Some more steps forward

Tick tock… the time draws closer.
Yesterday was a very stressful and tiring day for all of us. The moving people came and took away 99% of our “stuff” (HHG – for the military inclined)
Dogs were pretty darn well behaved – just a few “outbursts” from Gina, which of course set Odin and Azzie off. They spent the first hour on the balcony, just so that they could get used to the moving guys traipsing around the apartment and carrying boxes and the sound of tape being used and things being dismantled and boxed up. Then they got to come out and greet the movers (who loved them, despite Gina’s gold fish memory when they were going in and out of the door, carrying and fetching) and they then relaxed with us in one corner. Husband and I took turns sitting with them, or going and Doing Things, or just taking a little break and stretching our legs.
I took them for a couple of walks (including a 30 minute walk in the early morning before the movers arrived) during the day, and one drive in the car in the BUCKETING rain – just to get them out, as they couldn’t stay on the balcony in that weather! The roads were rivers! I had my wipers on at their fastest setting and it was still almost impossible to see! It was scary, but strangely fun too. Dogs were great, except that when that stormed rolled in, there was violent lightning and thunder and Azzie was a complete wreck. She actually scratched at the balcony door and was shaking and whining and drooling in terror. :( That’s when I took them for the drive – just so they could relax in the car (Azzie and Odin love my car: they feel safe) and get away from the stress of the apartment for a little bit. After that storm, even though it was calm again (just a little bit of rain) Azzie REFUSED (threw a complete tantrum) to go back onto the balcony, even if I sat with them. Eventually, around 7pm, the last box was taken down to the truck and we could close our door and settle in to the very bare and minimal apartment.
We kept the dog beds, and our bed linens, so the dogs had those familiar things to relax on and that helped with their stress levels. I couldn’t find their Rescue Remedy though! I am going to unpack my suitcase and backpack today and look for it. I know it’s there somewhere! I did pack it!

Otherwise, I am quite enjoying the minimal lifestyle that we are now living before the REST of our stuff gets packed (the stuff that flies over, so it SHOULD be there before the HHG) and then it’s just backpacks and suitcases for a few months!

I’m sitting here quietly, on the couch with my laptop on the coffee table, trying to be very quiet while the dogs snooze. There was very loud and constant range fire this morning on our long walk, and Azzie was once again a complete wet blanket. Poor thing. I think with all the stress of yesterday, and then the loud kabooms of today, she just couldn’t manage. She HURLED herself forward from the car and the whole way around and back to the car. Nearly pulled my arm out of the socket numerous times. She’s a strong girl and when she is scared/stressed she is even stronger! I’m not coddling her though – I know that just makes it worse for her – but I am trying to be “gentle”, with a all of them, after yesterday. They were really good, so I’m trying to be calm, serene, in charge for them today.

I really need another cup of tea though… and the loo!
I just don’t want to disturb Azzie, who is finally sleeping properly (no heavy breathing and drooling and shaking) after I closed the balcony door to stop her hearing the explosions from the range.

Ah, there we go.. she has stirred softly… now’s my chance!

Anyhoo – that was just a small update of things so far.

chats

After a chat with my mum about my vegetarian health dilemma, I have decided to continue my vegetarian lifestyle but I now have a new set of tools from my mother: she told me all the things she made me, that I have not made for myself, that helped me stay healthy while under her roof. That was the first 8 years of my vegetarian life, so she did pretty well and I managed to muck it up in just on 2 years, on my own :) So I’m taking her advice to heart, and very seriously, and I’ve also upped my iron supplement intake (now at max) but I can’t up my B12, as that’s already at the maximum and any more is not healthy.

I feel better, after just a few days of this, but it’s early days of course and I have another “cycle” to get through before I celebrate any positive differences!

 

Things are moving forward (FAR TOO) quickly in the whole We’re Leaving The Country saga. Inspectors have come by, transport people have come by. We’ve signed things and set up final appointments, and now, on the (very sensible) advice of my husband, I need to pack my bags and see if I can live out of my two bags (suitcase and a large backpack) for the next few days, until they come to take all our stuff away. That way, I can see if I need anything, or if there’s anything I don’t actually use as much as I thought I would, before it’s too late to change my mind about what I am taking.

