Friday, March 15, 2013

Brockle Update - My Chops are Busted Yet Again.

Before we start - How many of the current or potential Mugs/Big K Clinic participants  have had this thought run through their mind?
"Wait, I'm meeting all these bloggers face to face? I have got to lose some weight!"
Yeah, me too.

Life is so complex, so confusing and such a friggin' day to day test.

I'm telling you though, the older I get, the more trials that are presented and the more tests I survive, the clearer the big picture is.

Brockle is a perfect example.

He is a brilliant, loyal, hard-working, total pain-in-the-ass.

I am working with a pretty hard-core (as in serious and accomplished, not mean) dog trainer. I'm not going to out him yet. I'm protective of the people willing to go out on a limb to help me. Plus, I'm still studying, listening, learning. You guys know me well enough by now, I absorb the whole experience. If I begin to study with a pro I do what they ask without question. I'll go home, think about things, practice things, then go back with my questions. I want to make sure they have a point and don't come from my own emotions.

This way, the trainers I work with become very open and willing to discuss theory with me. Once I've got the theory, I can analyze technique within the parameters of what I'm being given. If I find myself fundamentally disagreeing with a theory, I'll start working on a new one. If I agree with the theory, but am struggling with some of the steps taken to get there, well, I'm not going to quit on the concept. I will however, try to get the same results with a different approach.

Also, I don't want to waste my $$ telling someone I'm paying MY theories. I'm there to learn his. And his technique. And timing. I am there to pick his brain.

I'm not an easy student (ask Big K), I watch, ask, think, ask, practice, ask, make the poor trainers head ache with analyzing everything and anything...but I'm polite. I also bring beer.

Brockle is benefiting enormously, even at these early stages.

So, I'm not introducing my dog trainer yet, I will when I'm a little further in.

 Now back to Brockle. He has learned the way to get me moving and doing chores (feeding the dogs being one of them) in the morning is to wake up Snocone. You see, once Snocone wakes up, I immediately take her outside, because if I don't, her little Mill Dog self pees on the floor. Then, because it's reasonable to start chores, I do.

Brockle used to go bug Jim, but he got yelled at (by Jim) and locked out of the bedroom.
So he quit that and moved on to Snocone. She yells at him too, but then has to pee. I have to take her, because she doesn't quite get the doggie door concept. Brockle wins.

This gets more complex. Brockle knows if he wakes her too early I'll just take her out, come back and start writing again. So he doesn't wake her until it's reasonably close to feeding time. Both Snocone and I resent the hell out of this BTW.

He learned to open the windows in the car. He only opens his window. So now I keep them locked.

We don't play in the house. He's too big, Jim and I have shaky balance, there are a lot of dogs in here, so we don't play.

Brockle will get his ball out of my coat pocket and very quietly play bounce/catch by himself in the other room. Tell me this isn't smart.

He also puts toys he wishes we could play with inside the house in my coat pocket or my walking shoes.

Charlie, my honorable rat terrier, is not the bully in their relationship, Brockle is. I'm relieved. Charlie has always been serious and thinks he needs to add his opinion to every dog interaction, but I've never thought of him as a bully.

I told my dog trainer guy about the aggressive play-fighting that goes on between them.
He said, "Brockle is pushing him around, Charlie is responding. So Brockle gets the "Off" command and Charlie gets "Good Dog!" Brockle is being a brat and a bully. He only gets a "Good Off" if he actually listens listen to my "Off" and leaves Charlie alone. Which is beginning to happen.

So here's the biggest eye-opener I have been given with this dog training gig.

If I anticipate and try to avoid problems with Brockle, I am not successful in communicating what I want.
If I assume everything will be perfect, give plenty of room for mistakes,and don't hang on too tight,  I get my message across very quickly.

This is what I've been fighting with the horses and my riding/training abilities for years.

I hold, I fidget, I anticipate problems. Then I get everything I was inadvertently asking for, fidgets, setting against the bridle and my legs, and every single issue I thought I saw coming. Dang it. K will think this is so funny.

On my horses, instead of thinking ahead about where I'm going to turn my cow, or how nice the sun will feel when we make the ridge on our trail, I'm thinking about too much speed through the corner, the way Madonna's ears pricked at the big scary cement blocks...and I end up dragging her down in the arena and getting a big fat spook at the cement blocks.

