"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"-Neale Donald Walsch
Updated: May 30, 2019
This quote is meaningful and inspirational when applicable but one must be careful upon whom it should be applied. #emotionalintelligence Winnie’s best friend and packmate, Riley has a very small comfort zone, 1 degree to the left or the right and Riley is a unhappy. She has been this way since we got her as a 7 month old rescue puppy. Riley can go on drives to the park, she can wait in the car while we run errands, she can even handle over night trips without getting too anxious or stress shedding til she’s bald.
Riley likes to go to the beach or hiking but she doesn’t mind staying home alone either and gravitates to a place in the house farthest away from windows and doors where the Boogey Man could easily get her and hunkers down till we return. Riley is about keeping a low profile, Riley’s perfect world is one in which she doesn’t leave the safety of our home and backyard and nobody else leaves either.
We work within her limitations and support her during times we have to push her outside her narrow comfort zone.
Winnie has a much broader zone. She likes to go for rides, is comfortable staying in hotels and exploring is her natural state of being. Tho Winnie is much braver than Riley by far, she too has limits. There is nothing specific that spooks her consistently, she can be rattled when multiple things conspire against her. But she is much better than Riley at managing it. Fear is not Winnie's go to emotion and fleeing is not her overriding action.
As many dogs as there are, that is how many variations on this subject one could probably find among the canines with anxiety issues. It is not hard to see where each dog lands naturally within their individual comfort zone.
Dogs are not good at pretending, they don’t bury their emotions. It’s been my experience that it is best to let each dog tell what works for him or her. It's up to us to fully “listen” and understand each dog and respect their comfort zone. If it’s a dog like Winnie, I can offer encouragement and support. If it’s a dog like Riley, I will recognize the cues and not ask for more than she can give. That being said, I wish only to make the dog happy wether it’s expanding there comfort zone or protecting it, either way it’ll bring out their best.
“Don’t ask more from a dog than a dog can give, and you will get more from that dog than you ever expected” DeeDee and Bill Anderson of Dream Big Training Center