No temper tantrums!

temper tantrum

So….yeah, my day can accurately be described by this picture right here. You see, today I started having cell phone problems. Well, not just today, but it kind of all built up to explode today and I was forced to call customer service. And if you know anything about me, you’ll know that I really HATE to talk on the phone, especially when it comes to customer service where I swear their motto is, “Hi, tell me your problem and I’ll pass you on to 7 more people who you’ll have to repeat your entire realm of issues to that can’t help you either and will have to pass you on again.” Did I mention I’m an introverted perfectionist? Not only do I hate talking on the phone, but I even have to write down what I want to say in a little ‘script’ so that I don’t mess things up. When I don’t write it down, I say things wrong and mentally kick myself for not taking the pre-phone-call measures I knew I should have.

ANYWAYS, when I found out I was destined to spend what I assumed would be hours on the phone, I kind of threw a fit. I got mad, I called my sister, I called my mom, and I vented about how awful it was going to be and that I was NOT in the mood. I didn’t have time, I hate trying to get anywhere with customer service (if you’re in customer service, please don’t take offense, some are fantastic and some are so painful I’d rather have my wisdom teeth out), and it was going to take way too long and I would only get started before I had to get off the phone and go to work. Besides the fact that my phone had decided to be stuck on headphone mode and was only usable on speaker phone, handy right?  Thankfully they both gave me some good info and I ended up having to wait an hour to call because the store wouldn’t have been open yet, so I went to work out.

After blowing off steam at the gym, I resigned myself to call. Well, guess what….it was a truly wonderful experience (well, as wonderful as it can be telling someone about your problems) and the two guys I ended up talking to were super helpful. I could understand what they said, they were polite, they made sense, I wasn’t smarter than they were, and they were actually thankful for my input. And consequently, my phone was no longer stuck on headphone mode without even having to do anything. Long story longer, I got mad and grouchy for no reason. The same thing I get onto my kids for. Yeah, it was a humbling moment. I felt bad that I was, in a way, expecting better behavior out of my kids than I had just shown. Now, I don’t make any promises, but I do hope that I use this as a learning experience and remember that just because I think something is going to be awful doesn’t mean it is. Just like when I tell my kids to try a new food, most of the time, they actually like it 😉

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Women are awful…

Yes, I said it. We are awful from time to time….and if you disagree, you aren’t being honest. I’m writing this blog in honor of men and what they put up with from us 😉

Now, let me say first, this is not an out for awful man behavior, because we all know two wrongs don’t make a right, but I’m just being honest and letting men know some of us admit how difficult we can be.

bitch

Sometimes, I can’t even stand myself. How bad is that?? I even have inner monologue at times that says, “Hey, come on now, you know you shouldn’t say that, it’s rude.” And then the other inner monologue that says, “Who gives a rat’s ass, I’m not happy and by golly I’m going to make everyone else miserable too!” Yeah, awful right? And when I’m mad, there’s no winning. I want to be left alone, but I also want people to know I’m mad. I’m fairly certain there is no way to make me happy because I don’t even know what would make me happy.

bitch2

I suppose the only defense I can put out there is the hormone one. It’s totally real, I even get mad at myself for being so irrational during what I’ve heard called “shark week.” (Clever, eh? 😉 ) I’m not sure how turning us into a raving lunatic (ok, maybe a little dramatic, just a bit) once a month just because our body isn’t making a baby is very helpful for convincing the male of our species that it’s a good idea to try again. Though I can say that after watching some of those educational videos on animals and their mating rituals I think male homo sapiens don’t have it the worst.

So, there you go guys, now you have it in print, women are awful from a woman herself. And the fact that my readers are mostly female, I’m pretty sure I’m not in any danger or revealing a woman/sisterhood type secret here. Well, except for my husband and he knew all this already, he’s just too nice to say anything.

 

Puppy Socialization

One of the biggest training opportunities that most people don’t even realize can be training is socializing your puppy. Now, I don’t mean you take your furry friend as your +1 to your cousin’s wedding…

social puppy

What I mean is every chance you have to get your puppy out and around new and different things is a chance to let them know that the world is a big place, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. I don’t know about you, but anytime I go somewhere new, I always feel a sense of relief if I am being accompanied by someone who knows the area, the people, and even what to expect out of the new experience. My confidence is boosted and I feel a lot more prepared to handle what might come our way. Not only that, but I build a connection with whomever was kind enough to come with and help me to make my first visit or introduction a success. The same concepts apply to our dogs. When we take them with and allow them to see something besides the inside of the house and the backyard we broaden their ability to take in their surroundings and to not become overwhelmed.

