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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Patience Grasshopper Ann!

Patience Grasshopper Ann!

Hi hi … it’s still morning and we have time to write – SCORE!!!  Biggest news of the day is that we got a chance to talk to Katherine this morning.  YAY!!!  We might get to talk to her again tomorrow while we work together on her web site.  She is wonderfully accepting of our assistance as we seem to be helping one another.  It’s a GREAT relationship!
As to new news with Dakota, the dog we are going to receive from Katherine … he has gone through its vet experience and they are waiting for the well-health certificate.  Unfortunately, where he is at they are going through kennel cough.  I think they’ve separated him from the dogs that have it, but Katherine explained to me that it is like a cold and even if he does get it – it’s not all bad because it might help the dog build a resistance.  I guess after the dog gets it … it takes about a week to wear itself through.  The most important thing to me seems to be preventing Katherine’s dogs from getting it unnecessarily by bringing Dakota in before he is clear of it.  So we’ve taken off our invisible “due to arrive at Katherine’s date stamp,” so we can be more flexible as to waiting for the right time.  This is really MY problem not that of the others.  I seem to have patience issues.  Good time to practice.  I’m thoroughly at ease with the care he’s getting in the meantime.  They seem (Marie and her husband Dave) to be very good people.
In other news, WHILE waiting we finished one of Cesar Millan’s books, “Cesar Millan’s Short Guide to a Happy Dog: 98 Essential Tips and Techniques” (2013).  We read it over a couple days and feel really much better about his program … we didn’t feel bad, but we were missing holes by just watching his videos.  We talked to Katherine for a while about their similar methods.  Katherine was already practicing pack leadership before Cesar had started his show so it was a “GOOD find” for her too.  I in no way believe that reading or watching Cesar could benefit more than having Katherine’s hands-on training with our dog, but we figure that we need to educate ourselves while our dog is getting HIS primary education.  We want to make sure we can present to Dakota as a “well-balanced Ann.”  Besides, we can’t leave ALL the work on Katherine – she’d never get through her busy schedule!
Next, we would like to mention a few key elements in Cesar’s book.  One of the first things he seems to have said was that a dog’s brain was much different than a human brain – and as Katherine says it’s all about communicating to the dog on its level.  With this understanding everyone knows its roles and responsibilities.  Millan talks about then understanding a dog’s natural energy and instincts so that it can be re-channeled into behavior that satisfies him AND its person – for example, Dakota being part Golden Retriever might need specific work on retrieving which would sooth both his energy and instincts.  It seems easy enough to come up with 100’s of things he can retrieve.  As to his Collie portion – not so sure of where we are going to find things to herd OTHER than our cat Missy!  BUT, something will be thought of.  In almost everything that Katherine and Cesar empathize their largest priorities of training seem to be giving their dogs “Exercise, Discipline, and then Affection.”  In actuality, it seems that most of the behaviors that Cesar wrote about in this book are about walking the dog – always going back to exercise.  It is like an ancient past behavior of going through the woods full forward within a wolf pack.  It seems to re-balance their energy.  Both Katherine and Cesar state you have to be very good at draining some of the dog's energy, and then, we will need to give the dog something that will interest or challenge him.  It’s important to the dog that he has a job – which will be some of the things he learns in being a good service dog for me. I would think this could also be considered Dakota AND us being content at the end of the day.

As a Multiple we know we need another internal conversation about this ... Ok, we've been over this before. We know we should be walking our dog a couple of times a day.  We told Katherine during the first call that we couldn’t walk more than five minutes (That's an OVER-stated given!); she told us that we should bring our chair when we came to bond with the dog.  We hadn’t had one recently!  We just stay in.  It hadn’t really occurred to us until then that the dog was going to require we re-learn to move – in our case with an electronic wheel chair or motorized scooter – MORE than five minutes at a time.  This is a major life change - or shift.  Which strangely enough is one of the things we WANTED the dog to do is to get us outside our home more frequently. This is going to have to be a "SYSTEM" Change! We still have to work on the part of exercising us as well as exercising the dog which isn’t really happening when we’re sitting in a chair.  But just to get out and be “around.” How wonderful that will be!  I see your point and that will be our real motivation.  BUT, Hopefully, we’ll get the literal exercise part too by using the walker for longer and longer trips and in playing during Dakota’s free time.  Right?  Ok, not meaning to scare anybody ...
Excuse us ... re-balancing.  Ready?

