I'm staying with a friend of mine who is a very successful executive. He used to work from home before getting a huge contract at a Fortune 100 company, so he's not in his home office any more. He invited me to stay here, and so I'm sleeping in the office of an incredibly successful executive, investor, director of some large public companies, and otherwise incredibly prolific and brilliant guy.
It's 99% pleasant. We get to have brilliant conversations about money, strategy, investing, history, governance, travel, and so on in the evenings and weekends. I normally don't like chaos, but the home office is the most wonderful blend of chaos I've ever worked in. It's stacked with stuff - a couple of iPads, old discarded smartphones and Blackberries, a wireless printer, luggage, filing trays, tables. On the top shelf out of reach is a gigantic Grey Goose bottle, a painting of Buddha, and some sort of ornate chest.
The 1% of unpleasantness? My friend has a gigantic wolfhound. In the morning, someone picks up his dog and cares for it during the day, and the dog comes back at night.
It's a beautiful dog. But it doesn't respect anyone except my friend, and it wants to jump all over me or whoever else is nearby. He's clawed the hell out of my arms and I've got cuts on them. I need to study basic dog survival techniques post-haste because it's a little ridiculous.
This dog could cause massive problems for anyone. It's huge. It's enormous, with tons of weight and power and energy. And it's a hyper dog that doesn't like being inside, and we're on the 16th floor of a highrise.
But my friend, ever the commander and executive, has asserted that he is in charge of the dog, and not the other way around.
When the dog starts to get hyper and want to jump or destroy something, he calls her and says, "Dog! Go HOME" - and the dog slinks to his large indoor doghouse and lays down.
Only once that I've been around has the dog disobeyed him, and he immediately roughly grabbed the dog by the scruff of the neck, said, "Dog! Where is YOUR HOME? You need to GO HOME! GO HOME!"
And thus, the master is still the master, the dog is still the dog, and the dog quietly does the master's bidding instead of jumping all over the place and destroying things.
A couple days ago, I advocating reminding yourself that "Self Destructive Is Generally Counterproductive" when feeling the urge to go against your long term goals. That little phrase is incredibly useful for staying on track with your goals.
Mark Bao wrote a nice reply analyzing why it works -
My thought is: [reminding yourself that self-destruction is counterproductive] triggers a subconscious memory of when you first decided to set the goal, and reminds you of why you did it and what you imagined the end result to be. With this perspective floating in your mind, the urge to do better and be better, because indulging does mean a net negative, overpowers the nagging thought of the satisfaction of indulgence. This reminder gets you into the perspective and mindset from when you set your goal.
I agree with Mark. I'm largely convinced that our thinking/decisionmaking systems are divided into the older, animalistic systems that have urges to jump around and do whatever, and the more newly evolved neocortex where our high level thinking and executive ability comes from.
To be very effective, then, the neocortex needs to train and subjugate the old animalistic systems, so that your natural inclinations become more gradually in harmony with what your higher-thinking human side wants you to do, instead of just the urges to jump around, eat some junk food, and have sex ASAP with whatever is nearby.
Interestingly, my executive friend doesn't use "the stick" very often with his dog. Over 90% of the time, it's a friendly and loving relationship. Even when the dog is being bad, 9% of that time he just implies that he'll get tough by speaking her name in a firm tone. Only 1% of the time does the dog actually push its limits and try to see who is in charge.
I think that's a healthy relationship with your mind if it can be built - but it only comes from good training. My friend consistently asserted and built up his understanding with the dog since it was a puppy. By training well, he doesn't have to get tough or nasty very often.
Likewise, by setting up good structure and training your emotional/animalistic reward system well, you don't have to get tough with yourself very often. Even when your urges start to slip from your goals, a calm warning like "Self destruction is generally counterproductive..." pulls the animal side into line.
And thus, the master remains the master, the animal the animal, and you don't have your more primal systems destroying your goals and objectives.