Warren

The best way to do this? Start slow… I always tell my clients you can’t set a goal small enough. If you set it even lower than what you and your dog can handle, it ends up just being another success to add to the books. Getting in over your head and creating a failure turns into something that must be fixed. If you jump right into the deep end, assuming that one or both of you can handle it, bad things happen. Your dogs loses faith in you and develops a bad taste for anything and possibly everything related to the new area, person, or experience.

Just remember, unless you plan on having a hermit of a dog that doesn’t even go to the vet for it’s yearly checkup, you’re going to have to introduce your dog to the outside world at some point and the quicker you can do it, the better. It’s easier to mold behavior and prevent problems than it is to fix once they’ve been created.

Dog Psychology

I am a third generation dog person so it’s safe to say I’ve been around them all of my 30 years. I don’t have a certificate or diploma from any schools or universities, but training dogs is my life. A good ‘word picture’ for how I communicate with canines came from an acquaintance of my sister’s. She studied language in college and told Kelli that when you learn a language before the age of 14, you are fluent in it. Saying I’ve been immersed since birth might qualify for an understatement, but it’s the reason I am fluent in canine communication.

Lacey and dogs

One of the biggest things that most people misconceive about training is that it’s all about behavior. While behavior in a dog is what has the most effect on our lives (i.e. jumping, barking, biting, etc.), the mentality of a dog is where the behavior is changed. I get so many people coming to me describing behaviors that their dogs exhibit that they would like changed and most of the time they downplay it, thinking it’s minor.

First example… “Oh, Fluffy is such a good dog. We really don’t have any problems, it’s just that she barks when she’s in her crate and we can’t get her to stop no matter what we do!” Now, in their defense, they aren’t in the business so it’s not their job to see all the problems, but let me tell you what I find when I go to evaluate Fluffy and teach her owners how to get her to be quiet in her crate. I find a dog that has been allowed to be in charge, a dog who has learned to manipulate her owners into rewarding her behavior. Most people would say that’s crazy, since they’ve spent hours beating their head against the wall begging Fluffy to, “just stop, please!”….but guess what. It doesn’t matter what the human thinks, it’s what the dog perceives. And if barking in her crate doesn’t present enough of a negative and Fluffy gets even an inkling of positive, she’s going to outwit and outlast EVERY time. Why wouldn’t she? She has all day to think of ways to get what she wants while you still have to work, pay bills, clean, fix supper, and even take care of Fluffy. By the way, little dogs are notorious for getting away with things because ‘everything they do is cute…’ Have you seen the hundreds of America’s Funniest Home Videos where the little dog is growling, barking, and baring their teeth while everyone laughs in the background?

Dog Psychology

Another example….A dog who was bought for companionship, but also protection. Fido is a Rottweiler and his family got him because they love dogs, but also are interested in having him to ward away any evil-doers. It sounds like a good idea at first, but Fido is a big dog that scares people and he has some aggression issues so his family forgoes the necessity of socialization. I’m called in and told he’s so sweet and amazing with the kids, but has bit the mailman, twice. Most people can’t for the life of them figure out what to do. They wanted him for protection, so they “can’t take that out of him” but the mailman is threatening to sue if they don’t do something.

Rottweiler_kopf_2

What do these two dogs have in common even though it seems like not much? The mentality of the dog…. Fluffy has been allowed to get away with things (even rewarded for them in her mind) and when I come in to set things straight, she gets angry. I literally had a dog CLIMB the lead to get at me when I told them they weren’t in charge. All because the owner didn’t see that the crate barking wasn’t the only problem. Fluffy had LOTS of problems, but her owners were paying more attention to her actual behavior than her mentality. Just because a behavior doesn’t peg out the inconvenience radar doesn’t mean that it isn’t detrimental to the entire owner/dog relationship. Fido has been allowed to become a bully. He loves his family because he’s grown up around them, but he’s not too keen on anyone else entering the picture (think typical step-parent/step-child relationship where one parent is being ‘replaced’) and he’s been allowed to think that he’s in charge. He’s not the head of the household and he can’t possibly be, he’ll never be able to pay bills, fix the screen door when it’s broken, or even call the doctor to make a yearly checkup appointment. He also missed out on being properly socialized to learn that if his owner deems someone friendly, he must follow suit and treat said visitor with respect and a friendly attitude. Protection can’t be taken out of a dog by teaching them not to be aggressive towards good people. It would be like thinking your spouse wouldn’t protect you in a dangerous situation because they aren’t jealous of everyone who speaks to you.

