Strength vs. Force: Instead of getting the upper hand, extend an open hand

Bill’s Tip for October:Train-wreck

The other day I happened to be hiking behind a young couple old-school training their dog, “Lily.” I know Lily’s name because every three or four steps the seemingly well-intentioned pair would yank the dazed Lily to them shouting: “Lily! Heel!!”

Sorry, Cesar….
The above antiquated, yet still popular, “Alpha Dog” technique aimed at dominating an animal into cooperation is unhealthy for everyone involved. Recent scientific findings indicate that wolves living in natural family configurations and environments behave cooperatively, not competitively.

In other words, dogs are not vying to control you, rather, they are looking to get along with you.

I have found, over the many years of working with people and dogs, that they are intrinsically “good.” Behavioral problems (in both species) almost always pop up as a result of trauma. I immediately sensed that Lily was a beautifully natured creature connected with her surroundings and wishing to happily greet the other dogs and people along the way.

Clearly, Lily’s human companions (driven to follow what they had been taught) were not aware of their dog’s in-the-moment joy. Sadly, the couple’s method of training would eventually imprison Lily’s friendly essence and, ultimately, cheat them from the experience of learning what Lily has to teach them.

Instead of getting the upper hand, try extending an open hand.

Let’s make October the month where we set down our blind allegiances to outdated habits, our need to be right (and therefore make others wrong) and our desire to win at all costs. Try emptying your head of pre-conceived notions you have about you and those around you (people as well as animals) – Then enjoy what happens. Can we grow if we don’t allow others to show us the way?

Let’s stop this train wreck once and for all. Let’s invite everyone (including ourselves) into an environment of learning, growing and understanding.


Phillip’s tip for October: The Power of “Yes”

How easy it is to say “no” when people ask us to do something out of our comfort zone. The older we get the more pain/injury adverse we tend to become.

Are you in a rut, comfortable with the life, yet feeling stagnant?

Try this. Go snow skiing and take note of the small children: Giant grins on their faces, they have no fear as they tear off down the snowy slopes, They are not risk adverse – they are seizing the day!

At a certain age we become self-conscious. Very aware of what others think of us, we may limit our participation because these activities may be perceived as “un-cool.” I dropped out of high school concert band for this reason, which is sad because I love music and missed out on developing this talent.

Don’t say “no” without considering personal and future possibilities.

Is there something you have wanted to try but never have? What’s holding you back? Have you lost your childlike faith in the world?

Consider saying “yes” to opportunities that come your way. A phone call from a friend which takes you to gathering where you might otherwise have been uncomfortable just might lead to a new job lead, a new relationship, or an array of fun times and good fortune.

“No” can lead you down the negative path of limitation. Move in a positive direction by choosing a healthier alternative. Carpe Diem!