The more I look at it, the more the shift in our life hasn't been so much into simplicity (though this has occurred) it is in changing the perspective of how live to appreciate the small things we do every day. What used to be the mundane, annoying little things we had to fit into every day have now become events. We celebrate the activities by doing them together and making something positive occur from them. It is through these "events" that we can appreciate the small, normal things that make our life. We had normally read before bed time, but make an event out of choosing a classical chapter book and creating a story. It constantly rains here, but we made an event out of it by harvesting the rain and really quantifying the water to be useful. Everyone has to go to the grocery store, but we created an event out of it by limiting the trips to once a month, choosing to really create our food every day from scratch, watching it dwindle and then refilling it as a family. Mornings were just dragging ourselves out of bed, till Jules and I decided to make an event out of them by creating personal time for ourselves. Everyone walks their dog (hopefully), but it has finally come time to make an event out of that as well by creating "The Walk."
Our beloved Guadalupe is newly 6 months old and with that has come quite a bit of territorial behavior. She adores her family (even Bell Bell) but being a shelter rescue if anyone else moves too fast she gets very scared and sometimes snippy. That has always been true. However, if a total stranger comes up to her on the street when we aren't right there she will down right freak out at them. This is completely new behavior. She has always been territorial around the house, but frankly, I kinda liked that with Spicy Barracuda and I being home alone during the day. It makes me feel very safe to know that when I am walking my dog with my child, or at home alone, I have something there which will protect me. However, getting angry at strangers who just find her cute isn't going to work.
So I began to read up on Rottweilers and found out that this is really, really normal. It isn't an obedience issue. She comes when called, even if she doesn't want to. She doesn't jump up at people and quiets her barking when told to. She sits, fetches, and heels very well. She adapts to new rules incredibly fast and has never been even slightly aggressive to anyone in the family regardless of how the Barracuda wrestles with her. She just doesn't like anyone else to mess with her at all.
All the books have said the same basic thing: Rottweilers need activity in large amounts or they become temperamentally aggressive. So The Walk has been instituted. Every morning the Spicy Barracuda mounts his noble stead (a rockin' little bicycle) and we go for a very brisk 1 hour walk around the neighborhood. The last 10 blocks or so we race so that the Barracuda has to ride as fast as he can, I jog, and Guadie full on runs. We arrive back to the house panting and significantly more mellowed out for the day.
The exercise has done wonders! The winter nicely gave me a present of about 10 pounds to shed and this exercise has been very helpful. The difference in both Guadie and the Barracuda is equally amazing. When we missed The Walk only one day due to some broken plumbing and spewing water taking precedence, they both were hyped up beyond belief. It was one frustrating bouncy day around our house! Apparently this really gets the ya-ya's out of both of them and is great for me.
By leaving the house at 9 o'clock (no exceptions) we arrive home at 10:00 and don't have time to lazily begin our day. It is hard to let time get away from you when your wake up call is power walking! When we come home we have breakfast, brush our teeth, and begin with school for the day. The structure of having a specific starting point has made a wonderful flow. It provides the Spicy Barracuda with a specific, definable moment when things are going to start during our day. He knows what to expect and when things will be happening. Before this, time was the major designator and he is still too young to be able to really wrap his brain around what all that means. When we get home from The Walk he is ready to go. Who knew setting aside one hour in the morning could alleviate so many problems for the rest of the day!