So what do we take out of these situations? Pay attention to your dog’s brain as much as you do his behavior. I spend more time ‘brain training’ than I do physical training on a lot of dogs because I want that relationship. I want a dog who takes cues from me on how to act and react. I don’t want a dog who has such little faith in me that they think they can or must be in charge. Because the damage it does to their psyche when they are forced into a job they can’t do or are uncomfortable doing is more than you’ll ever realize.

confused dog

I’ll never learn

Ok, so am I the only one who seems to be as dumb as a box of rocks sometimes when it comes to certain things? Let me explain… There are a few issues that push my buttons. Not a lot, but a handful of subjects that I can get super passionate about. And when I get passionate about something, I can’t always bite my tongue, or maybe it’s my fingers in the case of things posted on the good old world wide web. The dumb part is why I think saying ANYTHING will make a difference, because it NEVER does.

I have gotten myself into more than one heated debate by sticking my nose in on someone else’s conversation about the things they believe, obviously whether they have all the facts about it or not. Now that does not mean that I haven’t been guilty of forming opinions on things I shouldn’t, but I also hope that if someone uncovers my faux pas that I don’t just shoo them away because they might have a good point. So, tell me, what do you all think (all 4 of my readers 😉 ) about standing up and making your voice heard?? Does it do any good or is it just another fart lost in the wind for some people who just want someone to agree with them?

Why I’m a ‘selfish’ mother…

Could two words ever be more of an oxymoron? The very definition of being a mother is giving up part of your body to grow the life of another, but to some, I could be categorized as a selfish mother. Maybe not the kind that never does anything with her kids, or is abusive, or neglects her children, but the kind that doesn’t give up everything she is to be what her kids ‘need’.

selfish mom

I see people post this quote quite a bit. I can honestly say ‘clubbing’ isn’t a passion of mine, I’ve always loved disney movies, and am thrilled when I can go to bed by 9 pm, but I know there are people who are different than me with different ideas of what’s fun, so why should I judge? I’m not saying you should be spending every waking hour doing everything that makes you happy, but why do we have to have it one way or the other? Why don’t we make it easier for husbands and wives to spend time together? Is it possible that divorce rates would be lower if we were more concerned about the foundation of the family than giving our kids the latest toys/gadgets/everything they could ever ask for?

I guess what I’m trying to get at is, why are we branded as ‘bad parents’ or ‘selfish’ when we choose to do things for ourselves from time to time? Maybe we should work together to give each other that time off, so that the time we spend with our children will be that much richer. And don’t think this is the plight of a mother who is justifying her selfish needs. There are a number of reasons we should put ourselves at least towards the top of the list from time to time. One-our sanity, two-improving the quality of time with our kids, and three-teaching our children there is more to life than just them, to begin with. If we are allowed to blow off steam every once in a while, it doesn’t build up and go off on our children.

Newsflash, I deal with guilt about whether or not I’m a good mother. I feel the pressure of the mother’s who do the crafts and little activities with their kids. I wonder if I’m doing enough to make my boys into gentlemen. I question my ability to raise good Christian men. And I know there are women who can ‘do-it-all’ but I’m not one of them. So for those of you who can be super-mom, please remember to take it easy on those of us who aren’t up to the task. The last thing we need is more of a reminder of our short-comings….selfish mom

Edumakashun

Bottom line, I know a lot of people who need it… Ok, so maybe what they need isn’t education, but a desire to be educated. I honestly don’t know where my need to learn/find the truth comes from (and believe me, there are things I don’t want to learn, like how to do my own taxes) but I’d venture to say part of it is from my upbringing and another is from experience. The upbringing would be responsible for my relationship with Jesus/God/The Holy Spirit and respect for others. The experience would be responsible for a deep-rooted understanding that no matter the situation, there are always two sides to a story.

