficulty, challenged, and the list goes on.
Essentially, we’re fighting against the development of their senses. Instead of allowing them grace to be aware of what the hear, what they see, what else they can feel and touch while they are made to sit still to complete their worksheets… the focus is on completing the worksheets as if they are small robots with one-track minds.
I am always so drawn to how deeply connected a child can be, with Naylan as my guide and my teacher.
Today, he was helping our neighbor throw out their trash and amongst the sounds of the trash hitting the bottom of the trash can, he heard a squeak. This is a form of sensory enrichment in its most natural occurrence.
Naylan tells his story in today’s video.
It’s easy to live life in a vacuum. But that is not how we’re meant to experience our living experiences on this planet.
Captivity, restrictions, and limitations diminish the quality of experiences we can have. And we know how detrimental this is for dogs through our work in Canine Enrichment.
Make time for nature… she’s full of fun surprises.
So today, Naylan and I invite you to find a spot somewhere outside. Maybe you find a tree and sit leaning your back against its trunk.
Take your dog with you. Do nothing but just be with one another. Watch, hear, smell, feel, and maybe even pluck a blade of grass and gnaw on it. Do this for 15 minutes, uninterrupted by any person or your devices.
Take an inventory of all that you perceived.
Go back tomorrow and do it again. Same time, same place. Watch your inventory list grow.
I’d love hear from you!
Please leave me a comment below. How did today’s video serve you?
Teena Patel is a Certified Dog Trainer and Behavioral Counselor who works with pet owners and owners of doggy daycares to bring her philosophy of Enrichment to the canine population. After almost two decades of successful dog training under her belt, Teena has done away with the standard doggy daycare “warehousing” of animals in kennels and runs. In place of an industrial model, she focuses on what is right for the dogs as living beings, providing experiences that improve and enhance their behavioral health. Coupled with a program of careful training, the Doglando experience results in companion dogs who are better-behaved, better integrated into their families, and above all, much happier. True to her passion, Teena Patel gives dogs the freedom “to be dogs”.