Sit. Stay. Obey.

Welcome back to another week of mittonmusings.com. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that we have been considering dog ownership (read about it here). And if you are new to our little blog, why not consider joining us each week for our muses? Hit the subscribe button! We’d love to see you each week! But back to our announcement: *Drumroll, please* I am happy to update you that we are now the proud owners of a very cute chocolate labrador named “Reese” (as in Reese’s peanut butter cups, chocolate lab… get it?). I know — we are crazy!! Do I really need this work? Maybe I do. He’s been most fun… and the hubby is happy that I am actually getting out and walking more. So, there’s that. The kids have been doing their part as well, so it’s been a great family experience so far. Except for the potty training thing.

Ah, Training. It’s a very important thing with dogs, and we have been trying very hard to do our best. We’ve raised four kids, but dog ownership is one of those things… you become one of “those people”. Walks. Socializing. To crate or not to crate? Separation anxiety. Stimulation.

our new puppy, “Reese”

I think I have watched more videos and Pinterest posts then when I did have my kids! Yet, it seems to be paying off… we are great at leash walking and have mastered “sit”. Accidents are still a thing, but that’s to be expected for one so young.

Consequently, “training” has been on my mind. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the Ten Commandments. Those iconic regulations foundational to not only Jewish traditions and Christianity, but to many of our modern day ethical rules! Not to mention a few very famous movies. The commandments are only mentioned in the Bible a few times, and not actually called “the 10 Commandments” but are fundamental to Christianity. They form the basis for our worship and our spiritual journeys. True, we don’t live under “the law” as New testament believers, but our history is shaped by these 10 laws the Lord provided early on for the Israelites and the early church. The Hebrew expression means “ten words” and the Greek translation is Decalogue. Literally audible words spoken by God, written down, and presented for all to see.

So why 10? Apparently the numbering is different in some traditions, perhaps marking that no one command is “greater” than the other. Are they outdated? Have they been adapted or manipulated for our own use? All questions worth thinking about. What I do know is that following a set of “rules” does not get us any closer to the saving grace of God, or assure us our salvation. We are fallible. Humans and our sin nature will not allow us to be absolutely obedient every. single. time.

So, what’s the point? Well, I suppose, like my new puppy, rules are there to help keep the peace. To make life easier and remind us of what we should be doing, about how to love our neighbours, and as a way to love God with all our heart and soul. My puppy is eager to please our commands and motivated by our praise and affection (and the odd yummy treat!) Does he get it right all the time? Obviously, not. But obeying is a sign of love and worship, and so we try and strive for sanctification. The commandments were given to help us in that task.

I read that when teaching your pup basic skills, you should also practice “proofing” those skills. Learning to “sit” in a quiet house is one thing. Practicing that skill on a busy intersection with cars, squirrels and flashing lights is another. Sound like us? It’s easy to say “honour your father and mother” or “keep the sabbath holy” — but when emotions run high or life gets in the way, the “proof” is in the pudding, isn’t it? Which is why we need to practice, be familiar, study, try, and try again. Hebrews 12 reminds us to strive for holiness. We learn through discipline and perseverance. We are strengthened in our understanding by facing tough stuff and coming out the other end standing on our foundations.

Alas, the journey (and the adventure!) continues, my friends. I wish you blessings as you strive to move forward towards Heavenly rewards. Until next week! Hmmmn… I wonder what the Bible has to say about puppy potty training…