In today’s world, people are lightning quick to judge and condemn things they have no knowledge of. They allow emotions and opinions to dictate how they act and react without giving time for the dust to settle. A lot of times, all it takes is a few minutes and a little research to see if what touched a nerve is actually true and factual or just someone else stirring the pot. Here’s how I feel about pot-stirrers (and please excuse the language)

Stirring the pot

It happens in every facet of every of every possible corner of life from politics, to public schools, to vaccinations, to private lives. Someone is always trying to put, let’s call them what they are, lies out about these things in order to push their agenda and bring more people to their side. They want support and they don’t care how they go about it. Ya know, I really don’t know what’s worse, the people who spread the garbage, or the ones who believe it without doing their own checking. The funny thing is that when these people are corrected or ‘caught’ in the act, very seldomly do they apologize or make the effort to stop the proverbial ball from rolling. In a day and age where teachers and parents are getting hundreds of thousands of likes for pictures to prove to their students and children that ‘news travels fast’ on social media, we should all know, once that post button is hit, a message has reached someone (and possibly several someones), even if it is immediately deleted. So please, do everyone a favor and before getting in a rush to hit the share button, at least bring up snopes to see if there is even a bit of truth involved.

One last thing….if you are in a position to have one of these things I listed below affect you, please do some research and ask the people who would know about it before getting so involved that you are partially responsible for making a decision that will affect others…

Common Core, GMO’s, Vaccinations, The 2nd Amendment, Abortion, Breeders….. I could go on, but we’ll start there 😉

……

Ugh….Why is getting back to writing a blog like trying to exercise after the holidays? It’s hit and miss; some days you feel like a superhero, getting things done with lightning speed and extreme efficiency while other days you feel like an upside down turtle on the side of the highway, going nowhere and spinning in circles when someone passes you by. Today, I am a turtle…

turtle

I have SEVERAL blog ideas and even a draft started, but none of it sounds like a barrel (I can never spell that word, why is it so hard to remember if it’s two r’s or two l’s?) of fun. All I’ve got are serious blog notes and, between you and me, I don’t have the brain power today to be serious :-p Is it between you and I or between you and me? I was always told if you take out part of the sentence that includes the second person, you would use what makes sense…. He gave Eddie and I some lemonade. By taking out ‘Eddie and’, it would make more sense you use ‘me’. He gave me some lemonade. But you can’t take out ‘you and’ without it making no sense whatsoever. All I’ve got are serious blog notes and, between I (or me), I don’t have the brain power today to be serious. Also, I have an issue with ‘ ‘ and ” ” at the end of sentences… I can hardly bring myself to put the punctuation inside. And does the punctuation have to go inside with ‘ ‘ also, or just ” ?”  How confusing is that last sentence?? Ok, moving on, as silly as it may seem, english is soothing to me. I caught myself mindlessly playing a word game yesterday evening where they give you 6 letters and you have to spell as many words as you can with those six letters (it’s whirly word in case you’re interested, I love it). Most people would call that torture, I called it winding down :-p I’m such a nerd… But then again, if you know me well, you probably already knew that. Seriously, during Christmas break I took a grammar quiz just for the fun of it. And I loved every minute! I still have trouble with effect and affect, but I *think* I’m getting better. Most of the time I just try to find a word to replace it or just rewrite the entire sentence so I don’t get caught using it wrong (wrongly?).

Anyways, I’m certain you’re tired of this mumbo-jumbo I called a blog post, so I shall end it here…

Stepping in

At what point do you step in with someone else’s child? I think it’s easy when you’re a teacher or someone who is to be in charge of said child (babysitter, etc.) because the parent isn’t around and you can expect them to maintain a certain level of behavior. The gray area is when you are at a party/event/get-together and someone else’s child starts acting out. Now, I have good reason to bring this subject up, because I was recently witness to a situation that I wish I had acted on. No one was hurt but that doesn’t mean that child’s behavior won’t hurt someone in the future.

When several families are in one place to socialize and have a good time, it’s hard to keep track of children sometimes. Maybe I’m ‘that’ mom who likes to frequently check on her kids to make sure that not only are they behaving, but also not getting into any dangerous situations (when you live in the country, there are plenty of places to get in trouble :-p) but I’m fairly secure with that title. I’d much rather someone tease me about how I raise my children than have to make frequent hospital trips or worry that my kids said something ugly to someone else’s. And don’t get me wrong, I let my kids have some freedoms, but there are also consequences for certain behaviors and things I don’t allow. I am of the impression that more than likely, I probably won’t know if my child needs reprimanded unless I at least somewhat supervise.

