5 Things I Learned from my Pup about Trying New Things

by Jennifer Haynie @JenniferHaynie1

This weekend, we had a first in our family. We took our two Basenji dogs to the beach. There’s something you need to know about Basenjis. Unlike many breeds, they hate water. They’ll even go at great lengths to avoid rain, water from the hose, swimming pools, and especially the ocean.

Except for Bonnie.

Our girl loves water. Each spring when I hose off the pollen from the screened-in porch, she’s right there, chasing the water, and will wind up sopping wet. Her eyes sparkle. Her tongue hangs out. She’s a happy girl.

When we arrived at Emerald Isle Saturday afternoon, we got the pups out. Their noses quivered. They whined. They knew they were out of their normal territory. We walked them down the boardwalk to the strand, then onto the sand.

Within minutes, we were down by the water’s edge. Clyde? He wanted nothing to do with the water and skittered away rather than get his feet wet.

Bonne was different. As the water came up onto the sand, at first, she acted like Clyde and darted away. Then her feet got wet. She started trying to grab the water with her mouth. She found small things like shells to sniff. If we’d had length on the leash, she would have bolted right into the water and maybe even tried to swim in the waves.

She taught me a lesson about learning new things.

Be willing to try new things. Unlike Clyde, who quickly decided the ocean wasn’t for him, Bonnie was willing to give it a shot. Once she literally got into the water, she found she enjoyed it.

It’s okay to be intimidated at first. Bonnie had this new experience, and she rushed away. Aren’t we like that sometimes?

Start by observing. Basenjis are cautious dogs. It’s probably one of the reasons why the breed has survived intact for 10,000 years. They’re very cautious in what they do. When Bonnie faced the ocean, she didn’t jump right in. She took in everything first to decide if it was even something she wanted to do.

Take one bit at a time. Bonnie took her time in getting used to the ocean. After observing, she tiptoed into the edge of the water, then a little more and a little more until, if we’d let her, she might have tried swimming.

Find enjoyment. Once Bonnie got used to the water, the only thing holding her back was the length of the leash since we didn’t want to get wet. She wanted to explore more and more.

I think we can truly learn something from Bonnie. We can learn that it’s okay to be intimidated by something new so long as we can push past it. We can take our time and observe others before trying things out bit by bit. We may find that we enjoy learning a new skill or adding to our knowledge, and we can plunge head first into learning more.

As we wrapped up our time at the beach, I chalked our day up to a success. We’d gotten out of town. We introduced the dogs to something new and discovered they make good traveling companions. And Bonnie found something new—the ocean.

It’s okay to be intimidated by something new as long as we can push past it. #Authenticity #Encouragement Click To Tweet

We’ll be going back in two weeks for an overnighter. And when we do?

I’m going to bring a longer lead for Bonnie.

Question: What new thing did you try that at first intimidated you yet you wound up enjoying?

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