The Student Becoming the Teacher and Back Again

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

I find myself in both sides of this statement in my relationship with Jack.

As the student, learning about Jack’s needs and how to best meet them set me up in becoming the teacher he needed.

10 years ago, when we moved back stateside, I didn’t know it at the time, but being jobless and facing my husband’s next deployment, gave me the space in exploring a new side of myself.

Space was certainly not what I would say I had, in fact, I would say I was experiencing loss.

Grieving my dad’s death.

Grieving the lack of an employed position I cared about and felt passionate in pursuing.

Even starting my trauma healing journey which also led me into the grip of grief.

Simultaneously, I also recognized in myself, I desired to help Jack in addressing separation anxiety.

This is when I began my own transformation of moving from seeing this new chapter as a place of lack and loss into taking the time in front of me and using it for my own inner work and learning.

Jack happened to be my catalyst for change.

I chose to use this time in learning how I can be the teacher Jack needed.

Instead of seeing all the negative behavior, I made the choice in seeing everything he was doing well.

This was a light bulb moment for me.

I recognized my own power in choosing how I wanted to see the world and how I interpreted Jack’s behavior.

The time at home not working allowed me to create some time away from Jack without even going anywhere.

I was able to capture calmness on the regular and with time he was encouraged him to make the choice in spending time away from me.

He made the choice to no longer follow me around, no longer checking on me if I wasn’t in the same room with him for more than 5 minutes.

I started seeing how capturing him being settled around our home and settled his nerves.

I also had the space in spending more quality time with him.

By building a bond and establishing a secure attachment with him, he started trusting I wasn’t going to abandon him.

This last piece made the difference.

The bond we formed and maintained through exercise, positively recognizing him when he was relaxed and settled, playing games with him, enrichment car rides and play dates at a force free daycare shifted everything for us.

By the time my husband returned from deployment 9 months later, Jack was more comfortable being home without us, he was developing life skills when we saw the evil UPS truck LOL and we navigated around sticky situations which usually created unbearable tension for Jack.

Because of our bond, he’s achieved feats I never dreamed of like living in a hotel for 2 months during our recently PCS back stateside, he’s more comfortable greeting people on the street, experiencing dogs behind fences and seeing them across the road and even moving through a military gate and having our ID’s checked.

Jack as the student, Jack learned to trust me, because I taught him it was safe for him to do so.

Our bond transformed my life too.

We are full circle back at me becoming the student as Jack is teaching me what he needs as his age advances and his needs change.

This wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t make the choice 10 years ago to change how I felt about my circumstances.

Feeling the space between loss allowed me to see opportunity when I thought all doors were closed.

Are you willing to try something new and desire to transform your life?

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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