According to the researchers at the international canine cognition center, dogs can learn up to one thousand words, which is roughly the vocabulary of a human toddler.
What’s interesting is, out of all the words dogs know, there’s one in particular that evokes the strongest response. Treat.
Ask anyone who grew up with a dog, and they’ll confirm that the word treat is a secret code for objects and events that are highly prized. When dogs hear it, they respond with an outburst of pure delight. The dog jumps around and wiggles and squeals with joy in anticipation of the treat he’s about to receive.
Of course, this reflex is hot wired into the canine brain. The delicious treat causes them to express the conditioned and predictable reaction. And so, it’s not only an activation of saliva, but a activation of playfulness. Pavlov would be proud.
My pit bull actually used to do her own little treat shuffle. Upon hearing the sound of the word or the shaking of the jar, she would go apeshit. The god would bolt into the living room and start performing twisting backflips. It was astounding. We should have entered her in one of those agility competitions.
But that’s an incredible thing about dogs. They point out the human inability to enjoy life. They make us think, wow, I wish I liked anything as much as my dog liked treats.
And so, it’s a reminder for each of us to reassess our relationship with joy. Because the word treat literally means an act of hospitality given an expression of friendly regard. Anything that causes pleasure, enjoyment, delight, surprise and celebration.
A treat doesn’t have to be a chalky biscuit that promotes a shiny coat, healthy teeth, cleaner breath and strong bones. Only a small, concrete way of being kind to ourselves, underscored by the belief that we deserve care and attention and love and reward.
Are you blocking out time to nurture yourself with fun and frivolity? Are you allowing yourself a weekly budget for that which delights you?
If not, if the voice of resistance keeps standing up to say that you’re too busy and too broke to take care of yourself, understand this.
Your problem isn’t a lack of time and money for yourself, it’s a lack of intimacy with yourself.
Remember, mentally congratulating ourselves isn’t enough. We have to take the time to deliberately, tangibly and specifically reward our own efforts.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When was the last time you gave a treat to yourself?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
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That Guy with the Nametag
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