Posts Tagged ‘puppy’

May 28, 2012

Raise the woof

9:15 am - Posted by Gregg

“If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise” — Unknown

As some of you know, I am the proud puppy parent to an adorable little ball or fur named Latte. Since he’s a mix of two smaller breed dogs (Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier) and because he was the so-called runt of his litter, Latte’s weight has peaked at just over 6 pounds. Add this to his lighter fur color and I’ve been armed with the aside that ‘Latte is as close to a Size 0, natural blonde as I’ll ever get to being.’

And yet, all kidding aside, I have been very careful to never feed Latte more than he needs – not to mention to always make sure he eats very healthfully and gets enough exercise. People joke with me about being obsessive about Latte’s health and weight. And I must admit that I am. But this is because I’m often appalled at the number of overweight dogs I see when taking Latte to the nearby small dog off-leash park. Out of the corner of my eye I’ll spot what I think is an animatronic footrest waddling across the park – only to later realize it’s an extremely overweight dog.

Any vet will tell you that it’s just as unhealthy for a dog to be overweight as it is for a human to be. And putting a dog on a diet is quite difficult (something I’ve vowed to never have to do with Latte). One look down the dog food aisle at your local grocer (seeing all of the bags of ‘diet dog food’) will show you that the canine population is facing as similar of an ordeal regarding obesity as we humans are.

One of the biggest culprits of this fat dog epidemic is owners – and even trainers – who use food as a reward.

Latte, a trained service dog, had a wonderful teacher who was determined that dogs learn commands and behaviors through praise and love – rather than treats and food. In fact, part of Latte’s ‘final exam’ for becoming a certified service dog required him to travel 30 feet to someone calling him while moving past a number of dog cookies and treats scattered in his path. If he stopped to sniff or eat one of the treats, he wouldn’t have passed (or graduated, as it were). This might sound like a mind game of sorts, but as a service dog (and even for his own safety), it’s important that Latte come when called – no matter what temptations lie in his path.

To be honest, I’m not sure that even if I was on fire and running toward a bucket of water I wouldn’t be tempted to stop if someone laid out chips or ice cream in my path. But Latte? He’s the man. He can do it. And I love that although I have food issues, my dog does not.

What can we humans learn from this? Mainly to keep our kids (be they human or furry) and ourselves from becoming too motivated by food. Love and praise is a much better – and healthier – reward (mentally and physically). Sure, food can often be a treat that can be savored and enjoyed to its fullest. But when held out as a reason to accomplish something, we’re sending others (or ourselves) the wrong message.

Even as you build rewards into your own life when working toward a goal (whether weight loss, career or otherwise related), create rewards that won’t harm your psyche or (heaven forbid) turn you into an animatronic footrest.

And just for the record, a lick from an adoring puppy is one of the very best rewards there is.

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November 2, 2011

Where’s your focus?

9:52 am - Posted by Gregg

Okay, I admit it… The past couple of days I’ve been ranting about the ridiculousness of the media circus that is Kim Kardashian and her filing for divorce. As inane as I think the whole ordeal is, I’ve still been reading media reports, shaking my head in disgust whenever the news would report on the divorce (and/or wedding) and even adversely judging Kim and her family’s media empire (not to mention resenting it, given her original claim to fame, aside from her father, was starring in her own self-made sex tape).

In fact, the other day I found myself texting back and forth with several friends about the whole matter. All at once I stopped, realizing that I was playing into the media game that Kim and her family have so wisely made a mockery of. (Yeah, I begrudgingly use the word ‘wisely’ given that the whole Kardashian clan seems to be laughing all the way to the bank.)

As media outlets report that Kim is valiantly defending her actions, I realized that even with disparaging conversation, we have been giving Kim Kardashian exactly what she wants: Attention. Thus, I had to stop the texting. But even more important? I had to put the brakes on the judgmental thoughts going on in my head. After all, I do not want an outlook on life that’s colored or in any way influenced by anything having to do with a Kardashian.

After I grounded myself (and reminded myself that my opinion really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things), I took a breath and looked around. As the ‘Kardashian fog’ cleared and I was hit with clarity, I realized where my reality actually was:

It was the noon hour. And I was on a walk with my amazing, happy and sprightly puppy. We were in our beautiful neighborhood. The sun was shining and the comfortable but mildly crisp temperature reminded me it was autumn (my favorite time of year). I suddenly realized, ‘What the heck do I have to complain about?’

The answer was – and is, “Absolutely nothing.” And that answer includes anything having to do with Kim Kardashian or any other media circus taking place in the world.

This is and always will be my world.

I was suddenly reminded that what we focus on not only defines our attitude and our outlook, but also our expectations as well as the entire world around us. If I’m going to be grumpy because Kim Kardashian said, “I do” (followed quickly by, “I don’t”), then I was giving up my perspective, not to mention my power.

As someone who survived a childhood filled with abuse – along with the rollercoaster ride of eating and emotions that resulted in my weighing over 450 pounds when I graduated from college, I have learned that how I view the world is how the world will be. If I choose to have a sunny disposition and count my blessings (no matter how seemingly small), the world rises up to meet me – with beautiful autumn sunshine, a puppy that thinks I hung the moon and a pep in my step since I now weigh a very healthy 175 pounds. And the list of blessings goes on from there. Were I to take on a more dismal view of the world – whether a view having to do with a Kardashian or with grief related to my past – or whatever, the world around me would reflect that as well. And I know that’s not a world I want to live in.

Sunny disposition aside, who am I to judge Kim Kardashian anyway? One of my favorite nonfiction authors, Byron Katie, often reminds her readers and people who attend her lectures that there are three kinds of business in this world:

1. My business

2. Your business

3. God’s business (the God of your understanding, she always points out)

Here’s Byron Katie’s brief but very insightful reasoning as to why it might be wise to figure out whose business you’re currently “in”:

Is Kim Kardashian my business? Of course, not. I can change the channel. I can click away from an internet site. I can continue past the tabloid magazines on display at the supermarket. I can fill my brain, my mind and my vision with bigger and better things – all of which I can control. This is called a sunny outlook. Others sum this strategy up as, “What you see, is what you’ll be.”

So what’s in your line of vision today? Where’s your focus? Are you concentrating on the good in your life? Are you counting the endless reasons for joy? Being happy absolutely helps with meeting goals – weather weight loss related or otherwise. Choose a dismal attitude and you become a magnate for negativity. Choose a positive one and, well; you might just get a lick from one of the world’s cutest puppies.

So as tempting as it can be to jump into the cesspool that embodies the world of notorious “celebrities,” I’m stepping away from the murky water, drying off and moving into the sunshine. There are too many other things to focus on. Too many other things to be joyful about. That’s the kind of energy I want to create for my day. And I invite you to join me.

So? Where’s your joy in this moment? Do tell! Me and my puppy are waiting to lap it up right along with you!

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