Celebrate the Small Stuff
There’s a lot going round at the moment about not sweating the small stuff – those everyday annoyances which can be far too easy to get fed up or annoyed with, or stress about despite the fact that they are just little issues and will be forgotten in a week. What I haven’t heard anyone talk about is the other side of the coin – celebrating the small stuff, and by that I don’t mean the same tiny worries that keep you up at night, but rather the little wins that we have day in and day out that we don’t take the time to appreciate or feel proud of.
I just had one such win myself, with Bruce. I was at the train station for his daily lesson on how to behave on public transport, and I was all ready to go. Bruce’s training lead was clipped on, I had my treat bag attached to my belt loop, and my travel card in hand. Unfortunately what I didn’t have was any money on my travel card, or money of any kind to top it up. So, change of plan. I shrugged it off, and decided that since Bruce had his training lead on and was in work mode, and I had a handful of treats on me, I’d work on his loose lead manners in busy places instead. Seeing as that was another one of my resolutions and one which I hadn’t done anything about yet, it made sense.
We were just around the corner from the high street and the timing was perfect – 4pm, so people are starting to leave work but it was early enough that pedestrians wouldn’t be pouring down the pavement en masse. So, off we went with dog lead, clicker and treats in hand. I praised and clicked him every time he walked with a loose lead, every time he looked at me, and every time he turned away from an enticing distraction and focussed on walking nicely. It wasn’t long before we came to a crowd at a bus stop, with no clear route through. We were going in, and we were going to have to weave around the people mulling about. Well, he was a champ. He trotted right next to my heel, staring at me the entire time, clearly loving life.
When we got to the other side of the crowd we stopped and I showered him with praise and treats, and I was very proud indeed. The people at the bus stop clearly thought I was insane for the little party I was throwing for Bruce in the middle of a crowded high street, but he loved it and he knew he’d done well.
Yes, it was just a small training win. To some people reading this, who have dogs that are totally chilled and well-behaved in busy areas, you might well be rolling your eyes. However, to Bruce and frankly, to me, it was an achievement despite the fact that it was a small one. No achievement should go unrecognised, no matter how insignificant it might seem. I’m not simply talking about dog training, but all aspects of life. Let me tell you, I walked home with as much spring in my step as Bruce did, and I feel great. So. here’s to celebrating the small stuff, and throwing spontaneous celebratory mini parties in the middle of busy high streets.