Now before you run off to the nearest RSPCA centre and start crying foul, let me say categorically “I HAVE NO INTENTION OF STRESSING A COCKAPOO!!!”…period. It’s a hypothetical question which was prompted while I was observing our Cockapoo, Ralph.
Now I have never owned a dog before we took the plunge and bought our ‘furry bouncer’ into our ‘tidy’ and somewhat pristine life (and home). I mention tidy because only a few months prior to Ralph’s arrival we changed all the downstairs carpets.
For over 25 years the previous carpet had served us well but with our family long gone I thought bugger it let’s give the house a full face-lift so down went a light…and I mean LIGHT pattern-less carpet. Now to be fair, at the time I didn’t realised that within a few months a ‘muck carrying sponge on legs’ would enter our world, making my decision to shell out the last of my son’s inheritance on floor covering, seem like a bloody ridiculous investment….one of many I have made over the years.
Anyway I digress somewhat…but this gives you the picture.
I am sure that other Cockapoo owners would concur when I say that these wonderful little creatures are just the greatest companions…and bring so much happiness into our lives.
When we are out walking, Ralph takes on the stance of his dad, a spaniel, head down, arse up disappearing into the thick undergrowth, hedgerows or woods to spook a few unsuspecting birds. But then at night when the doors are locked, fire blazing and Mrs C and I fully relax, like his poodle mum, Ralph relaxes….and I mean seriously relaxes. Arriving home from a long day on the road or just putting the bins out and the way Ralph reacts would make any casual observer think that I had just returned from a 9 months sabbatical, rather than a day at the office, or a 30 second walk to the end of the drive, such is the enthusiastic nature of his welcome. And smile, oh boy does Ralph smile.
So yes we have a very happy and stress free Cockapoo. And that is how we want it.
But has it been plain sailing I hear you asked? Christ no!!
Ralph nearly went back on various occasions and it was only the intervention from an animal behaviourist that persuaded us to keep him. The key he told us is to be consistent and persevere. And that is exactly what we, including the grandchildren, did. Like the human animal Cockapoos learn through habit…do something good then Ralph gets a treat…do something bad then no treat…and do something seriously bad and it’s the naughty step for him…or the equivalent!!
So how would we stress Ralph?? That’s the question.
Well the answer would seem pretty obvious. SIMPLY do everything we have done BUT in reverse. I don’t think it would have taken that long with Ralph, as a puppy, to destroy his spirit if we had applied a negative stance to EVERYTHING he did, chastised him at will and deprived him of any love and affection. Because before the behaviourist, Ralph demonstrated many of the characteristics associated with a wild animal and had we just have added fuel to his natural instinct, then a wild self-protecting STRESSFUL creature Ralph would have become.
One way or the other, nature would have ensured RALPH’s survival.
Now Ralph has just turned one; equivalent to seven in human years. Which ironically coincides with the period when the foundation of our lives are formed.
For Ralph the future is full of positive expectations. He is not going to give a toss about how he looks, smells (and boy that can be unpleasant at times) or how others view him. Because he will spend most of his time with us, he won’t be party to any unpleasant treatment or mental cruelty. His performance won’t be judged against others so he will never be chastised for failing. He won’t be judgemental and will assume others love him as much as he does them. His programme of fears formed by the opinion of others e.g. low-self-esteem, criticism, aggression, will be absolutely minimal and therefore his life, in the main, with be STRESSLESS. With a clear mind from negative beliefs he will enjoy many hours of sleep or just relaxation without a care in the world. He won’t have to deal with poor management and never have financial worries. And with his relationships. well as long as we are consistent, his life will be emotionally blissful…and that is exactly how nature designed it to be.
Is there seriously anyone out there who would NOT prefer their life to mirror that of Ralph, rather than the crazy world that we have sold our souls to?
So what went wrong?
Well let’s look at the facts.
Here we are, arguably the most intelligent animal on this planet, struggling with a shit-load of psychological and physical ailments which if given the choice we would never have chosen. And that is the crux.
NONE OF US HAD A CHOICE TO BECOME THE SELF-SABOTAGING PROGRAMMES WHICH NOW CONTROL OUR LIVES AND WERE CEMENTED INTO OUR SUB-CONSCIOUS BEFORE WE WERE OLD AND MATURE ENOUGH TO QUESTION THE WISDOM OF THOSE CHOICES…BY DESIGN!!!…YES BY BLOODY DESIGN!!
Like with Ralph, the human animal learns through repetition and habit. FACT!!. But unlike Ralph where his ‘training’ by design has been consciously positive, for the majority of us our ‘training’ was unconsciously negative. Why? Because regardless of how hard our parents may have tried to steer us down the right road, with the negative programmes handed down by their parents and the immense pressures placed on them by the modern world, inadvertently WE, yes YOU, simply learned from observing and being party to their negative behaviours. And furthermore through the interaction with others; siblings; children; teachers and influential others (all with their own negative programmes), then more ‘self-sabotaging’ thoughts and beliefs would have been absorbed, which by the age of 7 would have formed the foundation of the ‘person’ YOU are today…warts and all.
So I reiterate I have no intention of stressing a Cockapoo but perhaps more importantly I intend spending the rest of my life, with my colleagues, through this platform, providing every one of our growing tribe with positive and simple tools that will DE-STRESS and thereby help them affect the changes they desire to make their future more like Ralph’s rather than the one mapped out by well meaning, but seriously screwed up, others.
The first tip is as follows.
Simply go back to your early years and review those confrontational or negative experiences which you inwardly know influence or control your emotions. Don’t fear or get drawn into them, simply view them as though you were observing another child, from your adult’s prospective. When I went through this exercise I realised that many of the things that troubled me as a young boy, when viewed from my adult perspective were rather inconsequential and to be honest bloody ridiculous. And this is the key. If we don’t question the foundation of our crazy thoughts and behaviours we will end up believing them and thereby allow our past to control us…forever.
For me being called ‘stupid’ on various occasions by exasperated teachers, was all about their inabilities and limitations, not mine.
But nonetheless ‘stupidity’ stuck and secretly stayed with me, influencing my health, career and sometimes crazy behaviours, for over 50 years…I mean that is seriously stupid!!
Take care…it is a tough world out there!!