Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cesar Millan strikes the Sunday NY Times again

First it was the business section. Now my hallowed Sunday New York Times has gone and sullied the front page of the STYLES section with more of that press that Mr. Milan, he of the Dog Whisperer fame, seems to garner -- this time crediting him with Child Whispering!

To his credit Mr. Milan never does not formally or publicly opine about teaching child rearing -- focusing on his dog training methods of discipline and his trinity of Exercise, Discipline and Affection equals happiness and the gist of the Business Section article a few weeks ago -- keeps him plenty busy.

But he does admit that as a native of Mexico he adheres to a more traditional, hierarchical child-rearing philosophy. He's quoted in the NY Times as saying, "for thousands of years, the elder has always been the pack leader, it's never the child. In America, kids have too many options when they only need one: 'Just do it because.'"

I wholeheartedly agree that there are many parallels to parenting children and dogs but there are also differences -- on so many levels -- starting with a more contemporary awareness of human development than just adhering to thousands of years of the traditional Mexican child rearing approach -- and a more scientifically proven awareness of dog development. This is where to begin to parse out that both young, tween and teenage dogs and people really don't want to be pushed on the neck, sshhhttted at or grounded without electronic privileges.

Children and pups do crave benevolent leadership in their caretakers -- and clear clues on what to do and how to earn rewards. And when it can be learned and applied that either or both journeys can be a sparkly one.

I navigate between the flotsam and jetsam of 3 active daughters, 3 dogs and 3 cats. Every day I get to fulfill my bliss helping others learn how to navigate their own course in pet training. There is a chaotic but lilting harmony enhanced by the need to frequently wrangle dust bunnies that illustrates just how satisfying my own journey has been and continues to be. And while I could sure use some better discipline about getting more exercise, here at Camp A Better Pet we all get and give lots of affection.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holistic Options • Bach Flower Essences

Benevolent Leaders employ multiple tactics in their campaigns to win converts. Benevolence begins with awareness. You can't be proactive in approach to things if you're not aware that they're there!

Holistic orientation is an important component in the human • dog relationship -- whatever the function of the dog. It is your role as the human who has brought the dog into your life [and presumably into your home].

Often I am asked about various modalities so I thought since I hadn't done so before, I'd write them here. I'll be covering a wide array but today I'll start with homeopathy and flower essences, specifically Bach Flower Essences.

Essentially if there is a conflict in a relationship, whether between a person and a pet or a parent and a child or a boss and an employee or a customer and a cashier get the idea, conflict suggests imbalance. Imbalance affects your mood and affected moods can effect behavior and certain behaviors dogs do annoy us.

If our being annoyed causes more imbalance because of the stress the dog feels from being a source of disappointment, and dealing with your reactivity, the benefit of a remedy is to balance so stress is reduced and improved relations occur.

This is not like taking an aspirin to eliminate a headache but more like learning how to balance on a a see saw or balance board.Ask yourself what behavior your dog is projecting -- overly confident, very shy, territorial, fearful, possessive, restless, etc., -- and review the recommended essence and the goal for what your pet will tip over towards.

It's important to become more observant about the behaviors your trying to address so you can be more aware of even minute measures of change and to be flexible and patient in your approach. Don't define them as human emotions, just observe actual behaviors -- outward or inward ones.

I can tell you I use rescue remedy myself which is a combination of several essences you can read about on various sites including the ones included previously and here.

If you're anticipating stress (i.e., HOLIDAYS!!!!), Rescue Remedy will help you cope! And deliver a more patient you who can practice The Six Pillars of Dog Training Wisdom and become ever more so the Benevolent Leader.

More holistic thoughts coming soon.