Wagasana, greeting the day
with gratefulness and curiosity!
Have you had a doga moment today?
Meditations C - D
The disease to please ... What comes to mind (women, caregivers and dogs)
Caregivers are shining lights. We all become caregivers at some point in our lives. It is an unselfish gesture. I have learned from humans and dogs that our bodies know how to handle emergencies. If we listen, we know when to stop. Whether I am a caregiver or care receiver, giving myself time for personal renewal, makes it possible to give more fully to others. Accepting, as dogs do, that illness and death are inevitable, I can shift gears into a more peaceful place. Relax, rejuvenate, all is well.
Chew This, Not That: We all chew on something that isn’t healthy at times. Teaching our dogs what to chew, when and for how long is the same as teaching ourselves what to eat, drink or do. When it is a good choice, all is well. When we make a mistake, we learn from it. If we don’t know what to do, then we need an understanding person or resource to teach us. Reach out …
Challenge: Life will challenge us! Our life can become stuck in the muck if we don't challenge ourselves to learn something new every day! Create an action challenge for you and your dog like walking in sequence and reverse walking. Change your route, path and perhaps the journey will be different. Fearful of that boss or walking route where both seem like charging terriers? Walk across the street or on a different path. Ask that person whose dog runs into yours (floating leashers) to please hold their dog. Enjoy the pleasure of knowing that we can create change in our and our dog's lives by challenging ourselves to an inspiring and sometimes scary risk. Start small and grow the challenge.
Three steps forward, two steps back, always one step ahead.
Change and Changing: When I change my thinking, I change my behavior. It is not easy, but chunked into smaller goals, it’s achievable. We are creatures of habit. Awareness Centered Training - ACT evolved from paradigms and experiences working with dogs and people, including those who share my life. Whether with our family, partners, friends or our dogs, we cannot change a habitual behavior, especially a deep rooted one, until we change our own. With flexibility and flow, we can create a plan for change. This includes on how we communicate with our dogs (and others).
Change is inevitable and life is ever-changing. We can’t change anyone’s behavior, including our dogs until we change our own. It has to be achievable.
Horses are prey animals. Dogs are predators. Horses sense imbalance in intent and incongruence (conflict and mis-communication). Dogs are instinctual and relay heavily on body language. They sense genuineness in our body and tone of voice. When we begin to understand that the species and people operate differently, we become aware of the infinite possibilities. Amazing things happen when we community with clarity in a way that’s understandable.
Children and Dogs live in a world of discovery. Children and puppies are born as pure and joyful canvases. As we age, we are affected by life's experiences. We have a right to embrace our inner child - puppy as adults. Negative behaviors will dissolve through compassion, understanding and teaching ourselves and our dogs, what we want, in a relatable way. With respect and kind adult guidance, children and dogs are good role models for each other. Safety always comes first.
Choice is moving beyond where I am to a place of higher awareness. Every problem has a solution. When I was training as a mediator, I learned BATNA. There is always a best alternative to a negotiated agreement at work, home and with our dogs. Win-win is a good option; good for you and for me. Choices shape our lives. Knowledge empowers us to make better choices. Keep learning …
Clarity, Compassion and Confidence go together like a dog and a bone or wine and cheese: Clarity is that moment of freedom from ambiguity. When we have it, it feels good! You simply know that something is working. Dogs teach us clarity in sparkling colors. Either we teach it effectively or know by the results. Ask for a SIT, dog walks away. OOPS! Clarifying with people is a skill that involves listening, then asking a few key how, what, when and why questions to be sure we get it. Compassion is empathy. Empathizing is imagining yourself in someone else’s experience to better understand them. It isn’t about feeling sorry for someone. It is more about understanding how to offer help, direction or care. Sometimes, it’s knowing when to do do nothing at all. Listen, observe, be still. We become more confident family members, friends, dog teachers / parents when we keep trying, practicing and doing. Practice!
