Friday, July 17, 2009

What do you want to happen?

Yesterday Moon dog was barking at some workmen and as I was walking out I thought "I don't want him to bark at the workmen". Unfortunately, that isn't very helpful to either me or the dog or the workmen. In a rare moment of clarity, I thought for a minute about what I did want, and what I could do to achieve that outcome.

Instead of shouting NO NO NO, I said "come here Moon" and then began to pet him and praise him. He got so caught up in being the center of attention, he forgot all about barking. In fact, he glared at the still barking neighbor dog for interfering with our peaceful moment.

Then I walked in and surveyed my larder as it was lunchtime. And I thought "I don't want to get fat." and then it hit me how often I've over eaten and thought the same thing. So, fresh from dog training success, I tried another thought. "What do I want to happen?" Well, what I wanted to happen was an easy to prepare, filling lunch that would taste good but not weigh me down and fuel me for the remainder of the afternoon whilst I figured out the rest of my life or at least the rest of my day. I tossed a meat/veggie mixture on some pasta and gnoshed away, quite pleased.

The thing is, when you are busy thinking about what you WANT to happen, you aren't worried about what you don't want to happen, what might happen, or what could should or would happen. It's a little bit like the mountainbiking "Don't look at what you don't want to hit."

I've been applying that a lot lately with my animals, with pretty good success. You can't really tell an animal not to do something and be successful unless you give them something to do. If you give them something to do, you don't really need to tell them not to do the other thing-they stop automatically.

I wonder if the human brain works the same way.


Mim said...

goodness...simple and effective. I like the mountainbiking reference and will try this.

Julie said...

Great ideas! I have noticed this with my Doozie too...they just ignore you telling them to shut up, but if I distract is amazing! I am going to change my thinking to what I want to happen! I LOVE how you used that technique with your eating too...I will share this with my family...great ideas!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Too bad I am not as easily trained as a dog. A very good way to try to control urges.

soulbrush said...

okay, let's see...what do i want to hapen about my weight increase these past few months...i want to go on a strict fast the first week of the holidays...will i do it???? fuck knows!

Michelle said...

Very interesting post. You are thinking and you are feeling. You need to Have Moments...come over to my blog and see what you think.

I only say that because I think it may be helpful to you.

Mariana Soffer said...

We are exactely the same with an added on the top of the brain. The higher more abstract cognitive functions, that allows us more powerfull reasoning. But the feelings and instincts don t change, and I would say that there are maybe what it counts the most in the end.