Kaida, our new dog, taught me a lot about focus in our first week together. Like all of our past dog companions, she is a rescue. In her case, it was from the illegal dog meat trade in South East Asia.
First, a little background. When we adopted her, we knew there would be rewards and challenges along the way.
Kaida had never been in a house and we didn’t know if we needed to house train her. There was something about her that let us know we would be a great fit.
She’s a Ken-Kai/Shiba Inu mix. Thirty-four pounds of pure muscle with the eyes of a Sighthound and the nose of a blood-hound. She’s very fearful of men and people she doesn’t know, but she’s getting better.
Since I work from home, I’m able to spend the most time with her. We started a daily routine of walking to a nearby park and spending at least 45 minutes exploring. We give her a longer after-dinner walk in the evening. One night, during her first week with us, we needed to give her a shorter walk because of an appointment.
After our walk the next morning, we sat outside while I drank a cup of coffee and she cooled down and mellowed out from her walk. Only this time, she didn’t mellow out. Kaida turned into the Tasmanian Devil. She ran circles around me and the yard at warp speed.
She picked up a “critters” scent in the yard and the digging began. The kind of digging where dirt flies everywhere. Seconds later, her head was deep in the hole. She didn’t respond, her eyes were wild, she was in a frenetic energy state of mind. I’d been down this road before. Part of it was her anxiety, and the rest was excess energy she needed to burn off. This is Kaida in action…
After the digging stopped, I called her over and helped her calm down. Distracting her at this stage is impossible and creates more chaos. The short walk the night before along with being in an unfamiliar place triggered “Frap” – Frenetic Random Activity Periods. Some people also call them the “Zoomies”. Most dogs have them less often as they get older, but an irregular schedule that doesn’t meet their physical or mental needs will create behavior issues.
That morning stuck with me, because we humans, get the “zoomies” too. The proper amount of exercise is a great natural anxiety and stress reliever.
Do you ever have those days when you’re feeling cranky AF and your focus is non-existent? Yeah, me too.
When Kaida came into our lives, she changed my daily routine – in a good way. Her need for exercise is high. Rain or shine we’re outside on the go before breakfast.
By the time I get home, I’ve had my first win – a dose of exercise-induced dopamine and Vitamin D. I go into the rest of my day feeling focused and energized. I’m able to prioritize my day better since I have more energy to check things off my list. Even though I also practice Yoga and take Tai chi that morning burst of energy fuels me the most.
That moment when I saw Kaida digging like a maniac and getting nowhere, reminded me of the days I’ve had when I’m not pushing myself physically. It was an eye-opener and my routine is now an engrained habit.
What can you add to your routine to crank your life up a notch?