“Worry” is the Darkroom in Which “Negatives” can Develop


Chloe in her new “Gentle Leader” harness hlaa-feb-0362

chloe-gl-002 Oops… the strap is a little crooked!

Hounds a-Worryin’ Over It!

Premier Pets did a DEMO for Fidos For Freedom on Saturday. I registered in advance, and for my efforts received a “Gentle Leader” harness just for attending. Chloe and I use a “plastic prong” collar for training and “work”, although it is rarely needed now that we’ve been working together for so long. I still utilize it because to Chloe it means “I’m working” as much as her vest does. If someone who is illiterate notices her and tries to coax her close for some petting, I need only gently pull and release and she immediately remembers to stay in a nice sit/stay. Numerous teams at Fidos For Freedom use the “Gentle Leader” however, so since I was going to get one free I wasn’t going to argue!

Chloe is NOT thrilled with it. Honestly, when I first put it on her, her EYES ACTUALLY CROSSED looking down at the strap on her nose! I laughed hysterically, which hurt my poor hound dog’s feelings. After apologizing, I adjusted straps and made sure the fit was right… begged for some 2nd opinions, and then walked her around the training center for about 20 minutes. I’m sure if I NEEDED the control of the “Gentle Leader”, she would become accustomed to it fairly quickly.

For that first 20 minutes, she “worried” over it almost obsessively. She followed commands, but even when in “heel” tried to rub it off against my leg! When we stopped, she’d use her paw and try to slip it over the edge of her nose! (A proper fit insures this cannot be done!) Bottom line, the harness looked lovely on her, but her attitude was peeved. She “worried” over it until our stops in a “sit/stay” had her pouting and turning her head away from me. After about fifteen minutes, her tail was even drooping. “Worry” had quickly cultivated real “negative weeds” in the heart and mind of my friendly working dog! In the end, she was just TICKED OFF. Right before we left I slipped it off of her so I could get her to “hurry up” (potty) before loading her in the van for the long trip home. As soon as the harness was removed she began kissing me in “thanks” and even whining her heartfelt gratitude!

I’ve made sure she’s had it on a little bit at home, but again as I don’t see a NEED for it right now… “don’t try to fix what ain’t broke“. Who knows? I may have a need for it one day.

People a-Worrin’ Over it!

I’m many times like my hound dog. I can “worry” over things that are new, and not completely to my liking. It may be something new that can’t be helped. So exactly what good is accomplished over worryin’ over it?

The past week we’ve been blessed with some beautiful dustings of snow in the mornings. I just love snow. I love the way it feels in my hands and under my boots. I love the way it looks as it falls in big white flakes, or swirling in the wind of a near blizzard. I love shoveling snow. (Aren’t I insane?) I like the sound the snow shovel makes when it hits, lifts and displaces the snow. I love looking behind me at the “path” I’ve created and feel a sense of accomplishment equaling the birth of a child. (OK, yeah… that’s a stretch!)  Snow doesn’t affect my vertigo and balance the way rain does. At least until this past week…

I have had some “near misses” in falls, and have had some real trouble in my balance during this week. I’ve been a little peeved about it. Peeved to the point that I’ve been a little bit snippy. When I realized I was reacting in a fairly negative way to almost everything, I tried to reflect on what the problem might be. After a little “self-discovery” of the underlying cause, I vowed to change my attitude then and there! I mean? Why worry over something that cannot be changed?

A New Normal

For me, this is just part of my “new normal”. It is normal for me to have bad “balance days”. It is normal for me not to hear well in crowded places. However, I can adapt and make necessary changes in order to live my life with passion, respect, and value. If I do all I can to be healthy, then on days I find I’m staggering around, I must accept as part of my “new normal”.

If I get angry, depressed and negative about it, I end up with family members trying to decide “what is UP with HER?” Hubby asks, “Are you PMS’ing?” (The only reason they even call it PMS is because Mad Cow Disease was taken.) How smart is it to say something like that? It did snap me back for a second however, to see what THEY were seeing. It was the impetus I needed to do some soul-searching.

I can worry 24/7 and nothing positive will come of it. On the contrary, negative thinking tends to choke out every rational thought I have. And frankly? I need to stay focused and rational about my problems! Evaluating, weighing, and finding solutions to problems is a whole lot different than worryin’ over them.

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

4 thoughts on ““Worry” is the Darkroom in Which “Negatives” can Develop

  1. Yikes, that’s not a “happy dog” expression. Yep, if she doesn’t need it, no need to “cultivate negative weeds” in her hard-working heart and mind. Have a good night.

  2. How interesting that Fidos use gentle leaders!
    Many of the trainers I hear of refuse to even test an owner trained dog for the Good Canine Citizen test if they use gentle leaders or prongs. That was making me feel worry…
    Oh that Chloe is such an expressive girl! Never fails to let ya know what she’s thinking, huh?

  3. Hey Lisa!

    Yes, numerous teams at FFF use the “Gentle Leader” when the “human” partner has balance issues. Many are trying to coordinate walkers, canes, or scooters in addition to a dog. The “Gentle Leaders” are used by a great number of teams, especially in the beginning. The training with the “Gentle Leader” is very specific, for no corrections can be made as it can cause neck/spinal cord injuries. If fitted properly, however, no corrections (other than positive verbal interactions) need to be made at all! The DEMO lady was telling us about a female GD she had just fitted with the GL for a client!

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