Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Train Dogs with a Chocolate Treat!

I saw a neighbor put their Christmas lights up yesterday and the panic of shopping, cleaning, decorating, eating, and entertaining entered my mind in a scrambled mess. Next, flashing forward to New Year’s Eve, I reminisced of last year’s resolution; to become healthier and to lose 20 pounds (not to look better for any tiny dress but to live better in 20 years).

My holiday hustling mind was instantly eased into celebration.  I had not only made my resolution, I had conquered it! January 1, 2014 was not a crash diet/work-out regime….I did not get myself in motion until July, and even then I was slow to act. Procrastination and lack of motivation were my only excuse.

I was perfectly capable of eating right. I had done it many times. I just chose not to. Never really having a gigantic weight problem, I figured I would “catch up later”. My Mom (at 72, who is always skinny, can walk faster than us all, and treats a carbohydrate like the plaque) would always subtly hint, “they say obese people got that way by gaining only 7 pounds a year…..” I would joke about the M&M’s, brownies, and cookie dough… a true chocoholic to the core of my soul!

When my Yoga twisted sister offered me my first ‘diet’ chocolate shake in March, I shrugged her off as health crazed and ate Toll House cookie dough instead. By July, I noticed my sister was not only very flexible but also looking fantastic! Since we look somewhat like twins…this was not a competition I wanted to lose. I drank the chocolate shake, and ate the ‘diet’ cookies too. Then, I drank more, and secretly started eating more cookies. They were a chocolate dream to me!

By the end of the month, my pants starting loosening up and my sister proudly pointed out our success. I reluctantly and big sisterly admitted that she was on to a good thing. Those chocolate shakes and cookies had whittled me into my proper weight zone and balanced my blood sugar in the process. I had a zip in my step, and strength from my success as I continued to indulge myself in my chocolate laced world. No longer did I crave a cheap imitation sugar fix, but started making healthy choices and even started doing push ups again to balance and tone the body I had newly created.

As a dog trainer by profession, I visit many homes and see the inner workings of private lives.  I have always noticed the effect of imbalance in people’s lives and how it affects their dog. I have been blessed enough over the years to be able to know who I can successfully help and who is going to have trouble. Unfortunately, success has very little to do with the dog and everything to do with balance of the human.

Not a psychologist by trade, and with no desire to be one, I ended up having to guide people in finding patience, breathing more, finding humor in chaos, and seeking strength in working out with their dog. All this reasoning was with one intention…to balance the dog.

However, as we strive to balance the dog, we began to balance the home. I started noticing arguing spouses beginning to show endearing behavior, and parents beginning to give boundaries to unruly children.

I began to realize that balancing the dog required a lot more than just teaching obedience and manners to my K-9 client. Dog training became a complete life system that stretched way beyond the dog. I have seen a dog rip a household apart, and stitch a family together, all due to lack of balance. We are able to rehabilitate the dog with their family by re-building the infrastructure. The chocolate shake helped re-build MY infrastructure; a balance of my mind and body.

Hiring a dog trainer is often a hint of seeking balance, or order, or peace. A dog is a mirror and will reflect what our system sends out. When I meet a dog and their person, a whole story unfolds in front of me, and yes, it is true that a dog’s tail does not lie.

So, how the heck did a chocolate shake change my way to train dogs? The chocolate shake  "RESET" program helped balance my sugar, my energy, my core, and built my strength. Through feeling better, my attitude was improved, my patience was enhanced and my daily life was more enjoyable.

As I constantly learn to improve myself, I can now help others improve the relationship with their dogs in new ways as a Usana Independent Consultant. I will always continue to train dogs and I still have a fond memory of my love for M&M’s and Toll House, but my life is more than ‘just’ a box of unhealthy chocolate!

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