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  • lessonsfromadog1

When Someone Bothers You, Shake It Off!

Have you ever watched two dogs playing freely with each other… jumping, wrestling and running to their hearts’ content?  It truly is a joyous thing to behold.  I love seeing dogs so in the moment, focusing on just that one companion and that single moment in time.  To the casual viewer, however, one may wonder…how do they know when enough is enough…or too much?  How do they know when one of them has gone too far and when one or both of them needs a break?  Surely they’re not telling each other.   Or are they?  Well, simply put, they are telling each other.  They say to each other, loud and clear, “Okay, let’s pause for a second, take a break and breathe…okay now we’re good and I’m ready to keep going!” 


How exactly do they say that though?  With… THE SHAKE


Next time you watch two dogs playing (as long as they are well balanced and mannered dogs), watch for THE SHAKE.  You may not see it coming but all of a sudden one dog will stop, the other dog will stop, and both will give a good shake.  I’m not saying they shake hands of course and they certainly aren’t shaking in fear.  No, I’m talking about the good old full body starts with the head and ends with the tail shake… just like they do after getting a bath to dry themselves off. 


You see, that mutual pause and shake is the universal sign in doggy language for… “We were playing, things got a bit too far, tiring or intense, and one or both of us needed a break.  So, we paused, shook it off, and now we’re fine again”. 


Think about that for a second.  All they have to do is stop for a moment, take a breath, let go of the tension (by initiating THE SHAKE) and they are fine again  Wouldn’t it be great if people could do that? 


So often when we as humans have conflicts with one other, the hard feelings can go on…and on…and on for lengthy periods of time.  Instead of the problem de-escalating over time, it gets worse and worse.  That mutual, respectful pause is not taken.  Instead of quickly accepting and dismissing what happened, negative feelings fester and grow.  Wouldn’t we all be a lot better off if we could be like dogs and just give that conflict THE SHAKE?


Perhaps the next time you find yourself in a conflict, treat it as your dog would.  Take a mutual pause with that other person, breathe for a moment, and then shake it off and move on.  You’ll probably find yourself a lot happier and care free, just like our dogs. 

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