I also need to include all the dog stuff that we will have to travel with and have with us when we get there. My husband has to carry all his military gear (he’s also only taking 2 bags: a suitcase and a backpack) so I am (quite rightly) assigned the dog gear.

The closer we get to September, the scarier and more “real” it feels. It’s not a holiday (not that we’ve taken any of those recently) it’s actual MOVING. Taking our lives from one continent, over the ocean, to another continent. Taking our family – our beautiful fur children – and all our possessions – and putting them on a plane (or a ship) and off we go…

Taking my Rescue Remedy now, as things are starting to jump up and down in my mind more intensely. Giving the dogs their own Rescue Remedy (made for pets) and watching for any tummy troubles related. Of course, me being the idiot that I am sometimes, I gave them a LITTLE bit of ice cream yesterday, after our very long lunch time walk. Azzie’s tummy was fine, fine and then bleh. Gina went twice on our early morning walk, but both were good. Hoping she’s ok. Odin’s tummy was fine.

Azzie is getting used to her puppy cut, and Gina is enjoying the coolness of her trim down as well. I’m going to trim her chest and neck a bit more though – it’s still a bit long and she generates a lot of heat in there. I can feel it when I give her a scratch or put her collar on.

What else? Oh, hit another high point this morning… or low point? in my weight loss journey – getting very close to my final weight goal. So that’s cool. Will see how my journey continues when we reach Americaland.

I’m procrastinating. *sigh* I need to Get Things Done.

Still trying to sell Helga (Naartjie is already under new ownership, but the owner is away so he’s allowing us use of her until we leave – he’s awesome) so I need to put an advert up asap, as all other avenues have not panned out. I put up for sale ads everywhere I was allowed, but we only got 2 calls and one of them he said it was too much so I said call back in a month or so…

it is happening again

I’m generally a very healthy person. I love my vegetables and I love fruit and my legumes.

My blood pressure is, on last check up, around 2 months ago, 94/65 or something like that. While I normally have a very low, but HEALTHY blood pressure… I think that’s a little TOO low. My husband was also a little concerned when I told him. I don’t really have issues, normally, despite it being at that level.

I don’t avoid salt entirely, but yes I do keep it to a minimum when cooking and I always look for prepared food with a low sodium level. I hate salty food – too much salt ruins the taste of good food, in my opinion. Like food that’s too spicy/hot. My way of cooking/eating has helped my husband’s cholesterol and salt levels drop to excellently healthy levels, so that’s a bonus.

But the last few months now, I’ve been having issues. Again. The lethargy, the light-headed feeling. The weak limbs. The feeling like my body is moving faster than my brain. Or the other way around. Can’t even work that out right at this moment.

When I was sixteen, I decided I wanted to be a vegetarian (I’m an animal lover, aren’t I?) and my mother was supportive and made sure that my diet was always up to par – I never had a day of trouble, and I very rarely got sick. I went on like that until around age twenty three or twenty four (I don’t remember exactly) and then I moved out…

I tried as hard as I could to keep my diet correct, and eat the right amount of things to keep my iron levels up and my bones and muscles strong. Around age 26, working at UCT, it started really affecting my life. I was too weak to climb stairs – I had to stop every two or three to catch my breath and stop the stars from swirling around my head and the spots to clear from my eyes. I couldn’t drive very well, because my foot would start to shake on the brake pedal, and I was too weak to lift the handbrake on a hill. It was a recipe for disaster. I finally gave in and went to the doctor (I hated/hate going to the doctor) and she said that I would either have to get iron injections (the supplement form would do nothing for me at this point) or I would have to start eating meat again. I am terrified of needles. The thought of them made me feel sick and faint, and having to get them once a month just made my mind go blank and my body go cold. The doctor had to help me sit up – merely at the thought of it. That was another side effect of being anemic and mineral deficient. So I, very angrily/unhappily, chose to try eating meat again. I had to start off very slowly, as my system was by that point not used to having to digest meat, and if I overdid it I became VERY sick and pretty much ended up losing anything I ate… from both ends… (TMI, yes I know – but I’m trying to be honest here) but after a mere month or so of eating meat (mostly chicken, but some beef when I could handle it) I was back to perfect health and had all my energy and strength back. It both disappointed and astounded me. And hurt my heart a little bit. I really tried so hard.

