Thursday, June 28, 2007

A lesson from Jack about motivation

The new dog is helping the old girl learn new tricks about motivation and its connection to learning. (The new dog is Jack who is growing by leaps and bounds; the old girl is yours truly.)

In case you hadn't noticed, it's hot outside. We have now learned that Jack doesn't much like the heat (smart dog, that Jack!) I'm juggling, trying to keep the air conditioning bill under control and the number of "accidents" on the carpets to a minimum. We have a dog door, but the old dog hasn't been doing a very good job mentoring, and Jack has been reluctant to try it on his own. But he really gets very (ah) jacked out of shape (tee hee) when he can't find Roxy in all the usual places.

This morning, I really couldn't bear leaving the sliding door open so Jack could head out to the yard on his own, so I let him out and then closed the door. Lo and behold! Jack finished his toilette and then dashed back into the cool clime of the bedroom -- whoosh, right through the dog door without a pause. Good dog, Jack!

Somewhat later, he saw Roxy out in the grass, and the next thing I know, he's streaking out through the dog door to join her. Wow! That's a new one! The dog door swings both ways. Good dog, Jack! He seems just so damned pleased with himself, now that he's figured this out. Not as much as we are, you can be sure.

While we've been talking up play, we've also noticed that participation in 23 Things has waned a bit this week. Maybe it's because of the heat, or maybe everyone's hitting the road on vacation, or hauling out the flags and the bunting for next week's celebrations, but it may be also that we need a little jolt, a kick of motivation that doesn't depend just on play.

So Jack's learned a new skill that gives him greater independence, and he's really pleased with himself. (Of course, I've been effusive in my praise too, but I don't think he's going in and out of the dog door for me.) I just hope other 23-Things players are learning too, and getting personal satisfaction out of it, but it would be nice to be able to add some yummy cookies to those wagons! Share!

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