Behaving Gratitudinaeously

Posted on 01/05/10 12 Comments

If you have been following my blogs from the beginning you will know that my original blog did come with a warning that my grammer and english may not be perfect. Let me add to that that I may, from time to time,  make up my own words. I do and I just did. I was teetering between gratitudnaeously and gratitudinally but decided on the former (or is that one the later, I am always getting that former and latter thing mixed up) for the way it rolled off my tongue.

Today I thought it would be a good idea for everyone that has been stressing about their own stressing or their dog’s stressing, to behave gratitudnaeously, that is, with massive amounts of gratitude. As a matter of fact, I think it would be a great idea for everyone to do it . . .  just for no reason at all.

Here is how you do it. Pick a dog, if you are struggling in your training with one particular dog right now pick THAT dog. Or, if you have a dog you have neglected a bit lately, pick that one. If you can’t decide which of your dog’s to pick, do it alphabetically, that way you won’t feel like you are cheating anyone.


You can do this exercise for each dog you own (I highly recommend it), but I don’t like to do it back to back. Separate each dog’s gratitudnaeous moments by at least a day. Why you say? Well, one because I said so and it is my blog and my game of make believe (actually it is based on something we did with Tony R:)) but regardless and more importantly, I think by trying to “cram” all of your dogs into one experience in my opinion you take away the specialness of the experience for the dog. I have done this for all of my dogs at as a group, and I do like that, but for today just do one dog.

Now sit in a quite spot. Yes, those of you at work go ahead, close your eyes, I am sure no one will bother you in your cubical or think you are any stranger than they did ten minutes ago. Now place both hands over your heart, close your eyes . . . hey . .  I said close them, how are you continuing to read if your eyes are closed?  Seriously, read this first and then do the process with closed eyes. Really this is cool (or strange but play along with me anyway because I think it is fun to do).


Okay, here goes, in your quiet spot, with your eyes closed and your hands on your heart, think about that one specific dog and the times you have had together with that dog over the last year. See him running in your favorite field or park, visualize that dog trotting happily just a head of you or jumping through some long grass to get a better look.

Next, think of a time when you found yourself just admiring that dog maybe for the way he looks or his power or possibly, if he is older, for his grace. Next visualize him doing something with you and doing it extraordinarily well, far better than he has ever done it before or better than you thought possible and far better than you have ever seen any dog do it. Now think of a  time that dog made you laugh out loud, ideally until stuff came out of an orifice you weren’t planning on it leaving.  Next remember that dog making you so proud your heart could just burst. Okay now think of a moment that dog did something that you thought was so unbelievably brilliant you just had to tell someone.

Missy Encore, her first day home.
Missy Encore, her first day home.

Now recall the first day you made the decision to get “that” puppy or dog (if he was older). What was it about that particular one that made you take him home? See him at home on the first day, how curious he was, how crazy you are about him. Next visualize that dog the last time you saw him sleeping in his favourite place around the house, where is he?  What position is he in? Is he curled up in a ball, upside down on his back or is he all stretched out on his side? Think about how much you love that dog and how grateful you are to have him in your life.

Now put this question out there for your “higher power” or just throw it on out there into the universe. “How can I help this dog to live with more joy and be more connected to me?”

There, that was your gratitudnaeous moment. The more gratitude you have for what you’ve already got, the more answers will come to you when you are struggling.  Weird but true, trust me on this one.  I bet it works for kids too although I don’t have any of my own to try it out on.

Today I am grateful for gratitude stacking. If you see me at ringside with my eyes closed and my hands on my heart, you can bet that is what I am doing . . .  either that or I had one nasty ass bean burrito at lunch.


