Thanks to my faithful assistant for keeping up with this blogging activity and to master dog whisperer Cesar Millan for his invaluable tips on puppy training. Check out E.’s views in our book Learning to Live with Fritz. Chapter Five is entitled: Name the Puppy. Train the Puppy! She, of course, blames herself for being a dunce about her utter failure to train me but hey, I was a very special case and that is all I am going to say about that.
Too busy to blog? Yes, indeed. I had to do a lot of stage whispering (getting much louder than I had originally planned) to get Project Freddy going. Whew! What a lot of work. I sincerely overestimated my ability to convince my earth-bound
apprentice that: “GET A PUPPY!” was a command and not a suggestion. This gave me a dose of my own medicine. The Be here Now treatment, the ‘stay present and keep going’ philosophy I teach 24/7 turned out to be a lesson I needed to teach myself. I swear to you … being in the NOW –living constantly and only in the present moment– requires discipline. I had the job completed in my head, a done deal so to speak. Wow! Was that jumping to conclusions! I was a victim of my own arrogance thinking I had more influence over E. then I actually had. Honestly, I thought I had Project Freddy in the bag but it was still necessary for me to spend every moment (of the past fourteen days) insisting.
I was completely worn out by the time I had not-so-subtly guided E. to the Nabinger family’s Bolonka Zwetna website: www.bolonkas-vom-sonneneck.de and still she doubted! Even when I pointed out that time was running out that E. was not getting any younger, that a puppy was just the thing to keep her constantly confronting The NOW. She hesitated … procrastinated. Why? Simple: she was frightened. I have to admit all of this is my fault. Who would really want to sign up for another reign of terror? At long last I persuaded E. that the Nabingers were the dedicated Bolonka breeders who would be responsible for bringing puppy FREDDY, a.k.a. Raiko vom Sonneneck into their home in the Pfalz region of Germany and finally into E.’s busy life.
Simone and Bernd Nabinger are very particular about puppy destination families. They need to meet and intuit the character of those interested parties to whom their li’l darlings will someday go. A lengthy personal ‘in-house’ interview (with breeders, mother dog and potential puppies present) is required before the Nabingers will even consider allowing one of their babies out of their sight. Thus the Sonneneck (translates as Sunny Corner) website targets the local German-speaking community. Certainly they are not expecting folks to fly in from English-speaking countries for a puppy meeting! So, for non-German readers and to make it easier to understand why I chose this breed for my contrite ex-diva, I shall explain in the shortest sweetest version… how the extraordinary Bolonka Zwetna came into existence.
Short but Sweet History of the Bolonka Zwetna
-by Whispering Fritz
The origin of the breed Bolonka is not known. Cross breeding in Russia produced a clever, warm-hearted and spirited little lap dog. Probably the Italian Bolognese and the French Bichon à poil frisé are the source breeds for the Bolonka but our puppy Freddy’s original ancestry is truly up for grabs. These adorable dogs graced the laps of some very famous women. Surely divas all … Among them we have Madame de Pompadour of France, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia and Maria Theresa of Austria (the only female ruler of the Hapsburg dominions.)Thus, the perfect diva dog! During the 20th century, Russian breeders crossed the Franzuskaya Bolonka (pure white) with small multicolored dogs. Since 1966 the delightful, fun-loving Bolonka Zwetnas have been bred in Germany.
I chose Freddy’s breed in order to keep my whispered promise to E. that it would definitely not be Fritz or a Fritz imitator returning to her. I promised her that she would enjoy her new pup and experience all the JOY and lightheartedness she deserves after completing fifteen years of my difficult course in unconditional love. Once Freddy is on the scene … E. might not be so sure about him. She will be incorrectly connecting dots that lead back to me if Freddy exhibits any weird Fritz habits or despotic behavior. I will have to be on my tippy toes to keep Freddy in line.
Currently a bit too busy to help Freddy compose his “welcome” blog. Ms. Em is remembering how much work (and fun) a new puppy can be! I decided to do a little research, and luckily, I found some tips that might help her out from the great Cesar Milan. I’ve added them below in case you’re in need of a little guidance with your new furball, too. More Freddy updates to come!
People often ask me at what age they should start puppy training. The answer is immediately! Here are some quick tips on the steps to training and maintaining an obedient and balanced dog from the start.
New puppy owners often make the mistake of endlessly worrying about finding the right accessories, puppy treats, or bed. They spend little or no time thinking about how or what they will teach their new puppy. Yes, a puppy needs nutritious food and a safe, warm place to live, but another equally powerful and important biological necessity is the need for a strong pack leader.
Be the Pack Leader
Puppies are naturally hard-wired to follow a pack leader. A pack leader is, by definition, strong, stable, and consistent; traits many new puppy owners forget. Many of my clients are strong leaders in their jobs, but when they come home, they turn to mush with their dogs. Then they come to me puzzled as to why their dog won’t behave.
