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Self-Relaxation for Self-Control is not about a day at the beach

March 9, 2012

It IS serious business. Anyone out there ever take an anger management class?Guess the FIRST thing you must learn in order to succeed? Anyone out there ever take a bio-feedback class to prevent heart attacks, high blood pressure, migraines, and aneurisms? Guess the FIRST thing you must learn in order to succeed? Anyoneout there receive treatment for fear phobias? Guess the FIRST thing you must to learn in order to succeed? Anyone out there take any kind of treatment or course to kick an addiction? Smoking, drinking, over eating, prescription drugs, street drugs, adrenaline, etc.? Guess the FIRST thing you must learn in order to succeed?

That's correct, you must learn to let go of all perceived control in order to attain true control which is only done through self-relaxation. Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, stilling of the mind from distracting,self-sabotaging thoughts, a complete release of the physical body is vital to regain control of your true self in any environment.

You would think this would be the easiest thing on earth wouldn't you? It is, initially to a puppy. They are, after all, cunning hunters and members of one of the most successful social structures on earth thus self-control is essential for survival. The animal in the pack who cannot control his or herself has a very short life indeed. Deadly mistakes are made when an animal gives in to his reactivity instead of controlling his actions.

What is the first thing someone says to you when they see you starting to become angry or agitated over a certain "trigger"? "Settle down. Relax. Take a deep breath will you?" And if you don't heed this ancient advice are you able to calm down? And if you do listen is it an easy process for you to let go of your anger or fear in order to intelligently access what is going on? No, of course not, especially if you have not taught yourself to do so by letting go.  However, this is the ONLY way, short of utter exhaustion (flooding and learned helplessness), to change the entire perception of what is happening and to gage any situation safely. To do otherwise would mean that each time you are faced with this "trigger" it will not only cause you to duplicate this out of control behavior but to escalate the behavior exponentially.

The difference between our dogs and ourselves it the amount of opportunistic "tools" made available to us by our human culture to achieve this self-control.  Yoga, Bio-feedback, Tapping, Meditation, Chanting, Self-Hypnosis (the basic principal of all the afore mentioned), etc. and many others too numerous to mention, are all meant to facilitate the same result, that of self-relaxation to regain self-control.

From someone who was formerly an AAAAAAA personality I have studied and still practice many of the relaxation principals mentioned for just such purpose. So I can personally tell you unequivocally, learning them was ANYTHING BUT easy!  Fortunately for the quality of my life I recognized that not only the condition of but my life itself depended upon my mastering these skills.I won't even go into all the ways my ego tried to thwart my mastering these principals but it was something like your dogs' rolling on their backs, wanting you to pet them, raising their legs, wagging their tails, reacting to sound, popping up, having an itch, etc. Their problem is that they have been led to believe they control their environment so that's what they're trying to continue. By your acquiescing to this behavior and thinking "Oh poor thing doesn't want to or can't do this" you are reinforcing this harmful misconception for your dog.

If you told your two year olds to go take a nap because their lack of control over their emotions was triggered by the fact that they needed physical sleep would you: Allow them to climb out of their crib to play? Allow them to leave the bedroom or run away from you because they didn't want to nap? Would you allow them to go to the kitchen for a cookie?  Of course not, why?  Exactly.  Because the reason they were having so much trouble with self-control in the first place was because they were not in a controlled (rested good decision making) place to begin with.

We do our dogs a great disservice by treating them as fragile creatures. Afraid we will lose their love if we ask tough things of them. But fragile they are not, most especially rescued dogs and pound puppies. You have to be made of steel to survive any of those situations even though you appearance may be soft.  I have said it dozens of times, "Dogs LOVE Tough" not mean, not unreasonable, not corporal but tough. Say what you mean and mean what you say. There is unbelievable safety in that to your dog and that's what they crave more than anything.

So get back to work and get tough. Your dogs will adore you for giving them this, the ultimate gift,  control of themselves.

E-Collars Why Are We Still Even Discussing Them??

January 24, 2012

Shock collar discussion

 

This whole subject leaves me beyond sad.  First let's be honest and call it what it really is.  A collar designed to deliver electricity in the form of a shock at varying levels of intensity to a living being; a shock collar.

I have been working with the discards of dogdom for almost 47 years.  I have trained in all fields.  My specialty is Red Zone Dogs who are the next step away from the needle.  From Dobermans, Giant Schnauzers, Beaucerons, Amstaffs, Pit Bulls, Bullies of all ilks, Shepherds, Weims, Mastiffs, Danes, Boxers, large and small mixed breeds down to Papillons, Bichons and Yorkies who have done so much damage with their teeth, (removing limbs or lives from other dogs, removing body parts from or doing damage to humans) of whom their former trainers and even their vets have recommended death as a solution.  These dogs have gone through "drug therapy, pinch collar, choke collar, choke them into unconsciousness, e-collar (terrify them with e--lightening), flood them until they hopefully learn helplessness "therapy".  The result being they have zero trust in humans and are now locked into survival mode.

