“Okay” I said to Jon, “but I can’t look.”
I trust Jon and I think it’s true when he says that Gus should be off the leash in the barnyard and pasture. That he needs to figure out how to navigate that part of his world.
But as he wrote on his blog yesterday, I have a hard time with it.
I get nervous seeing him around the big animals. The last thing I want is for him to sense that nervousness in me. And he will if I’m constantly picking him up or bending down to try and “protect” him.
This is just something I’m not good at. But Jon is, so I’ve handed it over to him.
This is where trust comes in. If I didn’t trust Jon, this could be an issue between us. But I believe he’s right about it. Jon’s good at knowing the difference between when Gus is really in danger or not.
And Gus needs to learn that too.
In many ways, Jon’s better at reading animals than I am. In situations like this, my fear and protective instincts take over, often blinding me from what’s really going on.
There’s a difference between Fanny putting her head down to smell Gus and putting her head down to chase him out of the pasture. When I’m nervous, I’m not always good at distinguishing between the two.
In a way it’s like teaching your kid how to drive, some people are good at it and some people aren’t. So you want the parent who doesn’t rattle easily doing it.
Today I could see that Gus was figuring it out and the other animals are getting used to him.
I watched the donkeys treat Gus like any of the other animals. They basically showed little interest. Which is a good thing. And I saw how Gus hugs the barn wall or stays close to me or Jon. How he keeps away from the sheep and won’t go in the pole barn.
These are all signs that he’s learning to do just what Jon says he needs to do.
Sometimes, training a dog, is about stepping back and getting out of the way.