So, almost a year ago now (I can’t believe it’s been that long, but I counted back to the post I made) I made the choice again, to try the vegetarian diet. I thought, since I was more in control of my diet, of what we could eat, that I was making food for me AND my husband (who has remained a meat eater – and that was never a problem for me) that I could keep up my diet to keep me strong and healthy.

It worked… at first. Then about 2 or 3 months ago, during “that time” (not going to go into that any more than I have to – if you don’t understand, it doesn’t matter) I started with the vertigo again. And the nausea. And each time it’s gotten worse. Today, and yesterday, it has been the worst. I feel like my brain is surrounded by cotton wool. My ear is blocked, they are both ringing and my hands keep going numb when I’m lying on my side in bed. I’m feeling incredibly weak. Slow. Tired. My head hurts almost constantly – not a headache, per say, but more a thumping of my pulse through my temples. My heart POUNDS just climbing some stairs, or going up a hill, when it never did before. I can barely run a few meters before I have to stop to catch my breath. This is not good. This is deja vu. My hands shake when I carry anything heavy and my heart thumps all the time. I have to force myself to eat, too. And that is so not normal for me. I love food.

So, I am thinking I need to make that choice again. I don’t want to, but my body is clearly trying to tell me something is wrong. I need to listen.

I’ll talk to my husband about it. He usually has something useful to say.

 

A tiny update

Hello watchers!

I just wanted to give a little update to tell you that I will be posting a longer update in just a day or so – there’s been lots happening in the last few days and I need a chance to catch my breath and sit down and write it all out.

Some positives:

Odin’s interactions at dog obedience/socialisation classes have been AWESOME! He has come so far that people are astounded.

We took the girls to the groomers today – their first time ever having it done professionally – and according to the groomers, it all went well. The young gentleman who was assigned to Azzie got a little over zealous with the scissors (they didn’t shave them – except for their bellies and “bits”) and she has a very short “puppy cut” which makes her, weirdly enough, look even BIGGER than before! But she looks even more like a puppy now. She’s so cute. He nicked her a few times with the clippers or scissors, so she has a few cuts – but they did say she was very “wriggly” and I can well imagine that. They gave us a discount because Azzie’s groom was a little more extreme than we discussed with them. Gina’s was well done, if a little tentative. She was neatened up nicely, but her neck and chest are still a little long, so I might snip that down just a little more. The rest of her body looks GREAT :) I think it’s already making them feel cooler, as when I took them for a walk this afternoon, they ALL (including Gina) wanted to run around and play like mad on the grass together, despite it being quite humid. So that’s great news for them, and for our move. The fact that they handled that stressful situation so well also takes a load off my mind for the big move and them being alone in their crates on the flight etc. We still need to practice that a bit more with the doors closed and me leaving the area for a little longer each time, but I’m more positive now (and also with their previous behaviour in the dens, because they have been really good about going in and chilling without any issues) and it really does lift a lot of the stress off me.

Some negatives:

Odin, when walking with the girls, still overreacts quite badly if another dog gets too close, or is off lead (even far away) but, admittedly, that’s not as bad as he was the first few times. Unless the dog surprises us – then he still gets quite nasty about it. I’m also learning, through all this, that Odin is the “normal” dog and that Gina and Azzie are actually the ones we need to work on!

