There is an Indonesian word for this, it is “Belum”. I stumbled along this little tid bit of knowledge during a rather trying time in my life. I used to repeat it like a mantra in my head when I felt stressed, or angry.

Well not really, I didn’t have to be stressed or angry. I had a choice in that. I could not quite yet be at the the point of stress or anger. Belum became my own personal yellow light, It reminded me to slow down. Belum helped me understand that I didn’t have to reach the crescendo of the anger I felt, I didn’t actually have to shout at the next person who came into my line of sight. Was I angry or stressed enough to be cruel, or shout pointlessly at someone else? Not quite yet. I didn’t have to reach that point.

I haven’t been thinking Belum enough lately.

I’m stressed, I worry every time a training moment doesn’t go as planned. “My dogs are ruined! They aren’t good, I’ve failed Mugsy and Banjo. All that effort, irrelevant .” These thoughts cause the anger  at myself to rise, and tears spring to my eyes.

I’m so over my stress threshold I don’t know what to do. So, I panic. I blame anything I can think of, I go deep into my head and  imagine never being able to walk my dogs again. Hey, I never said my thinking was rational.

Apparently I’m not alone. An awesome totally relatable site for an Aussie owner or any dog owner to check out is the has this to say about Aussies during adolescents “Many Aussie owners suffer severe anxiety during the adolescent period when the dog shows extreme protective/watchdog behavior or extreme reserve.  Be aware that the way your dog is acting during adolescence is usually NOT how the adult personality will end up…it is a stage that must be worked through.  Just because it’s a stage, however, doesn’t mean you should ignore it and wait for it to “go away.”  Your dog is learning the whole time.”1     (The domain for  has expired 🙁  )

Just as I did with my anxiety, and stress the first time I stumbled across the word Belum, I need to reestablish my yellow light. I need to slow my thoughts down before I reach the point of anger or frustration with my adolescent dogs.

Are my dogs ruined, have I failed Mugsy and Banjo? The answer is not quite yet. They still have a chance at being amazing companions that can accompany me everywhere. Are they able to stay calm in every situation? Not quite yet. They still can learn.

Belum, it’s a word of endless possibilities. Belum means something is not set in stone. Things can change.

I think I’ll revisit Robert Fulghum and find that positive attitude I need to have for my dogs.

Another philosopher whose words have stuck with me since I read them is Voltaire.

Voltaire says “With great power comes great responsibility.” and the relavence to dog training in that statement  is immense, but it is not what I am going for now.

An essential phrase Voltaire taught me is this. “The most important decision you make is to be in a  good mood.”

I am going to create my good mood. Especially when everything isn’t going as it should. I will remember that every possibility my mind draws up needs to have the word Belum in front of it.

I can’t wait for the day when the answer to “Can my dogs stay calm in most situations?” is a solid “Yes”.

Until then it is time to slow down, think Belum and decide to be in a good mood.

An essential skill to being able to have both urban, and outdoor adventures is the skill Leave It. Read all about teaching this skill on my post Teaching “Leave It”

References   [ + ]

1.     (The domain for  has expired 🙁  )