If e-collars were the "humane tool" they are purported to be then why aren't we using them in our prisons?  Aren't humans who murder and rape at least as bad as dogs who bite (or, heaven forbid don't come when called)? Think of all the money we would save?  One guard could sit at a monitor and watch the actions of a hundred inmates.  An infraction would bring an immediate jolt.  No more rape, terrorizing on new fish, or drug sales.  One guard, his monitors and many e-buttons.

Or why not use them in the high schools for difficult students?  Just a little jolt for insubordination.  Or rig them on petioles so that they get a jolt if they come within 100 yards of a child?  After all we can at least "explain" to the humans the principals and then assure them that the electric shock will not kill them.

A concept  we may never explain to the dog.  The dog just lives in fear which, as I have seen in my long career, is not really conducive to true learning or rehabilitation.  If it were then why not start our children with e-collars from the day they walk into school?  Certainly that would speed learning and assure less anti-social behaviors, no?

Sound ridiculous?  No more ridiculous than to put them on an animal who is already confused as to his role in the human world and has NO understanding of electricity except to fear it above all things.  Anyone bother to read about the e-collar studies they did of the wolves and the calf in Yellowstone?  In the end the wolves did not learn to be adverse to the calf but what they did learn was that when they came close to each other (in the pursuit of the calf) they received a hit of lightening.  The result was the complete breakdown of the pack and their complete dispersal once they were released again into new territory.  The trust in each other was irrevocably annihilated by the e-collars.

When allegedly violent and aggressive dogs come to my classroom the very first thing I ask their human to do is to take off the dog's leash (no corrective collars are allowed.  Flat collars only).  The dog works, from the first moment with me, untethered.  This relieves much of the anxiety of "self-defense" taught to them by their previous trainers or humans.  The dog is taught that his cooperation is the most valuable thing he can give and that his safety will come from that and not his fear.  Cooperation is innate in a pack animal; once they KNOW/ARE SHOWN how to cooperate it comes as a huge relief to each and every one of them.

The dog is taught to cooperate and trust again by our trust in his ability to do so.  Because of this we have no recidivism when the method is continued at home.  Dogs who could not be with any humans or other animals are now living in peace and safety with all.  And I don't suffer bites by any of the large dogs with whom I work.  They don't ever feel the need.

 

 

Dogs as Angels

September 11, 2011

Written in reply to a post made to my Yahoo Teaching List from a WONDERFUL member.

> My jaw literally dropped. I swear to all that is holy that Jack was defying me. And I'm sure some part of his little

> brain knew that I was rushing to work, and he wanted to see what I'd do about his attitude when I was hurrying.


I suppose you could look at it like that if you want to. I usually have a hard time convincing humans that dogs are not hardwired for "defiance". That is a human trait and that trait would have a canine ousted from his pack tout de suite if he even grew out of puppyhood.

Or you can see your dog as your emotional health barometer. When is it, exactly, that he "tests" you?  When you are feeling confident and on top of your game??

Or does he start to "fall apart" a little when he sees you completely stressed out and just trying to get far too many things done in an impossible time frame??

I know I have said this before but I truly believe that our dogs are the Angels everyone searches for. They are sent here to teach us about patience, compassion, cooperation, communication, sacrifice, trust, loyalty and forgiveness among many things.

But most importantly, they are here to remind us that the "right now" could very well be the best of our lives and we had better enjoy it while we may. Many times it's a tough sell for our little Angels and we completely miss the point.
I know I often do. But sometimes I am blessed with "getting it".

When I am on my hands and knees scrubbing the floors and You Don't Know Jack, my new puppy, runs up behind me and pops up between my legs to plants a big kisses on my face before running off.   When I am sitting on my (uh . . er . . Sky's) office chair typing on my computer and she gets up, puts her paws on my shoulders and kisses the back of my ear. When I have been rushing around like a crazy person all day and I sit for a moment before rushing around all night and ReJack plops some torn up toy in my lap like some sparkling, wrapped gift and looks at me, eyes wide, shivering with the anticipated joy of a child at Christmas. You all know, you all have these moments.

But sometimes these aren't so much ignored by us as much as just missed. So getting drastic is the best thing a dog can figure do to remind us of how fragile it all is and how quickly it's all gone.

Remember When Having a Dog Was FUN?

December 15, 2010

Would you like to ENJOY your dog again??  We can teach you how in an amazingly short time. 

Call 262-534-2004 to get the answers you have been searching for!

For Love of Dogs Canine/Human Relations LLC

Are you tired of trying to figure out how to be an alpha dog when you're struggling just to be a functioning human being? Are you tired of being your dog's jailer, general, manager or dictator? Instead of confusing or frustrating your animals with Gestapo "do-it now" methods, how about just enlisting your dog's co-operation? Now there's a concept! And that's what For Love of Dogs is all about...Promoting the evolution of canine/human relations through mutual communication, cooperation and respect in a refreshing, and amazing new way. It's not about Training, Bullying, Managing, Frightening, Tricking or Clicking animals into submission. It IS about teaching your animal friends the jobs they need to do in your household in order to have a harmonious life with you.  

 

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