Clutter: Before cleaning someone else’s closet, clean your own. If you are giving advise and then trip over your own shoe, the bump is on your head, and dent in your wall. Clearing the clutter is freeing. It is a short-term fix but helps to put things into perspective. Buy something new, pass something on to others. How about the dog’s clothing, leash/collar and toy box? Rotate them! It works. Teach the dog to put their toys into a box. C lose it. Then take out the one you put away two weeks ago.
Come: When you call your dog (others) what is your intention? What does your body language, tone of voice look | sound like? Would you come to you if you called yourself? If so, would it be out of fear, duty, pleasure - or just because it a good place to be? What is the incentive for your dog to come to you? Do they enjoy your company? Is it life saving? Coming to us can save a dog’s life, but it should always be a safe and trusting place to be.
Communication: All species communicate with a variety of vocalizations, body language, diversity, drives and familiarities that help us survive and thrive everyday. Communication can enhance or detract, empower or dis-empower. It can help us and our dogs get what we want, or not, depending on how the message is transmitted, encoded and perceived. Communication for all species is a skill. Puppies begin learning just as infants do. They are conditioned by their parents as we are. As adults, we can learn ways to more effectively communicate our needs and wants. At work we learn that how we communicate to others will help us achieve our goals or gets us into trouble.
Our dogs learn how to do get their needs met by communicating -- barking, whining, jumping, digging and chewing. Communicate in a way they understand. One of the most powerful experiences I have learned over the years in business, writing, living and learning with dogs is that it is not what the species is -- but do they understand what I am communicating? Is it with respect? How do I (they) feel afterward? Practice on self, and then try it on others. It is not difficult with dogs. Just look at them. Are they paying attention, doing what you want? No? Then, you need to change the what and how.
Community: No act of kindness is too big or small. Everyone can make a difference. Imagine never being able to touch a beloved pet again? Something as simple as sharing our pets for 15 minutes or an hour, can increase well-being. When I take action to make a difference, it has a trickling effect on others. Dogs must become good citizens of the community. It is our responsibility as their ambassadors, teachers, dog parents to ensure they get the basics of good training and well-being.
Competition is big and small! Globally, competition can benefit the economy and pricing for consumers. In a wild dog pack, or war, it can mean injury or death. Competition can help you thrive or smother you. Being competitive is neither right nor wrong, as long as it is for a good purpose, and not deliberately hurting or belittling someone else. Sports are competitive. Most of us enjoy a good game of sports. There is competition in packs of different species. How we use competition to our fullest advantage is what matters! As we get more confident, older and wiser, the only competitor is in the mirror! We reflect on how silly it was to make a point about right or wrong, or how someone pronounces a word in a different way. A good question to ask ourselves is, “Who are we competing against? What are the benefits and for who?”
Consciousness: Things that happen to me can only control me if I allow it. Empower yourself by using your mind (and dogs) to show you how to change. Are you walking through life consciously? Training our dogs with awareness is a good example of how to live life … AWAKE! We receive wake-up calls (messages) all the time like a dog that is destructive or lethargic. The next time you feel something in the pit of your stomach saying “nope, don’t do that” or “I don’t think that is right for me or my dog.” Listen. You are right!
Dogs mirror our behaviors and energy. Intuitively, we know what to do.
Instinctively, dogs know what to do.
Together, we can take negative or positive energy and turn it into life-long experiences.
Control: The only thing I can control is my thinking, self talk, choices, breathing, and how I live the journey. The only thing I can control with my dog is how I relate to them with awareness as a unique individual. Teaching comes in many forms, controlling only one (force). Our dogs may do things that upset us, but to them, it's pure bliss to dig a big dirty hole in the yard and track mud over the clean floor. At least they do this unknowingly. It is okay to get pissed when someone “intentionally” tracks mud on your floor or in your life. A dog's intention is to see you, not the mud on their on face and paws.
How we treat others is a reflection of how we treat ourselves. Watching puppies blissfully play or an old dog enjoy the same kind of bone he did at 3 months old is simply pleasure. Some people need a lot of color; others enjoy the same color they wore a long time ago. Some dogs enjoy dog parks and play groups, others could care less, preferring time with a stuffy on a blanket or walk on a leash.
