Quality Time

I thoroughly enjoy learning new things.  Challenging myself to think differently, enhance my education, use my brain in new ways.  Often immersion into a new project, learning new skills, is a primary means of combating perception of boredom and stress reduction for me.

This past month I have begun 2 new learning adventures.  One is I found an excellent online herding course through Kathy Kawalec’s Cognitive Dog Training program.  And the other is I came across a web training certification program by the American Institute for Goat Research for meat goat producers.  A long term dream is owning meat or dairy goats, and the material is very interesting so I’m working through the modules.

The Dancing Heart’s online herding program I am enjoying working through the exercises with Zora.  Learning more about herding in detail.  Seeing for the first time clearly how all of the various pieces can come together.  Building on skills we already have and developing new ones.  Learning how to more clearly communicate what I wish her to do in a herding context.  And being reminded of some basic relationship tenants that are always good to review.

One of which is, making daily time to spend 1 on 1 with each of my critters.  The ducks included.  Life has been incredibly busy, my health incredibly frustrating, over the past couple of months especially.  And quality time with the ducks was unfortunately set aside.  They are so low maintenance and they know the daily routine, that just sitting with them enjoying their company stopped.  As a result, I began to notice them becoming more flighty and fearful of me.  Which makes me sad.  I want them to feel safe, not unduly stressed, in their life with me.

Last week I set it as a goal to spend some quality time every day with the ducks.  Just them and me, 1 on 1.  While I didn’t get there every day, I did 3 days.  And have again set a goal of daily this week, as I can already see the positive benefits.  The ducks are once again more willing to approach me.  To eat yummy snacks from me.  Less stressed when I pick them up or handle them.  And seem overall more comfortable anytime they see me.

And I am remembering how much I enjoy just being with the Quack Quacks.  Feeding them.  Watching them.  Just sitting close by and breathing.  Being outside without having to focus on anyone one thing.  It’s nice.  And stress reducing in and of itself.

Gizmo looking at the camera, likely wishing I was offering her peas.


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