Thursday, March 31, 2011

Energy

Every dog trainer is different, and every is dog also different.  Whether you like or dislike the methods of Cesar Millan, there is one central philosophy that can be taken from him and his TV show that is highly valuable.  He teaches people that their own perceptions, feelings, and experiences directly impact the way we relate to our dogs, and that balanced, calm, assertive energy is what dogs follow.  And what people follow, too.

For example, I have experienced Nyxie to be reactive to other dogs, and I carry that fear of what's happened in the past with us on each walk.  Therefore, that anticipation and anxiety creates instability that Nyxie reacts to.  She's tense, anxious and reactive.  Well isn't that baggage unfair to her!

While I walked the girls today, I decided to concentrate on calm, assertive energy as Millan encourages on his show.  I employed a finger snap and that "ch!" sound when I saw Nyxie starting to escalate.  I physically stood between her and the glass slider, correcting her when she started barking crazily at my neighbor walking her dog.  

Guess what happened?

Nothing.  No crazy dog flying off the handle.  No lunging at the glass door.  No pulling on the leash.  No reacting to another dog barking at her in close proximity.  My calm, assertive energy won the day.  Even Arwen responded well on our walk - no leash pulling.  It was invigorating, this new strong energy!      

So we're starting over.  No more nervous energy.  That's something I struggle with at times in all aspects of my life and it's quite limiting.  No more.  Wish me luck, folks.  But I won't need it - just my own inner strength.

18 comments:

  1. Agree..we love Mr Cesar
    Benny & Lily

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  2. That is pawesome!:)

    Love,
    Teddy Bear

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  3. I agree. I have been working on it quite a bit myself lately. Works wonders. Though not alwasys easy, as I am a Nervous Nelly myself most of the time. I wish you Good Luck anyways, because I think what your doing is very cool and I know how difficult it can be. :)

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  4. Great job. It is amazing what the dogs pick up on, isn't it?

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  5. Mommy loves watching Cesar!

    Happy April Fool's Day!

    Woofs & hugs,

    ~Bailey

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  6. Congratulations on your accomplishment. Enjoy the rewards!

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  7. Strong positive energy is focusing and calming with dogs, with people, within ourselves. You made an important realization in your approach and it proved successful...Congratulations. Now keep up the good work (because consistency is also important) and push that positive energy outward into every aspect of your life! You will be amazed.

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  8. Well that was a reward for Mom! Good show!

    Wishin I was waggin at ya,
    Roo

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  9. I agree with you too. I'd tried that with Eva and found out that when I was panicky, she sensed it from me and she didn't behave well either. When I was calm, she was much better.

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  10. Hi, I saw you over at Sarge's blog and thought I would come over and meet you. I am Fern. I love love love dogs and I wish I could have more then one at a time but our Dad says only one at a time so that is that!!
    Come over and met us if you have time and would like a new friend.
    xx Bambi (dog) & Fern

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  11. Totally agree...energy is so key. We are in agreement with Cesar and we see how that works all the time. They are very sensitive to our moods and energy, they take their cues from us! I think Hu-Mom deserves a treat! Ice cream anyone?!

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  12. I'm glad you've decided to be brave and changed your attitude for the sake of your dog. Being calm is a lot like a breath of fresh air, while being anxious feels like choking. Good luck!

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  13. So, so true. The more we learn to stay calm and focused, the more mentally healthy and happier our dogs are able to be.

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  14. Woot woot! That is an achievement for sure! We've been trying that approach with Felix, who beleives that every square inch of the whole neighborhood is *his* and everyone else should STAY OUT! Positive vibes are winning the day!

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  15. I've been working on the very same thing with my Mango. We started with a new trainer who focuses on being a calm leader. After just two classes it has already made a difference for both of us. That said, hard to let go of those feelings when you see your dog starting to question whether or not to launch a fit at a kid with a backpack. One of the things that I am trying to do is get in front of him when I see something scary and focus him back on me. Not always easy, but this is the best he has been in a long time. Keep on working.

    Mango Momma

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  16. Well, I'm jus goin' to have to tell Mom bout dis. She flys into panic mode if we just look out da door.

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  17. Oh my, can I ever relate to this post!! I went through this exact sequence of "realization, change the human behavior" experimenting. Although I'm sad to report, it didn't work the same for me. I'm one of the Cesar fans, and I believe in the approach you describe 100%. It just doesn't work with Lady. I guess dogs are different, and the approach that works for one (or even "most") doesn't necessarily work for all. That being said, my projecting calm, strong, assertive energy as we approach the other dog certainly doesn't hurt.

    And she has gotten better over time. Her crazy dog "fits," when they happen, generally are shorter-lived and less intense than several years ago. Stopping and attempting to redirect her focus on me, making that "chi" sound, or using a clicker, or doing anything else when stopped doesn't work at ALL with her. The approach that works best (recommended by a professional trainer we consulted) is for me not to react to her fit at all, and to keep moving, very no-nonsense. The trainer has me instead reacting to when she's doing things right. Giving her reinforcement when she's calm and not reacting to the dog/object/whatever. Easier said than done. It is very hard to do and say NOTHING - not even 'No!' when your dog goes bonkers. I try though. If you haven't seen it already, you might enjoy reading the post on my blog titled "Lady, Beautiful Enigma."

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