Letting go of trying to change or control others frees us to care and wear whatever color we like. Our dogs can enjoy what makes them happy too without judgment, the same gift they give to us … most of the time!
Creativity: I am a unique, creative being. Everyday I wake up grateful to be alive, to enjoy dogs and nature, and to know that I can co-create with them and like-minded people. Creativity can be a new puppy, an older adoptive companion dog, painting, dancing, movies, wine, chocolate or a new business venture. Blowing bubbles! If someone doesn't agree or like my creativity, say with a smile, "thank you for the insight" and move on. Every cell in our body is creative and re-building themselves every second by the millions. Embody this creativity, guiding it to new possibilities.
Watch a dog take his bone and bury it in the most dedicated way. Notice a dog get enjoyment out of the same stuffy over and over running to and fro. At the very same time, 4:00pm, everyday, the dogs grab a favourite stuffed toy and run back and forth signalling me that it’s time for Doggy Diner (freebie).
Criticism: Eleanor Roosevelt shared, "no-one can make you feel inferior unless you let them." Usually we are our own worse critics, especially when it comes to our pets who mean so much. Criticism from us or others, if not constructive feedback, comes from a place of fear, anger, resentment and lack of acceptance. Smile, close your ears, thank them for the insight, and walk away.
Whether you and your dog walk for 5-minutes or 3-miles deserves an applause. Don’t wait for others to applaud you. Applaud yourself!
Mantra: I take three steps forward, two steps back but I am always one step ahead.
Cultural Diversity: Every person and being on this planet is different with a “spatial bubble”. Discovering the spatial bubble with respect turns ordinary connections into relationships. I try to ask myself, "What would I like or appreciate others to consider before making a comment, interrupting, or stepping into a private space?"
Dogs have communicative body language signals. Sometimes they watch, wait, breathe and learn. Other times, they jump, twirl, pounce and knock us over. Which are you? Cultures, countries and nations have various beliefs, values and customs. Isn't that exciting? Enriching your life can be as easy as learning a new language. Learn to speak dog.
Death and Grieving: Being at peace with death and dying is being at peace with living. Grieving a loss is a natural process that I choose to do in my own way. Vegetarians die and so do meat eaters, some before the other. Dogs die too soon and some humans live too long. People who meditate die and people who are kind die. It is a normal and natural process. The goal might be how to live a full life. When one door closes, another one opens. If a door is too much wind, then look out a window until you are ready to open it. For some, death is a release to a pain free ever-lasting life. Coping with Grief (not etched in stone).
Decision Making: I make decisions well, when needed, and reserve the right to change my mind. It is my right to take some time to be confused. When I am am confused and can't make a decision in the moment, I take a walk with my dog or sit quietly and ask for help. Oftentimes, whether it is difficult or easy decision choices (new career versus what color socks to wear), I simply let it go. Letting something go even for a few moments, while taking several deep breaths, brings clarity. Almost always, I know what to do if my mind is clear and my body is on a healthy path. I can change.
Deserving: I am! My dogs are. I deserve to be the best I can be and live my fullest life and so does my dog. My dog has a right to play, roll in mud and dig in dirt, just like I enjoy watching a movie or drinking a glass of wine.
Dinner Time: How we eat matters. Every part of our body has a mental pattern that is often conditioned from child-hood. As adults, and for our dogs, we can change our mental patterns, behaviors and eating habits. Do you eat in a rush? Dogs can gobble, but their digestive systems are different than ours, having a strong pH (acidity). Ancient wolfdom comes into play where it is eat or be eaten. What do you and your dog eat? Is it nutritious? We aren't lacking for information on ingredients in our or our dog’s food. Gathering information about eating healthy, whole nutrition will extend our lives and theirs. Balance in eating is a skill that we can develop. Being mindful of what we eat, why we eat, how we eat, and how we feed our dogs is vital for a long, healthy life.
If you feed your dog 2X a time, in a mindful way, asking for attention (watch-me), sit or down,
this is 14 training - relationship opportunities a week – joyful easy training (JET).