Now, if someone could recommend me a good fast read on dog training, I'd mightily appreciate it...
Hello Sebastian. There is several things in you post today.
First. Quick trick. If you want the dog to stop jumping on you. When it puts its front legs on you. Gently squeeze the paws with your finger. Dogs paws are sensitive and this will create an uneasyness in its paws and it will get away from you. Then if it does it again. Do the same trick. It is just a question of repetition. The more the dog gets the same result out a an act, the more it will associate the uneasyness with the fact of jumping on you and it will stop.
Second. Dogs psychologic is base on pack psychology and territory (there is much to develop on the strategic side here). Your friend is the leader of the pack. Therefore the dog respects him. In the dog's mind it is probably second in command thus less respecting you. You'll have to make your terrotory. This does not meat that you have to piss all around your friend`s appartment. But when you stand somewhere, the dog must understand that this is your place for now and it has to respect it. You have to show the dog that you are second in command after your friend. Don`t worry. Not like humans, the dog will not feel diminished or frustrated against you because of that. It understand the hierarchy and territorry. It is just the way it is for them. You have to be more dominant than it.
Third. It is a very good thing that you`re friend has somebody to take the dog out every day. His dog's genetica is made for the outside and the wide open. Can you imagine if someone would take you from travelling in Asisa and confine you into an appartment in Boston, not allowed to go and and do anything all day? You would go mad. That's exaclty the same thing for dog. If they don't get exercises every day, they eventually get soooo frustrated that they go mad. They then out of the blue, jump on the neck of someone and kill. Now lets not be over dramatic here and state that your friend's dog WILL get to the neck of someone. But remember that it needs it load of energy depletion every day.
On the Strategy side. There is much to say about the pack structure of dogs and... or "modern" organizations. We have a leader at the head and everyone follow his/her orders. When ever the leader shoot, most people piss on they leg, bow the head in submission... revelting isn't it? :-) Never the less true. Eather one want to accept it or not. If you accept the concept. Then you can study it, understand it and use it. If one don't want to believe it true. Because, after all, We're humans, not animals. Well then, lets just says that sooner or later, I'm affraid, they are going to be... "used" by people that uses it. I shall discuss about it a little more on my Blog.
One last thing. A good book on dogs is Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems from Cesar Millan.
"Don't shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor is an amazing read on dog-training, dolphin-training, people-training and several related fields.
It's primary "skim this even if you don't read anything else" contribution is a division of positive and negative reinforcement (2 categories) into four sub-categories each (8 total), with extensive examples and description.
Also lots and lots of good anecdotes from a former animal trainer, and good descriptions of the differences between training basically domesticated animals and basically non-domesticated animals.
The smoke seemed to have a mind of its own. Filtering from the owner's cigarette one table over, it conjures images of a snake-charmer playing a flute. It seems to defy physics in how it dances through the air.
The bar was ever-so-slightly slightly too dark for what we were trying to do, the main source of light filtering through Chinese-style red paper lanterns as we were poured through the financial ledgers.
A long pause sets in, we're almost done and getting through the last 10% is taking an effort.
The waiter tells me that the coffee machine is broken and that they're out of chicken pies. Okay, water is fine then, thanks.
We finish going through the ledgers. I'm tired, but not like my two long term friends here. They're both entirely worn out.
I met Abbie quite recently and was struck by what a loving girl she is. She loves to play, she's a bit shy, and she is such a sweetie! I just wanted to take her home with me. She is so good - she only climbs into one chair, and that one only after she was invited - but now that is her spot.
Abbie is another foster dog I've photographed in my volunteer work with BFPA. If you want to meet her and adopt her, please contact Best Friend Pet Adoption, a no-kill animal rescue organization based in central North Carolina. The folks at BFPA are fabulous and have so many animals who need new human families. Do please support them.
Here are a few images of this sweet, sweet girl. I think she's just saying, "Take me home! I want to be your Valentine!"