  1. Heather Wark says:
    Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 3:36pm

    Thanks for this Susan. I’m a busy mom these days with work and kids and the dogs have taken up the back burner for the most part (especially in the bitterness of winter – we had -29 this week). Anyway, they aren’t getting any younger and I really need a reconnect with them these days…


  2. CINDY says:
    Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 11:17am

    Wow. Perfect timing for this exercise. I will have no problem doing this for all of my dogs, but more importantly I am going to try it for my kids. Ahhh, teenagers……


  3. Helen Verte says:
    Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 12:07am

    Wow! This is a beautiful exercise. Warms my heart. I need to reconnect with my Higher Power and be more consistent with that relationship, and this is a great starting point. Tony Robbins teaches learn to ask better questions if you want to get different results and I love the way you phrase the question: “How can I help this dog to live with more joy and be more connected to me?” Love it! And thank you.

    By the way, I have an easy way to remember former and latter. “F”ormer is the “F”irst of two choices. “L”atter is the “L”ast of two. Voila! 😉


  4. lynne brubaker says:
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 7:16pm

    MOM, MOM!!! Have you taken over Susan’s body and mind!!!!! Holy crap!!!!
    Hyperventilating…. (not really, laughing out loud though).

    That is so amazing, my mom taught my brother and I to do that when we were kids, not with the term, gratitude stacking”, can’t really remember what she called it, but were were to do that exercise about particular people in our lives that we were struggling with….. She made us do it in our rooms, and it usually coincided with her needing to cook dinner or work, without kid interruptions. I did it a couple of times, but most of the time I played with my pet gerbils or snuck into my brothers’ room so we could play cards 😀

    It has been a long time since I thought about that, what a nice memory, thanks. I will have to resurrect that for the pups, it does work….


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 9:38pm

      I am sorry I never got to meet your mom Lynne, she sounds like an awesome person, but that doesn’t come as a surprise, knowing the kind of person you are. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!


  5. Trudie says:
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 5:06pm

    You are amazing! You expect, and get, “an internal drive from my students to get out there and show me some hustle while waiting to be hit by their next training epiphany”, “goofiness” (my favourite!), and now gratititudinaeousness
    Since you mentioned bean burritos, there’s an expression comes to mind: “Holy toots!”
    Do not laugh, me and my dog are doing refresher course in Learning to Tug and Play 101, there’s a lot of stuff I never learned in there


  6. Ann says:
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 1:17pm

    Now that puts it in perspective … timely … thanks a bunch.


  7. Andrea says:
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 9:38am

    Thanks Susan. It’s a great reminder to take time and connect with each dog. It’s really easy to operate as a pack most of the time and individual connection gets lost. The girls are going to love this exercise – especially baby Leilani – who’s not such a baby anymore!


  8. Mary Lou says:
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 8:30am

    What a wonderful exercise. I just love it! Thanks for sharing.


  9. Jan V says:
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 8:23am

    I and my older girlie, Ajay, are very grateful for this post today. I owe so much to her for the lessons she brought to me, and how my path in life changed… but at times feel guilty for taking her for granted, giving more time and attention to Brio. So today we (Ajay and I) will share some gratitudinaeous time together. I absolutely adore her!! So thanks and yes I can feel it 🙂

    For gosh sakes, I can’t even pronounce this word!!


  10. Karen M says:
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 8:15am

    Each day, at some stage, there always seems to be a moment for me that I look at each of my dogs and think about what makes them individual, what I enjoy about each one even though each is different in so many ways. All personalities different but all so lovable in their own ways and all make me proud to be their animal caretaker.


  11. Lynda Orton-Hill says:
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 8:06am

    Susan you always have s a way of making us deep in though and then LAUGH OUT LOUD – the bean burrito closure line touches other senses too!

    I am too am grateful for the Tony Robbins Experience! Some of you have asked me privately about my experience – and here it is in a nutshell – when I can do it again I will! He’s in Orlando next. Take along a friend and you can learn about all the things Susan’s been talking about on her blog. Stacking is just one of many thought provoking activities we did!

    Grateful to be on vacation… will do some stacking about dogs and sunshine this morning!



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