We took the dog for a walk this past weekend. He loves walks. If a dog has favorite things, going on a walk would be right at the top of his list. That, along with treats and trash (and not getting dealt with for eating the trash).
Dogs like walks because it brings them back to their roots; who they are. Freedom. Exploration. Raw nature. Dogs love that. In fact, dogs love that so much, that their nature can take over and all domestic training, whoosh, goes out the door. It amazes and frustrates me at the same time, that when I call to our dog he can completely ignore me. That same dog who listens very well inside the house, suddenly becomes oblivious to my callings outside.
For this, i know of only one solution. I found my self having to get the dog's attention (I had to go to where he was). Once I had his attention, I could work with him. And so there I was, this poor animal being denied of his un-boundaried freedom, making him sit until I gave him the order to go. And when I said, "Go!", he went like a horse out onto the racetrack. When I called again, after several calls, he came. He sat. He went. I called. He came. Wash, rinse, repeat.
There's something about repetition that is useful in training.
I know my dog can listen, even in the great outdoors. He's done it before. But he had simply forgotten his training. He had forgotten to listen to my voice. Not a bad dog, just a very involved dog (it's in his nature, right?) He simply needed to be reminded.
As my wife watched this spectacle between master and canine, she asked what I was doing. My reply, "I'm teaching him to listen to my voice." Teaching him. Teaching him to listen to my voice. That's when the Father spoke to me and I knew that is what our Father does with us.
Oh, how we love the freedom of the "great outdoors". Yes, how we get focused and involved in what we want to do. True, how we can forget our connection to Him; lose the clarity of His voice in our lives (even though He may be "yelling" at the top of His lungs!) But He draws near, He works with us and in us. He brings us back, close to His heart.
Freedom is a gift from Him. Adventure is His heart's desire for us. Running, wind blowing past us, flying, being free! These are awesome things. But even more importantly is our connection to Him. Stay connected. Enjoy the freedom, but stay connected. It's truly the way to enjoy all that He has lavished on us.
(Photographs by H.G. Furcinitti)