Lessons in Life (and where I found them) Part 2
And where I found them
I was often confounded by the fact that I had so much struggle with life despite the fact that I could see no particular disadvantage in myself. My social skills were likely the main culprit, and as such I continued to struggle to the point that I almost stopped interacting with people all together. Probably for the better because I have always been a contemplative person and I had enough on my plate inside my own head without dealing with the complexities of others.
Eventually I realized that this inward cycle could not continue. I was so far behind socially from my years being home-schooled and my choice to be reclusive that I realized that I needed to figure out how this game worked. It started with a job waiting tables. Forced conversations with strangers for an understood reason seemed like a start. I took some speech classes which I surprisingly enjoyed that gave me the platform to put out some of the mountains of topic that had accumulated in my brain from years of near silence. This also allowed me to explore into my interest in psychology. Understanding why people do what they do has always been fascinating to me. I later came to find out that the reasons behind animal behavior and human behavior are very similar. Dogs are actually much simpler. The neat thing is once you understand how a dogs mind works the principles apply to almost all of your human reactions. They work just as well, but no one can put their finger on what you are doing. It’s a great pet to have. Pun intended.
In efforts of acceptance I studied into ways to make my body better which led me into sports medicine, anatomy and kinesiology. I enjoyed Biology. It made a lot of sense to me. Basic principle is everything is always trying to stay alive. Seems simple but when you guide all your questions with that in mind you will be amazed at the profound nature of that concept. This also helped me in the long run of dog training. Since survival is not so much of a factor anymore, you can move to the conclusion that dogs are not good or bad they just try to live in their environment in the best way they no how. As soon as you know that you can start teaching the environment to react certain ways to each behavior and the dog will naturally fall in line. We will go in more detail about this in future posts.
I had an English class in a grade I can't recall where our teacher taught us Latin roots as a part of the course and I found that so helpful in my learning of language. That was one of the first English classes that I did well in. Since my dad, now passed, had started teaching me German as a child I elected to take German in HS which I followed up with in college. I decided to be a communications major with focus in foreign language. This included a study into the very nature of communication itself. I found out that words have no meaning. That'll shake your conceptions! In an encounter of communication there is an exchange of words of which the sender (the person talking) has a frame of reference (set of experiences that they draw meaning from) the words have meaning to the sender and then are sent. The words then lose meaning but act as a code and are received by the recipient. This person has their own frame of reference and assigns their own meaning to them. When you are taking into account distance and distraction and other factors the chances of the sender and the recipient having understood the conversation exactly the same way is less than likely. Great! As if it wasn't already hard enough..... These lessons, however, let me have a good idea of how to focus on speaking in a way that is listener focused and when you apply that to dogs you have some real success!
I did well in these classes but the structure of my degree plan had me taking many other courses that I was not so interested in. Even math, that I was always good at, and even had the opportunity to teach a week of geometry in High School, found me less than interested and thus failing. long and short. College didn't work out great for me the first time. *hint- that is not foreshadowing.
More to come
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