Puppies sense our confidence levels and will take control if they perceive us as weak. When this happens, bad behaviors, such as excessive barking, chewing, leash-pulling, or anxiety, will develop.
The most important thing you can do is become your puppy’s pack leader. This role doesn’t begin when your dog is six months old or when he’s bad; it should be maintained throughout the entire dog training experience. For your new puppy to grow into a healthy, balanced dog, you must demonstrate leadership from day one!
All dogs become conditioned never to eliminate in their dens. From two to four months of age, most pups pick up on the concept of housebreaking quite easily since it is part of their natural programming.
In the early days of housebreaking you want to make sure the puppy has a place to relieve herself where she feels safe; a place that seems and smells familiar. First thing every morning, bring your puppy outside to the same general area. It is important to remain consistent throughout the process so your puppy can learn the habit.
Once your new puppy has successfully gone outside, it is important to reward the good behavior. It doesn’t have to be a big, loud celebration, but a simple quiet approval or a treat can get the message across of a job well done.
And be sure not to punish your puppy for an accident or do anything to create a negative association with her bodily functions. Stay calm and assertive and quietly remove the puppy to the place where you want him to go.
Walking in front of your new puppy allows you to be seen as the pack leader. Conversely, if your dog controls you on the walk, he’s the pack leader. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your puppy should be beside or behind you during the walk.
Also talk to your veterinarian about the risk of long-term bone development problems, parvovirus, and other health issues before implementing an exercise routine.
Visit to the Veterinarian
One of the cornerstones of good health for your puppy is regular veterinary care. It is crucial that your puppy maintains a nutritional diet and exercise routine to stay healthy and balanced. While a lot goes into keeping your puppy in good health, it all begins with the first visit to the vet. Refer to the following list of the veterinary or health related concerns that will come up during your puppy’s first year for more guidance.
Ok, now I am tired of sounding preachy. Either you get this living in the moment, my sort of carpe diem mode or you do not. E. still hasn’t gotten it completely because she has ignored my specific whisperings re: the perfect solution now for seven long years while finishing our book Learning to Live with Fritz (oh yes, that Fritz. That ‘angel’ was me in my earthly disgruntled disguise). All I have been saying is: “Get a puppy!” I have been guiding her to likely prospects she continually ignores or rationalizes away with arguments like ‘too much trouble’ or ‘Traveling with a puppy again! No way!’ Or finally … the endless loop lie she tells herself: ‘I am free of Fritz now … hooray! Never again!’ What a crock. She needs a puppy! I am finally making headway with my former opera diva who now fancies herself an author. Little does she know that her ego is responsible for the idea that she alone has written the aforementioned channeled manuscript with its impressive ISBN number. I am the Author (notice the capital A) and she has taken dictation.
Now back to that puppy idea. I will never come back to her (as in- like it or not– reincarnation) and I am sure she is happy about that. Any pup I have suggested (with varying degrees of passionate whispering) in the past seven years has been a new dog soul entering the Earth Plane completely innocent of opinions and ideas about her. I promised her no more guru dogs! I promised her no more aggressive teaching techniques. I took pity on her because, well, I mean she has earned a rest because she actually learned most of the lessons I tried my best to teach her in my sixteen years of tyranny. And still she is reluctant! She refuses to take my suggestions. My prescription for living in the NOW is … puppy! A young pup is the best medicine for observing how life really is. How life should and could be lived in the moment. A pup is excited about just everything. Every sight, sound, smell and feeling … to a newborn puppy is fascinating, scary, fun and/or as often as not … absolutely thrilling. Puppy hears, sees and experiences his or her life as one boundless adventure of discovery. Now, I ask you … who could be a better teacher of living in the NOW than a puppy?
Thinking back on the puppies I fervently endorsed I get a bit teary. Oh, when I think about how many moments E. has missed because of her obstinate objections to allowing a pup into her life again. There were so many good ones! Here is just one glaring example of E. refusing to get the signs and signals. If I could remind her of Alfie, a dog I manipulated her into noticing while walking in snowy Central Park. It was January of 2012. Alfred, aka Alfie … was about 11 inches tall, a Jack Russell terrier and he was galloping through the snow, jumping and snapping at snowflakes, rolling in the white stuff and generally having the time of his life. E. was drawn to him (ha-ha!) and she asked the woman dangling a short red leash about the delightful little dog she had there … the terrier was having such a gleeful time playing in the snow! The woman shook her head and replied in Swiss-accented German (first clue) that she didn’t speak English. E. immediately switched to her second language and here’s the clincher … this should have closed the deal: The woman was Swiss (E. lives in Switzerland!) and told her that she was only babysitting little Alfie who was probably about ten months old. She had promised her animal activist niece that she would find a willing owner for the little guy before she left for her home in Zürich. Her departure was only a few days away and she still had found no one to adopt the pup her niece had saved from a puppy mill in South America somewhere. Her niece had left New York immediately for a project dedicated to freeing tortured animals in Rumania only after extracting a solemn promise that Alfie would find a good home. E. didn’t take the bait. Go figure. Now I ask you, how much clearer could I have been? And still my unwilling E. refused to connect the dots.