With the dogs, when I see another dog coming, my reaction is to tighten my grip, keep looking at the dog and his owner, and try to read what could go wrong so I can prevent it. I get the old lunge and drag every time.

When I relax, look ahead, assume Brockle will be good and just get on with things, he's just about perfect.

When I ran into trouble with my high-school age daughter, I clamped down hard. We switched from a  bosal to a mechanical hackamore, and I held those roping reins in a death grip. She sucked back hard and bucked even harder. Oh, wait, I'm talking about the kidlette...ah, same difference.

Once I sighed, found my center and let her go, well, I got her back.

My life right now makes me desperate to find some element of control in the middle of all this chaos.
I bet I'll get a handle on it if I remember to keep my reins loose, my legs logical and to keep thinking forward.

Keep the feet moving, leave the head alone and always have my forward.

It seems so simple. Who knew?


Anonymous said...

...sounds very familiar, the anticipating bad things to happen and then having the self fulfilling prophesy thing happen. I think that's why I liked endurance so much, I was too busy most of the time keeping track of things that really mattered that I didn't have time to worry about stupid stuff. I do better in "real life" too when I keep moving forward and stop anticipating.

Cindy D. said...

Wow. I'm going to have to print this and keep it with me, so I can take it out and read it through out the day, weeks, month...hell for the rest of my life.

Good stuff Mugs.

Heidi the Hick said...

Yeah this another one I'll bookmark for future reference!

Your dog is frighteningly smart. And really friggen cool!

So this reminds me again of the theory of expectation I'm developing. AND. How when I was a kid someone told me to gather up the reins a little tighter when a car was coming down the road behind us. I tried it and it resulted in head tossing and jigging. I didn't like that. So I quit that. Actually I started up an inner chant of "it's a car I know what cars are they don't eat horses" (come to think of it I may have said it out loud. I sometimes forget what's in and what's out of my head.)

We get what we expect?

mugwump said...

"We get what we expect?"
Funny how rarely what we expect is what we want...

DeeDee said...

I teach a course on creating. The immediate sound bite is "What you hold in your counsciousness tends to manifest."
Further proof, I guess.

Mugs, it has been so interesting since you came out of our closet and shared about yourself and jim. And the dogs have added to a reality of you that was behind the curtain with the little man pretending to be the wizard of Oz.

Sometimes I miss the illusion that you knew o all. Then I remember how much more I feel able to try what you are suggesting and seeing myself succeed. Cuz I know you are human and a sister of mine. I even come up with ideas of my own now and experiment. Thanks for your friendship to all of us.

gtyyup said...

Sorry, but I'm a skinny mini, so I'm not worried about that stuff...but I've been researching what we need to get there (brand & health certificates, coggins tests, permit certificates...blah, blah, blah!). And silly me, already trying to figure out what to bring for potluck *rolling my eyes*

Ah simple ;~) When the brain is in correct working order!!! With this new Rastus dog. He's been trained by someone else and knows specific verbal commands...and when things get fast (herding cows), the wrong words come out of my mouth...words that I would normally use if I had trained the dog. So, I've got to learn a new language, and as soon as I say the right command, everything (usually) comes back into order.

shadowlake2005 said...

What Dee Dee said about you and your closet is what I've been wishing I could put into words for some time. And yes, on the clinic, my second thought--right after "OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY!" Was, "I am NOT going fat!"

mugwump said...

Dee Dee -- I'm sorry I presented a "knew all" face.
Even before I started talking about family and dogs I tried to clarify that I was a middle-of-the-road cowhorse trainer who couldn't crack the big time on a fairly regular basis.
I have never felt like I know everything, but I can get pretty adamant on the things I feel strongly about.

redhorse said...

That's funny, I never saw you as a Know-it-all type. In some of your stories I definitely sensed insecurity. Having said that, I do think you know more than me, and more than the average horseman, and you tell your stories in a public forum, which leaves you open to those perceptions.