The big move looms. It’s stressful – even though we are both very prepared people and have set up pretty much all the appointments we have to and the dogs tickets are sorted etc. Moving is never fun, and this move is over oceans and a continent and with our beloved dogs and all our worldly possessions. So it’s Rescue Remedy to glug and lots of meditation and mantras…

Musings

My heart is still very sore over the loss of my Macky-Moo. But it’s now an ache that sits quietly and doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to burst into ugly tears at any moment. It’s a bittersweet ache.

I’ve been thinking a lot about life, about death, about the circle of things. I’ve always liked the symbol of the circle. Infinity. Life, Death, Life. Things carry on, whether we want them to or not. We can’t stop time. We can’t stop the world. We can’t step off and wait until our heart feels less broken, or our mind catches up with us after a trauma, or while we catch our breath and try and get a grasp on WHAT just HAPPENED?!. The Earth keeps spinning. Mother Earth.

I’ll die one day too. This thought used to terrify me when I was younger. Much younger. I thought about these things when I was a very young girl. Especially after losing a member of my family, whether they were human or animal. I could dwell on it for days. A dark cloud settling over me. Because I was such a solitary child, I don’t think anyone really noticed. Which is fine. That’s the way I wanted it. I didn’t like to talk about the way it made me feel. I could talk about it now, I suppose, but years of keeping it all inside make me loathe to start doing that.

Now, being older with more life experience under my belt and knowing that I’m a survivor and that I am stronger than I appear (outside and inside) the thought of Death simply makes me sad – leaving behind the ones I love: human and animal. Not having done the things I wanted to. Said the things I wanted to. I’m not scared of dying itself. I’m scared of what follows. Not for me, but for the people I leave behind. What makes me feel small is that the world WILL continue turning. The Earth will carry on without me (for the moment) and my energy will go … somewhere…. but I have no control over that. I think THAT is what scared/scares me. The way Death takes over and you no longer control anything. Even if you never really controlled anything.

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So after losing Macky, I’ve been dwelling. Thinking. And I’ve been trying, desperately, to live in the Present. For me. For my dogs. For life in general. For the Universe, Mother Earth, The Goddess – whatever you want to call that overwhelming force that binds us all together – so that I don’t go weakly, but I do go calmly, serenely, without TOO many regrets.

With this new thought pattern and attitude comes a curiosity (caused by a dream I had) to explore new ideas. Or old ideas, as the case may be.

The Moon. I’m drawn to it and always have been. Now, I am trying to be more aware of the Moon. Of how I feel at what point in the Cycle it is. I am a woman. I am attuned to the moon. I want to see where I go from here.

The cry of a crow. When you least expect it.

Connected

I have been thinking about one of my dogs back home, Macky (aka Moo – he was Moo long before I met you, Michelle-Moo) quite a lot the last few days, in between my strange dreams about crows and the full moon and being tattooed with black feathers (and a sudden urge to read about old Goddesses and mythology) and carrying a sword.

And a few minutes ago, I found out why he had been on my mind. He passed away today, around 3pm. At the time I was walking my dogs I think and I felt a strange lethargy and I felt quite sad… but I put it down to low blood sugars and that afternoon drop.

My mum sent me a message and let me know and said that the vet (he’s been our vet for over 30 years – pretty much all our animals have gone to him) said that we had done all we could and that it was time for Macky to head over the rainbow bridge. Free from pain and fear (he was blind and mostly deaf and spent a lot of the time not knowing where he was or if he was alone or in company – so he would whine and pant and worry) and anxiety, and bouncing around like he used to in fields of green, chasing a soccer ball (his favourite toy) or sniffing things and swimming and playing and meeting other dogs and walking with them. He was the unofficial Greeter of the 10 ‘o’clock Strollers (a group of us who used to walk our dogs every morning around 1000, or much earlier, especially in summer) and he made sure that every new dog, and even returner Strollers, felt welcome and part of the family.

I will miss my little Moo a great deal – he was a very special dog. I know people say that of all their animals (and I know I say that of mine) but he was truly special. After the horrible start to life he had, his positive outlook on life and happy go lucky attitude never failed to make my heart warm.