Ok, next ... Cesar has nine principles he follows which include energy and being present and honest.  He also talks about seeing the world from the viewpoint of the dog which means how he “senses” his environment.  Humans don’t do it in this order but the first sense a dog uses is nose, followed by eyes, and then ears.  Other things Cesar talks about with his core principles are pack position and being/creating the “calm, submissive state.”
I guess my summary of all this part of his book would be that for one we’re going to have to do a better job of staying in the present.  We had hoped that was one of the skills that Dakota could help us with … like at XX time each day, could he break us from whatever we may have obsessed in, and for example, we could go throw balls for him?  He’s like right here, right now – we tend to forget ourselves in the moment. As to sensing his environment – it’s taken a stretch of our imagination.  I know that when Rich is cooking something very good like an apple pie, then that’s where our attention is.  A dog seems to find that kind of enjoyment through his nose wherever he goes – whatever he smells.  It’s really an interesting concept!

Cesar would say his priorities as a pack member are around finding shelter, food and procreating.  What must that be like every day you leave the house?  It explains better why Katherine says we need to walk and WORK the dog before he’s given his breakfast.  That’s part of his instinctual process – to do what it takes to get to the food.  We had already been learning about most the dogs being submissive in the pack and that we were supposed to be the pack leader, but the one thing it seemed that was important to each side of the coin was that both sides learned the calm and submissive behavior and projecting calm, assertive energy.  To me … now … it seems like being in a Zen contemplative position where you are placing yourself and pack in the best position to be relaxed and totally tuned into the environment – free of emotions and distress, and even free of thoughts.  I remember in psychology learning about “I am.”  I think that’s what Cesar is talking about.  Back in “our day” we used to call it “hugging trees!”  If I am open, then we are receptive to learning and experiencing whatever life gives us next - in REAL TIME!
It also excited me that parts of Cesar’s concepts were about rules, boundaries and limitations.  This seems to be something that is also of natural interest to us.  As an incest survivor, natural rules were broken, boundaries exceeded and expectations drawn way out of proportion.  So a great part of the work we do with Dr. Marvin is to put all those “lines” safely back into our environment.  He isn’t the enforcer of our boundaries though.  That is our job. And, as a leader of OUR pack it will be in part up to us to help our dog define his space.  Like one of the things we have to do is teach Dakota that he comes in after me – so he is coming into OUR house not the other way around.  I think in the end, it goes along with goals and self-determination of doing the things that you intend to do, or of what is a natural order.  That’s really hard for us as a Multiple because we have different parts with different interests and goals.  Ok, what this means is … I should probably go start the washing machine before I continue; some of us are being complainy.  Hold on.
There … done!  Took until 11 am to start today … shoot!  A better start would have been about 8 am.  Being in the present means that things we intend to do during the day like being a Domestic Goddess has an underlying priority for us … I think too that’s about how Cesar uses the term discipline.  AHA I found an important spot in the book, Cesar says, “A Zen psychologist recently noted that the definition of discipline is “remembering exactly what you want.”  I would take that back to another level we’d been learning about before through other work in being in the present and being able to set up activities to meet responsibilities, goals and objectives.  Do you remember the work we’d been doing when we were working with our mind maps?  Do you remember David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done?”  It is like being able to see the forest through the trees.  He described his outline for lining life aerodynamically by imagining there was a runway (current actions), 10,000 feet altitude (current projects), 20,000 feet altitude (areas of responsibility), 30,000 feet altitude (1-2 Year Goals), 40,000 feet altitude (3-5 year Goals), and then 50,000 feet altitude (Life – like what is the purpose of our life).  At each of these levels we’d previously written out what we wanted, but the Zen part was remembering what we want while all the other life stuff is happening.  That part has been in the background for a while.  I haven’t even finished Paul Dell’s book on Dissociation!
What a tremendous rush of insight.  Is this the key to getting back into a space where we had been doing much better.  I don’t know where we sidetracked over last several months, but maybe already Dakota is helping us focus!  Thank you Katherine for your call today and in keeping the dream alive – AND thank you Cesar Millan.  We figure there is a grand truth out there … and when all the pieces start connecting – that is when you know that you are on the right path and that it is all in order.  How exciting everything is!  Katherine said this morning, “so patience my dear!  We’re thinking ok … but, it might be one blog post at a time!  AND, how does this relate to not practicing the piano this week?  3 pm lesson?!?

Hey because we are a Multiple, does it mean our pack is about twenty deep?  Cesar Millan says every person in the household is a pack leader!  AND, could someone remember to ask Dr. Marvin, how are we ever to get out of pjs to walk the dog first thing in the morning ... 3 pm?  REALITY ALARM
*But, otherwise giggling to beat the band*
Happy Happy!
Posted in By AnnTrainingWorking with Katherine at the Animal Psychology Center

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