Divine Guidance: When I meditate, even for a few seconds, I ask, "what is it I need to know?" At some point during my day, I get an answer. I know there is a divine power much bigger then me. The universe is infinite. Energy flows through me (all beings). If you listen, you will hear. If something is going wrong or you make a mistake, this is guidance. Find a place, your little space, to sit quietly, relax and connect to the intelligence and intuition within. Allow noise and happenings to float by. Whatever I need to know is revealed in the perfect time / space / sequence. Is a path being offered to you? Do you see it? Before you go to sleep, ask. When you awake, remain calm. Try not to HOP out of bed for a few moments. Lie still. The answer may appear.
Dogs: Dogs make us better humans. They lead us to paths, connecting us to places and people that we may never meet without their guidance. Knowing that they join us for such a short time, let’s dedicate ourselves to making the world a better place for dogs. In doing so, we make it a better place for ourselves. It begins with awareness, education, relationship and well-being. If we do not take care of dogs (other species) on this planet, then we do not care about ourselves. Dogs are a mirror / reflection of us. We expect a lot from them (therapists, companions, seeing, hearing, guiding us). Oftentimes, they give up being dogs to serve our needs. Wolf spelled backwards is Flow. Dog spelled backward is ... well ... you figure it out. The sooner we get this, the better off we'll feel as the supposed higher species.
Doing (action): Flowing with life effortlessly is not EASY in a zoom-zoom world. Feeling good enough does not mean having more. Usually, I have what I need. A positive attitude through all kinds of experiences is my right. I have endless ways of creating things. The results will be whatever they turn out to be, not mistakes, but lessons for doing it better next time. Whether I choose to snooze, walk my dog, cannonball naked or create a one of a kind architecture is my choice. Whatever adventure I choose, it will be what I am suppose to do. Planting a tree or a small seed in a pot is an accomplishment. Planting a tree as a celebration of someone’s life is a good choice. Brushing my dog or going to a shelter to brush five dogs is action. They are all living beings. It is my choice, in that moment, at that time in my life. Doing nothing - my choice!
Down: Puppies sit and lie down when they are two weeks old. We humans are not the grand creator of these behaviors. What we want is for them to do what we ask, when we ask, and right now (sit, down, stay, stand, come, take-it, leave-it, gentle). The list of teachable’s are endless if we notice our dog’s strengths and joys. Shaping the behaviors are fun and valuable for healthy, happy dogs. Teaching with patience, kindness and understanding - easier.
Dreams: Dreams are my haven. Before going to bed I shut off the days events and bad programming including the news. I don't allow that to invade my peace. Dreams can teach us if we listen to their messages. Going to bed grateful is a good beginning to a sage night's sleep. The sage will present itself in many forms depending on the day or what's happening in our lives. Using positive affirmations like I am well, grateful, safe, and tomorrow will be a new day re-programs our minds. Dreams manifest our stress. Are you running, lost? Listen, and when you wake, don't move, breathe. Have a journal / notebook and take a few moments to jot down what you remember, good or bad. This will help you create positive change. Listen to your dreams .
Drives: G.E.L. Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger, we make lifestyle choices that guide us. We have DNA from generations before us, but it is diluted. We can make decisions to change. THOR’s big hammer won’t bonk us on the head saying NO, YOU MUST NOT CHANGE!
Dogs are born with inherited breed traits / drives. These can range from weak to strong, conditioned or not. Like children, puppies can be taught to control their drives with direction and management from us. We share drives with our dogs like chase, prey, fight, flight, freeze, appease and faint. Humans can be in a situation of learned helplessness and so can dogs, complying in horrible situations. We can teach our dogs what to chase, when, how long and or not to at all, redirecting to a suitable alternative.
Addicted? Dog’s drives may be akin to our human impulses, desires and addictions. If they do not have an outlet for their anxiety, stress and energy, then it manifests into destructive behavior.
There is nothing better than chew therapy to relieve stress. Now, tell me, why do you want me to come to you? Do you have another stick, a treat or just because ...