He was around 14 years old (maybe older – we’re not sure as he was a rescue with a hard past, as I said) and he had a good long, happy run of life. It still hurts, obviously, but he filled his days with happiness and curiosity and love of life and it was kinda contagious.  Being around Macky was like being around joy on four legs with a curly floofy tail.  You couldn’t be unhappy when you were with the Moo.

 

He leaves behind one of his best friends, Mardi Gras, who took an instant shine to him the moment they met, and that was what made the decision about who we adopted after his previous beloved pack (Molly and Mishka) passed away. She will mourn. Like we will.

Farewell my handsome lad. My little Moo. My little Prince Mackintyre.

 

Take a breath and remain calm

I knew I needed to get Odin around other dogs as soon as possible, despite me feeling very ick after being attacked by the dog just 30 minutes before, but I knew it would be good for us both, so we packed our stuff and I gave the girls their jumbones and Ods and I headed out.
When we got there, he was very over excited and silly. So I made him wait in the car, with the door open, until he calmed down. Then we took it slowly to the arena. Stopping every time he got whining/barky and facing the other way.
He snapped and snarled at all the dogs, even his friend Lotto, so I knew it was going to be a long and trying afternoon.
I didn’t take him in to the socialisation ring – I didn’t trust him at that moment, and he was still way too hyped up. So we walked around and around and I made him sit next to the fence and let the dogs sniff him. He snapped at a couple, but was slowly calming down. As was I. Then a new dog arrived, a boxer named Roxy (her owner is Sarah) and Odin lost his marbles for some reason. So I made a point of following them around and making him sit and face the other way whenever he got snarly. I stayed very calm. My heart rate didn’t even go up. Then she went into the ring to be social, and she avoided the same dogs that he did (the excited dogs) and kept near the side of the ring. So I turned him around and let her sniff his butt through the railing, and then vice versa. Then we walked “together” around the arena along the fence.
He seemed better. He seemed to realise that, for now, the other dogs were not out to get him.
When she came out of the ring, I let him go over to say hello to her and I remained calm, with a loose lead… and guess what…
HE WANTED TO PLAY!!!! There was no aggression, no tension .. .he just wanted to play! So did she, so I let go his lead and they rough and tumbled and played BEAUTIFULLY for a good 5 or 10 minutes!
The instructor and everyone who knows him were SO excited! There was much cheering and encouragement from over at the obedience course!
I was so happy. I recorded a little bit of it to show my husband :)
It restored my faith in Odin, and showed me that it IS possible, we just have to take it slowly and find the right dogs (at first) for him to meet. And remain CALM at all times.
Then after Roxy left, we did the agility course and he did SO WELL! He was bouncing around and happy with his tail wagging, and he did the tunnel 4 or 5 times ON HIS OWN, in both directions, and he did the walkway AND the see-saw!!!! He was TOTALLY keen! Jumped the jumps happily too. His only issue was with the weave poles, but he did those too, with a little guidance from me.
All in all – SO glad we went :) I’m trying to do as Cesar Millan says and take everything as a challenge to be overcome, not something to set us back.

I hope that now we can start getting him to understand that I will ALWAYS protect him as best as my human body can, and I won’t allow other dogs to hurt him and he can trust me to be in charge.

 

I wanted to post a video, but it won’t allow me to upload it for some reason.

You can see it here on Google+ 

 

 

quiet days

Husband left on mission again early this morning – I had to drive him down to where they were being transported from, just before 0100. Took the dogs with, and Azzie (being the sensitive fur child that she is) picked up on my husband’s excitement and nervousness and impatience (the army does things in weird roundabout ways that take ages) and behaved like a complete crazy idiot. She leaped around and barked and whined and bashed into people and pulled me around. Husband lost his temper (not his fault – a lot going on) and couldn’t understand why she was behaving like that – I tried to explain that she was just picking it up from him, but he felt he was being calm and didn’t agree. On the surface he looked very calm, but she’s a sensitive dog, so she saw what was really going on inside him. This was proven when we said goodbye to him and headed back to the car – we were barely 10m away and she was suddenly calm, relaxed, walking easily on the lead with no pulling and no excitement. Hopped in the car just fine and all three dogs were quiet on the way home – heads out the window like usual – and they didn’t even bark at the MP and gate guards like they did on the way out.

