Like You Mean It

black-lab-pup2.jpgLast week I brought home a four month old black lab foster puppy from Humane Society who needed to recover from a bad cold before he can be adopted. Max is an even bigger sweetheart than I expected, but as you might guess, has had no training whatsoever.

I figured as long as he’s hanging out here, I may as well help him get a couple of commands under his belt. Luckily he’s smart and loves treats, so he’s making my job easy.

I’ve been through a couple of professional dog training classes with my pups, so I know how to do this. “Sit.” I say it once, I say it with conviction, and I say it with a treat strategically placed to get his nose up and his butt down.

Max mastered Sit in less than five minutes.

I’m so proud of this guy!

So we moved on to Lay.

“Laaaaaay.” I moved the treat to the ground to encourage him to bring his nose to the ground. But he wasn’t getting this one so much.

Okay, back to Sit to give him a reason to be praised. Bam! He knows that one like a champ!

“Laaaaaay.” He’s still confused. He doesn’t understand what I mean.

I already know he’s a quick study; he just proved it with Sit. What’s the deal?

After we run through it a couple more times, I realize the difference is ME. When I say Sit, I say it like I intend him to do so. When I say Lay, I say it more wondering if he’s going to get it. I’ve got this inflection in my voice like it’s more of a question (will you Laaaay?) rather than a command I expect him to follow.  For some reason I must think Lay is trickier than Sit, from the way I’m behaving.

And, of course, we get what we expect. So it’s not that Max is challenged with Lay, it’s that I am.

My professional dog trainer girlfriend once told me she realized that dogs weren’t following her verbal instruction, they were following the pictures she had in her head. If she said “stay” but she was worried they would run (and had a picture in her head of them running), they would run. If she expected them to stay put, they would.

We’re doing the same thing with the Universe. Some things we’re confident about and say with a commanding voice and complete expectation. Other things we’re not so confident about, and it shows in how we FEEL as we make the request. The Universe is answering our vibe, not our words.

You probably have a couple of things in your life that you’re completely confident about.

Like, I always knew if I could get an interview I could get an offer. I also know lights burn out when I’m around and that I’m a rock chip magnet. If I had that same confidence about how easy it is to live in harmony under one roof with my sweetie (Russ), I guarantee I wouldn’t have hired two different coaches to help me through it. (Hey, at least I got help on board to amp up my vibe!)

Where in your life are you asking – instead of telling – the Universe?

Russ noted that I only said “Sit” once to Max. (When he makes my dogs sit for a treat, he’ll say it at least three times before they have a chance to understand he’s serious. They know how to sit, they just don’t get asked to do it very often.) I told Russ I was training Max to answer on the first command. Why would I do it any other way?

Indeed, why would we?

Because we doubted it? Or doubted ourselves? Because we weren’t sure it was really possible?

Well, it IS possible. Whatever we can imagine, we can have be and/or do. No limits. No catch. No fine print.

About a month ago Russ opened the gates to pull his car out (I wasn’t home), and pit bull Joe very uncharacteristically (I wonder if Russ was worried that he might?) made a dash for the opening.

Now, Russ is a nice guy with my dogs and everyone loves him. There’s not a lot of discipline (he’s following my lead, I’m sure) and maybe because he knows (I think) I’m the boss of my house, he doesn’t throw commands at the dogs very often. When he says things to them, it’s more in an asking tone than a telling tone.

But in this moment, Russ changed. He yelled Joe’s name in a way Joe had never heard from Russ before.  Russ said it like he meant it. And Joe hit the brakes INSTANTLY, whipping around to run back in the yard and see what he could do to please this authoritative new master. It wasn’t even the words that mattered – just the tone in Russ’ voice that made all the difference in the world.

I’d liked to have seen that!

And I’d also like to see us say it with conviction next time we put an order in with the Universe. Let’s say it like we mean it and let the Universe bend over backwards to please us. Anyone with me?

(D’oh!!  There I go again!)

Less question – more authority!  “Join me, fellow creators, in getting our instructions authoritatively to Universe in a way that gets delivered instantly and impressively!” Ahhh

.. that’s more like it!

  • January 15, 2008
  • Yeah – my coach today said it like this: “hope is wanting with doubt.” Knowing is wanting with belief. Or belief is wanting with knowing. ha ha Something like that.
    Big difference in the vibe, huh?
    Thanks for sharing your experience here, Flavia!! That’s exactly why you are so amazing at what you do!! WOO HOO!! (Give us a link to your cool site next time you post!)

  • Flavia says:

    I love this post! I distinctly remember dealing with a person once on a vibration of “I hope it goes well”. And the second time, (having gained clarity from the first time when it was good but not quite what I wanted) I felt this power coming from within and I declared exactly how it was going to go, I owned it and it went even better than I thought.
    Great reminder, thank you.
    Congratulations on the new blog! It ROCKS! Well YOU ROCK! The site is just an extension of you.

  • Ha! I love that, Andi: “Time to boss the Universe around!” Yes, Universe likes hearing and responds well to our conviction, doesn’t it? Same with kids.
    I can see how you’re doing a great service for the families you work with. Must be rewarding work!
    Thanks for reading and especially for commenting, Andi. And for letting me know you like the new look! 🙂
    Much appreciated!

