Over the last few years, I can’t help but notice the quirky parallels between dog training and man training. I’m not a bra blazing feminist or an over bearing girlfriend and I’m not a yank-and-crank dog trainer. In fact, I don’t even believe in ‘training’ any sort of animal or man (huh?!). I just like the catchy title! Another title could be “Leashing the Bitch in You”, but that’s still a little shocking. What I do firmly believe in is learning how to live with love, positivity, passion, happiness and balance so that I can better communicate with all people and animals in my life. They say that you can’t change men and I agree with that- but I do know that I can change myself to become a happier more loving person. In turn, my man (and anyone else that you interact with throughout your day) will react to my actions and behavior in a more loving, respectful and compassionate way.
Gandhi says it best, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” If you want to influence anyone’s behavior- whether it’s a dog, a child, your mom, a neighbor or your man- you must first change yourself and dedicate yourself to being the most compassionate, loving and happiest person that you can be. Nobody likes to be around a Debbie Downer or a Negative Nancy, but lots of people and animals want to be around the person that exudes love, acceptance, happiness and joy. Be Joy!
Training dogs has taught me that they are simply a reflection of my own behavior and they will mirror my attitude, energy level, and presence in the moment. If I want to truly connect to a dog and if I want to transcend the species communication gap, I have to truly commit to giving my everything to the moment and time that I am spending with the dog. I have to make the most out of every single interaction because dogs are constantly responding to their environment and my reaction to their behavior. If my mind is spinning out of control and thinking about all of the stresses in life- car problems, man problems, whatever problems- the dog’s mind will also wander and a leaf blowing across the sidewalk will quickly become more interesting than me and my petty little problems. But! If I’m completely living in the moment, smiling, giving my full attention and using a happy voice and only thinking about the joyful creature in front of me- we become one entity connected by the mind on a spiritual level that transcends language. You can call it meditation, an out-of-body experience, or simply love.
Communication, through spoken language and body language is a vital part of our lives that allows us to live in social groups and also live harmoniously with different species of the animal world. Sometimes those species may be dogs, or even men. Both men and dogs are hairier, smellier and often more simple than women yet we manage fall very deeply in love with them. We love dogs for their loyalty, companionship and playful personalities, and we love men for similar characteristics.
Sometimes however, the communication between women and these other species goes awry causing major culture clash, emotional stress and sometimes abandonment. The culture clash refers to the two different worlds that dogs and people live in, as well as the two different worlds that men and women often live in. These worlds and ways of life all intersect and are often very fluid, however they often clash. For instance, dogs are expected to live under a human’s roof, but we often forget that dogs are animals and would naturally sleep under the stars or in a den under ground if they were living as wild dogs. Instead we invite our dogs to sleep and live in our houses, but oftentimes instead of showing our dogs how we want them to live in our culture, we yell and scream at dogs for peeing on the floor. In dog culture, there is no difference between the outside and inside of a house, and carpet may seem like very soft grass. It’s up to us as humans to learn how to communicate as clearly as possible cross-species so that we may live harmoniously with positive energy and pure love.
As for men and women, our human culture has been made to be very gender specific and since birth we are socially constructed to be Man or Woman. Girls wear pink, boys don’t cry. Parent’s communicate these ‘differences’ from the start, but when girls and boys become women and men in the dating world, these differences in way of life sometimes collide. For example, women often complain that their spouse should just know what they are thinking, but men are not psychics and are often not as analytical as women. Instead of flying off the handle and bitching and yelling at our significant others, there are more positive and effective ways of communicating our thoughts and wants. For instance, if your man always says that he will be home from work at six, but then doesn’t get home till seven and you yell at him the minute he steps through the door, he’s not going to want to come home any faster. Instead, sincerely and happily be excited when he comes home, especially when he gets home somewhat earlier than before. Give him a big smack on the lips, lots of hugs and whatever else, and then let him have his space and veg. He’ll start wanting to come home faster and earlier. I’m not so much a traditionalist, but more so a purist who believes in effective communication and positive reinforcement to live more stress free.
There are no written answers about how to know when you’ve found the ‘One’, or whether or not you are in a good relationship because every relationship is different and every relationship has it’s benefits and downfalls. There’s countless books written about how men and women are different and how to date, how to get married, how to have kids and how to get a divorce. However, there needs to be a manual about how to live harmoniously through clear communication between different species. How to ‘train’ yourself to communicate your desires, needs and expectations in the most positive and succinct way. So instead of yelling at your man and your dog, you can start training yourself to be a more balanced, effective and happy individual who knows how to clearly communicate to the animals and people that you love most in your life. That way everyone can live happily, respectfully and peacefully under one roof.
The man that I love with all of my heart who I strive to be a better person for everyday.