Anyways, back to my question, when is it ok to intervene? At a get-together recently, my boys were running around and playing, having a good time, when my youngest comes up to tell me that a little boy is pointing a gun at and threatening to shoot him. Poor little guy thought it was real because that’s what the older kid told him. I didn’t do much other than just told my son not to play with or around the boy anymore. You see, in our house, we don’t allow ANY guns (sometimes not even water guns) to be pointed at anyone be they toy or otherwise. We feel it’s just safer that way and helps to develop a healthy respect for something so powerful. It’s the way I was raised and I believe it’s a good rule to follow. Back to the social event and a short time later, my oldest comes to tell my husband the same thing, that this kid is pointing a (toy) gun at people. I believe Mark’s advice was, “Tell him to knock that sh*t off.” I really don’t know exactly what my son went and told the kid, but all was quiet for the most part, at least until I looked out the door about 10 minutes later and saw the kid in question. What I witnessed made me sick to my stomach and like I said before, I wish I had done something. The little boy with the toy gun had it pointed at his chin and he closed his eyes and pulled the trigger….and THEN he made the little girl next to him hold still while he did the same thing to her!! It all happened so fast and they proceeded into the house that I think I was still in shock. What made it even worse is when I found out later that it was an air soft gun, not a toy gun. In my humble opinion, this was WRONG… I don’t care in the least to hear arguments about how they were just playing because my next question would be, “What is this teaching those kids?” How on earth can you even begin to think those kids will have any kind of respect for firearms with that being allowed to happen?

My husband and I are raising our boys in the way I was raised to repsect guns. We do NOT handle guns without adult supervision. We treat EVERY gun as if it were loaded. We do NOT EVER point a gun at something that we don’t want to shoot/kill (even if gun is unloaded) and this includes handling, the barrel is ALWAYS pointed in a safe direction. We ALWAYS keep our finger off the trigger until ready to fire. And we know and respect that they are tools not to be taken lightly or feared, but to be educated about. I have been so well trained with these rules that they are second nature. I cringe deep down in every part of me when I see a gun pointed at a person, no matter the reason (it’s unloaded, being cleaned, or they didn’t even realize it) and I hope to raise our boys the same way.

So what do you think is the best way to handle the situation I described? Do I address the kids? The parents? Both? Because in that situation I don’t think it would be good enough to just tell my kids to stay away. I’m certain it would be difficult to live with if I ever found out something happened and I hadn’t done my part to step in and stop it.

Lots of randomness

This is the face of a dirty dog…

Kodi

She’s not always this filthy, just when she’s found someone who will wrestle with her when there is even the slightest amount of moisture available. Luckily, she then likes to dive into the water bucket (regardless of temperature) and splash around until she’s mostly clean. So I guess it’s not as bad as it could be, since she ‘somewhat’ takes a bath when she’s done playing. Bad dog trainer you say? Nah, I just say good doggie mom 😉 I often tell my clients that your dog’s behavior should not rely on what’s acceptable to other people. Only you get to make that decision. You just have to be sure that it’s you making the decision about what’s allowed and not your canine companion calling the shots. 🙂

Part two of randomness:

Unfortunately this little tidbit doesnt have a picture to go with it as I didn’t have the forethought to snap one when it happened.

Mark came in the house one evening after being outside working on things for a bit and as he was fiddling around in our bedroom with something, I kept hearing a strange noise. It was really like a squeak or high pitched ‘something-or-other.’ I swear we looked and dug around for probably 15 minutes searching for that sound. After a bit, I realized that the noise was moving when Mark moved, very weird!! We looked around and checked him out to see if we could determine what on earth was going on. We didn’t find a thing. At this point I was about to go nuts. I knew something was out of place and we couldn’t for the life of us figure it out. That is until Mark got tired of looking and started to go back into the living room. I don’t know how I saw it, but as he turned around I glanced at his waist and there behind his holster, tucked in a belt loop was a little cricket! I about fell down I was laughing so hard! What blew my mind was that normally crickets will make all the noise in the world until you get close to them, which is what makes them so hard to find. That little guy apparently thought it was dark enough and he was safe enough that he just kept chirping away and with him being tucked in a little space like that it distorted the sound just enough we couldn’t figure it out. Happy ending though, he hung on in that belt loop until Mark stepped outside and ‘freed’ the little bugger.

I should really have a third random story or tidbit to round this whole thing out, but honestly, I haven’t been feeling this blog the entire time I’ve been writing it. Sometimes it flows and sometimes it’s like trying to load cattle into a trailer without an alley…(for those of you non-cattle people, that’s hard). Anyways, good day and here’s to the next blog not sucking 🙂