MOMSnext eNewsletter - June 2011
I walk our active 1-year-old puppy nearly every day. We rarely take the same trail twice in a row. But as we pass by certain yards with barking dogs behind the tall picket fences, my dog’s brownish-orange hairs stand straight up like two rows of toy soldiers marching down her back. She stops and stands at attention.
Mind you she's never seen some of the mystery animals behind the fences. And not every barking dog upsets her. Many times the dogs aren't even outside as we're walking down the trail. But her instinct tells her that she needs to beware — even if there's no dog there — because she remembers hearing a noise there previously.
I chuckle as I watch her hackles stand straight up and her conditioned over-reactions. I tell her to relax and to keep walking. Then I think about how easily my hackles can go up when I perceive my husband, or my mom or my friend is saying something that sounds like a criticism I've heard before.
That does it! Up go my hackles! I'm upset and start reacting! While it might be a natural instinct to respond this way, I'm still working at not over-reacting.
At least my hackles aren't visible. Or are they?
Mary Darr, Editor