I know I make problems by anticipating them. I also know I make that mistake when I'm insecure about my horse. There has always been a point in my relationship with all my horses when I was able to let go of that and we could really go riding together. Just the other day I was doing some ground exercises with my horse, (I don't have an indoor, so I don't ride much in the winter) and I thought, and felt that this year we were going to reach that point. I have noticed lately that he gets very frustrated and upset if he tries something and it doesn't go right the first time. For example, if he tries to put his head in the halter and the nosepiece gets in his way, he throws his head and goes into avoidance. I used to think he was naughty but he isn't, he's trying too hard, if I push him to try it makes things worse. Since then I have learned to appreciate him so much more, and we've been getting along much better. So I know we'll reach that point this year. At least, that's what I'm going to keep telling myself.

DeeDee ( said...

Mugs, you never presented yourself as a knew it all. My mind made you into the Wizard of Oz. No fault on you. The sharing you did made you a real person that the Wizard never could be. Real is always better than fantasy except when I don't feel real.

Gals, if 'fat' is your issue, email me. I dropped over 50 pounds. Can get you healthy and into shape for Mugs and Big K encounter. LOL

shadowlake2005 said...

Jeez, no Mugs, I never meant you were know-it-all-y. It was just comforting to see you have your imperfect human real life as well as your frighteningly competent horsey self. That's all I meant.

MichelleL said...

Some smart person once said, "That which we fear, we create." that goes hand in glove with your Let go of the head, keep the feet moving frame of mind.

Thanks for another really good posting.

zebradreams07 said...

A friend's trainer recently said "you have to give up control to get control." I'm finding this applies in most aspects of my life.

mugwump said...

shadowlake- boy do I ever... the life part.

Whywudyabreedit said...

What is it they say? Simple but not easy. Good read, great insights. They apply quite well to my situation as well (much of the time).

greenie said...

One of the things the groomer who trained me always said was; "never assume you're going to have a fight, because you will.

... Hmmm my daughter just fed our dog a purple crayon.... Chaos...

Anonymous said...

Boy - can I ever identify with this one, both with the dog and the horse. Have an awsomely intelligent German Shepherd who can also be a major ass. Half of the people that I train with are afraid of him even though he has never carried out any of his threats. I think he gets his kicks out of that - making noise and leaping around. But put him to work - flawless ... and very pridefull of that fact.
My mare - another exeedingly intelligent, on the ball beastie. I have not perfected the open, clear unfocused self that I need to have to ride her. She anticipates fiercely my emotions, intentions and any other random muscle twitch that I come up with. It can be hard, Mugs, very hard...(especially is you have a brain thats everywhere and nowhere at ninety miles an hour like mine)

2soonold said...

It may be simple, but that is not the same as easy! My brother is always telling me to plan, execute the plan, and then let go of the outcome. Simple, eh? But it is for sure not easy!

Anonymous said...

Our border collie plays fetch up and down the stairs by himself... Then *he* taught my sister to throw the ball back up the stairs for him to catch so they were essentially playing catch.

Francis said...

"If I anticipate and try to avoid problems with Brockle, I am not successful in communicating what I want.
If I assume everything will be perfect, give plenty of room for mistakes,and don't hang on too tight, I get my message across very quickly."

I *just* told my husband this about my horse.. for some silly assed reason I have moved into the "onshitIKNOWwhatisgoigntohappenhere" with this one mare.. she is quick..she is smart.. when her mind is engaged there is nothing that will stop her.. but when shes bored.. you better get a deep seat. I need to work on expecting her to be good instead of anticipating the snort, spin and whatever..

Need to do that with some people too..

Anonymous said...

I've learned that you hold some/one/thing close with a flat open hand, not a fist tightly gripping.

They/It's there because it wants to be, not because it's forced.

Anonymous said...

I've learned that you hold some/one/thing close with a flat open hand, not a fist tightly gripping.

They/It's there because it wants to be, not because it's forced.

Half Dozen Farm said...

Great insight, as usual, Mugs. It especially hits home about the kidlette. My daughter will be 20 in May. And my son is graduating High School this year. I did better with my son because I kind of figured out the "let 'em go" concept by then. My daughter is coming back around finally, tho she lives a long ways away now so it might be a product of "absence makes the heart grow fonder."

And Brockle is scary-smart!!! I can't imagine trying to stay ahead of that one!

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