So next time we go say goodbye or send him off somewhere and the dogs come with we will ALL be glugging some Rescue Remedy down :)

Dogs are amazing, really. Can’t hide anything from them.

The “silence’ experiment is going quite well: I’ve been walking them in near complete silence, with only positive remarks occasionally. I think that my tone when I speak all the time is perhaps confusing the dogs because my body language says something else, or my energy or something, I really don’t know. Or maybe it’s because by not talking I’m expressing my frustration/annoyance less, so it’s helping me remain calm? Could be a combination of all of that. We’ve encountered a few dogs in the distance and while my dogs have been interested (a bark from Odin, a small whine from Azzie and Gina puts her tail up and huffs) we’ve kept on walking without incident and with very little resistance from the dogs, even while the dog we’re passing by goes nuts on the end of their lead. We haven’t seen the Smug Man and his Husky recently: that will be the ultimate test for this experiment.

 

Now I have to get back into “mission mode” while my husband is away. I have to stop checking my phone for messages, and stop expecting to see him pull into our parking lot in Helga (our BMW) or hear his key in the front door lock. Will take a few days for me to sleep as well. Always does.

 

Some things

The training is coming along. Still trying to find my “calm-assertive” side. I tend to not lose my temper, but I get frustrated/annoyed and I am more forceful than necessary (or so it seems to me) – I don’t mean physically (I don’t hurt my dogs – never would, never have) I just mean… I over do the … tone? Trying to find that balance. Sometimes I get it, and it works, and I get instant results, so I just need to keep at it and keep consistent. I’m trying different “people” to “channel” for the right idea on the attitude… but so far Cleopatra hasn’t worked (I have no idea how a queen would act, much less an Egyptian one) and I don’t see Oprah Winfrey as much of a role model I’m afraid (and before anyone harps on about racism, that’s got nothing to do with it – it’s more like I don’t see her as a role model to copy for the attitude I am trying to convey for my DOGS) and I’ve looked at male attitude role models too but I can’t seem to “hold on” to the tone/energy/attitude if something happens on the walk. If nothing happens, sure – we do fine. But if there’s a cat following us, or a loud child wanting to PAT MY DOGS THEY’RE SO FLUFFY I WANT TO TOUCH THEM NOW NOW NOW, or a dog walking in the reasonably close vicinity, or Odin picks up a scent (rabbit, cat, dog, deer, crow – it doesn’t matter, as he just locks on and that’s that) or Gina wants to go home because she thinks my husband will be there (she’s very focused on his scent and can pick it up even if he DROVE BY over 30 minutes before we pass the area) then it all goes back to square one.  I’m trying to visualise as well… but my scattered brain can’t hold on to a positive image either. Negative, sure! Easy! But positive? It’s like the whole thread cutting thing I spoke about in a previous post. Can’t let it go.

I want to get a martingale collar for Odin as well as he finds it way too easy to slip out of his skull and cross bones cloth/cotton/whatever it is collar. He also pulls so much that it stretches out and slides off even more easily. That’s just dangerous when it comes to him, because if he slips that collar and chases off after a cat/deer/rabbit/dog … there’s no stopping him. He doesn’t have any road sense (except to be scared of noisy cars and big trucks, but that’s about it) and once he’s locked on, his ears turn off.  *sigh*

We’ve had some really good walks together recently, though, the four of us. So I need to just focus on the good ones. And in terms of him listening to me when we’re at home, he’s come a long way as well. He’s allowed to bark, just like the girls are, but when I say “enough” that means stop. And 99% of the time, he now listens. Sometimes he gives me a last word, because that’s him – but mostly, it’s good. And he and the girls are also much better at the front door, if someone knocks or if my husband comes home. They’re learning to give space and wait patiently. Gina is actually the worst culprit when it comes to disobeying the rules. She thinks they don’t apply because she’s daddy’s girl and he lets her get away with everything.

