Friday, July 27, 2007

The Don Whisperer

I'm a lazy git. Well, when I'm not working I am. I guess maybe just evenings and weekends when I sleep all the time. Am I working too hard? Am I expending everything I have to offer my new life here in LA at Revchem Plastics?

Truth is, I think I'm actually not lazy per se, as I am inactive. In my old job at Revchem in Tacoma, I was a lot more active. I was running around, pulling orders, carrying heavy things, unloading trucks. I was support for the operations there. Here, I'm the leader of the operations. I have two employees who do all the things I did in Tacoma. So I sit in my chair at work, I talk on the phone a lot, and work out logistical problems, I deal with personnel issues, and then wonder why my back hurts, my body is sore, and I'm sleepy all the time.

The blood, it does not flow... as much. Cindy to the rescue, or something like that. So my darling wife has found new zeal in life through that show "The Dog Whisperer" starring Cesar Milan. She checked out his book Cesar's Way, and over the course of about a week she read it cover to cover. Suddenly, the dogs HAVE to be walked every night, and I feel like a jerk because I'm too tired to go with her. One evening she really wanted me to go with her and I was really not in the mood, and needless to say the air was pensive for a while. All the sudden she wants to do all these new things, and it's starting to impose on me.

Well practicing what Cesar was teaching her, she stayed calm and assertive, and when I was done with my tantrum, I followed our new pack leader. Turns out not only do the dogs need daily exercise and discipline and affection, so does the husband. I began to read the damn book. You know what, the guy makes a lot of sense. His approach is easy, natural, and improves relationships not just with dogs, but with other people. Well, actually, it also improves your relationship with yourself. You begin to understand what kind of role you want in life, and that you are the one who gets to choose what that is, as pack leader. Now it is up to me to also be a pack leader for our dogs. I can't let Cindy be the only authority figure for those two little sausages.

Then, as you probably read on Cindy's blog, the two of us watched the entire disc of "The Dog Whisperer" she got from Netflix. Every single problem the people were having with their dogs was a direct result of not being in control and being dominant over their dogs. Many of examples Cesar used to help the people understand what kind of role they had to take up were examples from their work, or as a parent. If you are calm and in control and provide clear boundaries, you will get the results you want. Allow too much freedom, and there's chaos and you are no longer in control.

I too Seumas for a walk one night using the new leash technique I'd just learned. I took the chain leash, and latched it to itself so it became a choker leash. I put the leash high up on Seumas' neck, just under his jaw, and led him around. We didn't move until he was relaxed and submitted to me going first. Then, with slight corrections which involved a slight tug upward on the leash bringing Seumas' head up, instead of nose to the ground, he was no longer darting in front choking himself to death trying to drag me. In less than a minute he was trotting beside me relaxed and happy as I practiced good posture pulling my shoulders back and filling myself with confidence. It's amazing how much easier it is to breathe when you're not slouching like I am right now as I write this.

Ahem. Okay, corrected.

Suddenly several things clicked into place. I needed this exercise just as much as the dogs. I need to take better care of my body. Just because I'm skinny doesn't mean I'm healthy. So did I go with Cindy tonight to walk the dogs? No, I was too tired and didn't feel like it. Am I going to challenge myself to walk the dogs when I don't feel like it. I'm going to try real hard.

Because like correcting bad behaviors in your dogs, you have to make those corrections before they escalate. If you can be observant enough to correct those tendencies at level 1, instead of trying to arduously try and bring it down from level 10, success will come quickly. This carries over to a lot of areas where there needs to be authority structures. At work it carries over for me as the new boss, where I have to demonstrate my authority, yes even dominance over my employees. I've been a bit soft in my authority there. Some of the personnel issues (preexisting mind you) were allowed to flourish even though I was taking corrective measures. Demonstrating and demanding the respect that is needed to be a good leader requires, REQUIRES not domination but assertiveness and being collected and in control. You're not always going to be calm, you're not always going to be in control, but if you can roll with it in the moment, even more respect will be gained. And then you give respect back when the behavior you observe is what you want. Now of course this only works at one level with humans. On top of that, you have language to deal with. That's a whole other topic. The words you choose to say your piece.

Now that I've digressed, back to me being lazy. (correcting my posture again) Change is hard. Rest is still needed, but so is exercise.

Next, I might reflect on biodiesel and Volkswagons, versus a MiniCooper. In the meantime, here's a little Google search for you: Make your own biodiesel at home!

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Good luck with the puppies! I've found the same with the labs...they are such better dogs with some exercise under their belt.

But I don't mind that Kev doesn't come with me. I leave him at home with Patrick. I get alone time. Daddy gets Daddy time. Doggies get some leash luvin. :)