  • Andi says:

    Hi! This post really made me smile at how similar kids are to dogs. I am an in-home therapist working with kids and their families, and a common issue I see is parents doing exactly the same thing you did with Max. “Honey, do you want to go to bed now?” instead of “Honey, it’s time for bed..go get your pajamas on, please.” 🙂 We work a lot on intention and how it comes across in what you say.
    This post also started me thinking about my own life and what I’ve been asking for without much conviction or authority…the list is long… Thanks for opening my eyes. Time to boss the Universe around!
    PS. The new site looks awesome! Great work

  • I suspect you model that quite well, too, Rick. Very nice mantra. Thanks for sharing it!
    You know, you hit on something I hadn’t thought of when I wrote this. That is how it feels when WE know we finally really mean it.
    Like I flirted with and thought about and dreamed of being a coach for a LONG time (two plus years maybe). It wasn’t until I quit my job, that I was finally acknowledging to myself that I meant it.
    And that’s when everything changed. It changed how I felt.
    Hmmm. I’m going to have fun these next few days noticing when I feel the “mean it” vibe versus the vibe of less conviction.
    Thanks for posting, Rick! You always get me thinking!

  • Rick says:

    I love this post Jeanette. It is so true for dogs and I have forgotten it lately because we have some fence missing and all I can think of is Picasso sneaking off (you know how pit bulls love to travel). Thanks for the reminder.
    I find that it works with people too: me and others.
    When I speak love or encouragement or joy or excitement or negative stuff for that matter, if I mean it (vibrating it) they get it.
    It’s part of the be here now thing: we honour others and ourselves by being truly in the moment with each other.
    You’ve probably heard this one before, but when Thich Nhat Hahn is with someone (anyone, everyone) he says the following to himself with loving intent:
    I see you.
    I see your beauty
    and I feel your pain.
    I am here for you.
    I do my best to model this. I find it honours me and others.
    Anyway, I hope I didnt wander to far off topic.

  • Yep, Universe can hear us when we’re iffy about something. And it responds iffily.
    Claiming something for real is a powerful way to go.
    Thanks for reading, Kirsten – and for the kind words about the remodel and especially for posting! I love having a chance to converse with people that I wouldn’t normally get to chat with.

  • Kirsten says:

    Thanks, I needed this article–what a great way to explain LOA. Declaring with enthusiasm and authority is the way to go about it.
    And, lovely new site!

  • I think you’re right, Leslie! That clarity and strong desire crowds out the other other potentially “tainting” thoughts.
    That makes me wonder …
    when Sadie had been strangled by her collar (her brother’s tooth got stuck in it while they were playing, and it got twisted to the point where she couldn’t breathe) and I ran up to the scene where she was laid out on her side, not breathing, tongue black, eliminated her bowels, I thought she was you-know-what.
    And I just had this clear STRONG sense of “NO! NOT THIS!” Like I just flat out refused to accept it. This is not happening. NOT THIS.
    Someone got the wrong script. I am NOT doing this!
    I had just lost my two dear dogs months before, I wasn’t giving up my new dog, too.
    It was certainly not a positively-worded affirmation. (But those have worked for me in the past, too: “Today, I am NOT claustrophobic.” Ta da!!)
    I wondered about that day with Sadie, though. I mean, that was strong resistance I was flowing – and yet … well, I told Verrall to push on her lungs. He did. Nada. I told him to breathe into her nose. He did. Still nothing. Not any sign of life. I told him to keep pushing on her lungs. I didn’t know any dog CPR! I just knew NOT THIS. This one was not happening. I wasn’t accepting this.
    Verrall stared at her with tears in his eyes like all was lost. He was positive we’d lost her. But I knew this wasn’t happening. Not this. I was POSITIVE not this.
    And eventually, like LONG minutes later, she breathed. (Seemed like 30, but it was probably around 10 from the time I got there.) And eventually opened her eyes. And eventually she tried to hold her head up. Which she couldn’t do at first. And her tongue was hanging out like she had no control over herself. It took about an hour before she could attempt to walk, by which time we’d gotten down the canyon and to the vet’s. But I wonder about that experience.
    What the hell was she thinking? That I would let her go?? Yeah, not that. Not that day.
    So I told this to Joe the other day, too, when he was doing his weird routine at 4 in the morning. “Do what you want, buddy, but you’re here for the LONG HAUL. Hear that?? LONG HAUL. I’m going to sleep. See you in the morning.”
    I don’t know what my ability is to dictate how long someone hangs out with me, especially if they had other plans or commitments. (I suspect none.) But I knew I wasn’t going without Sadie.
    PS – I love your KISS acronym! Hadn’t heard that before – it’s perfect!

  • Leslie says:

    I know when I “instantly” create something it’s because I have asked for it in a very clean clear way – “with authority” if you will. As a friend of mine used to say I own it!
    Maybe there aren’t any other thoughts with it lol and that is the trick. And absolutely animals pick up on the pictures you are sending so when you send Max a picture of lay down and then you think another thought…well of course he is going to follow your train
    of thought.
    Isn’t that always the way the simpler and more direct the request the quicker the manifestation, it’s when we start adding clauses that we extend the timeframe or divert the manifestation.
    KISS Keep it simple (and clear) sweeties!
    Love Leslie

  • Shama, that means a lot coming from you! Thanks for the thumbs up. 🙂

  • Ha! I’m glad I’m not the only slow learner, John. I found that in class as well – it was mostly for people than for dogs.
    From the sounds of it, you might have gotten more benefit from your class than I did mine. I wish I could say Koda’s obedience was “astonishing.” My story about chows being stubborn might be contributing to our less than astonishing obedience. lol
    Thanks for posting, John!!! You know how I love hearing from you!

  • Shama Hyder says:

    Love your new blog design Jeannette! Just gorgeous. = )

  • Peregrine John says:

    I could bore you to tears on this one. Suffice to say that (a) when I took my dog to be trained, it was mostly me who got the training; and (b) the teacher had a bummer of a time trying to convince some of the owners to not say commands like a question.
    After the series of classes, the communication between my dog and myself was wonderful, his obedience was astonishing, his happiness was obvious, and the way he looked at me has no description other than “worshipful.”
    This has many applications, some more obvious than others. Attaining a friendly understanding with the Universe seems one of the less obvious ones.

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