Origami & the art of folding behavior

origami flowers & craneWhen we fold a piece of paper, even if we return the paper to its original shape, the memory of that fold remains. When we are building different objects out of paper we might create a fold which we do not intend to use right away, but will return to it further along in the process of making our creation, using the memory of the fold to more easily mold the paper into the shape we want.

Anytime my dogs perform a behavior, whether I have encouraged it in one way or another, positively or negatively, I am forming creases that will either help or hinder me in the future when I try to create new objects of art; a dog that ‘folds’ into an alert ‘sit’ or a puppy that erupts into joy when a new person or dog appears on the scene. Or perhaps a dog that cringes with the memory of a thumbnail used too forcefully to sharpen a crease.

Puppies don’t enter the world blank sheets of paper. The stress and anxiety their mother experienced left imprints of folds on them. When we handle these puppies we risk running our thumbnail along those creases to sharpen them. Or alternately, as it seems more often to be the case with puppies, thankfully, the folds guide the pup into behaviors that cause our own creases to melt into shapes of compassion and joy. Or the folds may have been applied by the life our dogs lived or endured before they came to us.

Every interaction I have with a dog forms a crease, as does the behavior of the dog. What shape do I want those impressions of folds to take on? My role as leader, teacher, parent, trainer or owner is important not only because I am responsible for creating shapes but because I am also creating the patterns and cultures my dogs can expect and emulate. My goal for all my dogs is that even if I am not there to nudge them into behaviors that they effortless flow into the myriad of beautiful designs we’ve experimented with and practiced. For my fearful dog I hope that the imprints of his early experiences continue to fade and one day will be lost among the new folds of the shining star he is shaping out to be.

Advertisements

8 comments so far

  1. Mary on

    Yes! What beautiful symbolism and metaphor. I see this is what is happening to foster pup, Aaron. Slowly, we are forming creases that are supported with love, kindness, trust and predictability. And, seemingly it’s working. We marvel daily at his humor and zest for life.

    Thank you, Deb for this post and for all of your help and inspiration.

    • fearfuldogs on

      And thank you for your continued readership and rewarding me with your comments. I look forward to meeting Aaron! Let’s get that on the calendar.

  2. Jim Stay on

    What an interesting image. I think I can use that one.

  3. Amy@GoPetFriendly on

    “For my fearful dog I hope that the imprints of his early experiences continue to fade and one day will be lost among the new folds of the shining star he is shaping out to be.”

    We feel exactly the same way about Buster. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement!

    • Debbie Jacobs on

      Buster and Ty are very lucky to have ended up with you and Rod, that’s for sure!

  4. melfr99 on

    Beautiful post. Wow. It reads like poetry. You always give me a lot to think about. I hadn’t thought about it in this way, but I do think about what impressions I am leaving in my dogs and doggie clients. For Daisy, I like to think I am smoothing over those creases that were made early on her life (like Amy said above), and with Jasper I am always thinking about “What shape do I want those impressions of folds to take on?” (well maybe not in those words.) 🙂

    • fearfuldogs on

      Thanks again Mel! Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Still think my dogs would enjoy a visit with you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: