I think Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) is a genius. I watch every show of his I can. I think (even when watching re-runs) that I pickup something new nearly every time I watch the show. One of the most positive things I learned from the show is how much we humans hang onto the past, even when our dog is living in the now.
I’m not sure that Cesar is saying that dogs don’t remember, I think he’s saying that they live in the here and now, so we should too!
When doing evaluations, many times we see the owner ‘stuck’ on some past situation in a dog’s life. A week ago or so, I spoke with a lady about her little lap dog. She was having a discipline issue. The first thing she told me was about how the dog had gone to the groomers two years ago and came home with bruised lungs (YIKES). After a few minutes of discussion, it was clear she still felt badly for that experience (that she really had nothing to do with), and thus, was being ‘nice’ to the dog, instead of establishing discipline and boundaries.
When I suggested that she “let go” of the past and deal with the dog “today”, she said she wasn’t living in the past!!! I then asked her why that one story was the first thing she told me about when we started talking about her challenges. I could tell I had gotten through. After a moment, she then related how she realized she HAD been still trying to protect the dog from ANY harm, as if setting boundaries and expecting certain behavior was some kind of punishment.
Are you holding onto something in your dog’s past that is keeping you both from living in the here and now? Take a look and make sure you are allowing yourself and your dog to move forward! Yesterday is a history lesson. Learn from it, but release it! Live in the NOW!