I’m going to be honest, we have no idea what we’re doing over here with this puppy. So we waived the white flag and had a puppy education class with a local “canine behavior solutions expert.” After watching us interact with our puppy over the course of several hours, one of her most salient pieces of advice to me was to “throttle back on your verbal communication.” In the throes of puppy training, I’ve talked and talked and talked to cute little Cassie, trying to teach her English. I imagine she will eventually catch on to my words, but in the meantime, there is a more universal language available and it entails more action than speech.
This morning, as I was hastening my sweet preschooler through her morning routine, I thought of this wisdom again. My little one had had a particularly tough morning after a bed-wetting incident necessitated a bath and the dreaded washing of her long blonde hair. As I combed through the inevitable tangles she cried out in pain. My usual response is to acknowledge her pain, explain to her why there are tangles, what might be done to prevent them and how I’m sorry for any fault I bear for them but we simply have to comb her hair. Because I’m practicing keeping my mouth closed a bit more, I simply gave her a hug. As she turned and nestled her little tear-stained face into my shoulder, I held her and most of the fight went out of her. I’m grateful for the reminder that actions carry a voice of their own.