This infuriated me. I had a sort of a Rumpelstiltkin tantrum and nearly fell through my fluffy white cloud just thinking about how stupid E. was to leave that cute little bugger to his uncertain destiny. I looked a bit into the future and found out that the Swiss woman felt so sorry for the poor abandoned Alfie that she took him with her to Zurich to live happily ever after or at least to this very day. It was a match made in, well, Heaven. Whew. I was worried about Alfie. Alfie was my last unsuccessful attempt at puppy propositioning my reluctant student. Whispering Fritz’s next blog will be about my (after all this time) puppy success story. I took a short sabbatical from Blog writing in order to prepare my surprise. Blog 4. Blog 2 was written by my devoted and capable assistant detailing our aristocratic history, our reputation as healers while extolling the many virtues of my breed of choice, the Maltese terrier. Thank you my dear, Now all is ready for Finally Freddy!
Interested in a sneak preview of the little darling? I couldn’t resist!
Ruffff! I am literally dancing up here! I’m so happy to see the positive human response to my first DogBlog posting. It heartens me to see that there are Homo sapiens out there actually thinking about slowing down, smelling the violets and Being Here Now. If I had one lesson to teach my recalcitrant mistress while I still inhabited the earth plane … that was it. Yes. This was and is the lesson: Be Here Now, every letter capitalized. Be = I am. Here = located on this space I presently occupy. Now = at this exact moment in time. With all my disciplinary growls, barks and (occasional but necessary) bites, even my outrageous temper tantrums … had but one distinct teaching goal: Live this moment. Concentrate, pay attention, be real, be authentic. Take this present moment as your only moment.
None of us … even us dogs … have a guarantee on tomorrow or even the next ten minutes. There are no guarantees, period. You don’t see even one of my species Canis lupis familiaris participating in any of the following activities: ruining our thumbs (even if we had them) texting, bowing our heads to our PCs, ipads, Smartphones and/or spending 40% (uh-oh … or even more) of our waking hours on the Internet being discouraged and jealous about the exciting lives of our ‘friends’. You will never see a dog missing WHAT IS because of getting distracted by what isn’t.
Sometimes it takes a wake up call to get humans to Be Here Now and to realize that there is just one life to live here on planet Earth. Sometimes it takes a frightening diagnosis, the loss of a job or an accident in traffic caused by lack of concentration to get a person to take the plunge back into the present moment. On the other hand and occasionally … a great teacher (could even be a Gurudog) enters to enlighten the human out of the artificial and back into what’s real. This is, of course, the easiest (well, at least the most positive) road back to accepting reality. The truth is that time waits for no one to catch up or make up. Lost time is lost. You can’t redo the past even the past that occurred just five seconds ago. Many Quantum Physicists would disagree citing the Parallel Reality Theory, but until scientists can put that theory into practice (which might be a few light years hence) what humans can do is to learn to value of the precious present.
It’s a fine thing when a dog can admire a human as much as I admired Andy Whitfield. I recommend an inspiring trailer for an especially moving documentary feature film: Andy Whitfield’s story is entitled: “Be Here Now” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE_Y5brW-ZE
After watching this you may be wondering if your own life is passing you by . If you get the message then I rest my case.
Look around you. What do you see? Can you still see anything at all without a digital screen lighting the way to your comprehension of what you are seeing? It is my personal opinion (and particularly from my vantage point) that most humans are living in an altered (manipulated) state of reality that is spoiling real experience and one-on-one communication. Ask yourself: Have I forgotten (or never even learned) how to talk to someone without using my fingers? Have I forgotten (or never even learned) how to express real emotions face to face with another of my species? Think about this.
What would your life look like if someone took all your toys (and that is what all those electronic devices from the simplest to the most sophisticated are … don’t delude yourself) away from you? What would you do without just one of those toys? I ask you … the bigger question to ponder … what if there was no electricity to run the devices that control your happiness? What if? What on earth would you do? How would you cope?
So, for today this is the end of my lecture from beyond the Beyond. Straight from Whispering Fritz to those of you who might be reading this for comfort, for entertainment or for a new (or quite ancient) view of how to perceive what is going on all around you. Look to and learn from the dogs, cats and other animals on your planet. Watch and listen to them. They will teach you how to live in the moment … in real time. The clock is ticking. No kidding. You only have this moment. Never forget it.