Husband is off again on another mission soon. Thankfully not months this time – because that would be pretty hectic considering we leave Germany soon!

The dogs and I have been training with the dens (we’re calling them dens, not crates or boxes) and all three of the dogs are doing SO beautifully with it. Azzie goes in on her own, without a word from me, and even Gina is getting the idea now. They lie down, wait patiently for me to let them out, no stressing, no worrying. Odin rushes in a bit, but he’s fine once he’s in. He lies down and waits. Lots of treats and praise and it’s all going well. Only thing is that despite measuring Gina many times, I realised that she’s too big for the XL den, and will also need a giant one, like Azzie’s. So I took the XL back and put in an order for another giant, but there’s a waiting list for them and we’re right at the bottom of the list. For now, I’ll just train her in Azzie’s and hopefully we can get her own one asap. I’m still training them with no door on the den, and one at a time, so it’s fine. But when I start putting them in for a few minutes, with the door closed, then it’s going to be more complicated.  I am very proud though, of all three of them. I was positive and up beat and pictured what I wanted and they complied. I was very pleased.

 

We’ve had some pretty hot weather the last week or so – in the 40’s (Celsius) for a few days in a row, dropping into the high and mid 30’s.  A while back my husband and I bought them a pool (made for dogs – nice and tough vinyl and it can be folded up) and I decided to put it on the balcony for them on some of the hot days – they LOVED it! Eventually Odin even lay down in it to cool down! They all love it and they squash together and splash around in it. I put towels and large dog blankets (made of cotton) down so they can dry their feet off when they come back inside, without making a huge slippery mess everywhere.

 

We’ve also been down to the secret pond a LOT and Odin is getting so brave now that he goes right up to his neck and wants to swim, but hasn’t gotten up the nerve JUST yet – which is probably a good thing, as I feel a bit unsafe on my own there with just me if something should go wrong.

Our first real walk

I’ve been watching Cesar Millan’s show for quite a long time, but never fully “got” how it worked until I watched the last few episodes where he explained how to find the _actual_ instigator of trouble – the one with the over excited energy, usually – and correct them first (and usually if you correct them the other members of your pack don’t need to be)
Well, I’ve always thought it was Odin, or even Gina – but I’ve been observing them all for the last few days when I walk them, trying to figure it out… and it’s Azzie (I had an idea, but I never really _saw_)
I finally saw it! I corrected her – basically ignored the other two… and wow. She back talked me, as she does, but I was calm, in charge, corrected her again more firmly… and bamm. Sorted. We saw the two little Daschunds that caused her (and then of course Odin) to go completely berserk before… and we walked by them, even with them (the weiners) prancing around at the end of their leads, trying to get their owners’ attention.
I have also discovered the correct _pace_ to walk at, and that they sniff when i say so, and I am in control now.
Long story short – I FINALLY HAD A PROPER WALK! A REAL pack walk. I feel… amazing… it’s like exercise endorphin… i’m HAPPY, elated… but I feel… powerful. It was so COOL! I walked, they walked next to me (or behind me, as Gina does) and there was NO tangling leads or twisting around me or standing in front of me etc… we just… WALKED!
I did “picture it” first, before I even put their leads on… and it works. It really works.
*beam*
Of course we will still have our bad days, nothing is an instant fix and it’s a mental state I have to keep all the time, but if I can just remember this feeling, and go back to that state of mind… things are going to get so much better for my whole pack. :)

 

This morning’s long walk was a little more trying, but I did see traces of _something_ happening… but we were not quite there yet – Odin fought with me to stay next to me (he wanted to go ahead all the time) and Azzie kept barging over as well. I almost lost my cool, but stopped and took a breath and we carried on.

We had a lovely swim session in the secret pond as well – happy dogs :)

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