The Subconscious Manipulation - Essay/Journal Entry

For a large part of 74 years... in the early morning, my subconscious always awoke sooner. Most of the times, any “visions” during that stage were ignored or forgotten. However, as time passed another section of my brain began to develop a switch labeled “pay attention”. Eventually, the process was positively reinforced by following up on these spontaneous “brain bursts”.

It seems most are set in motion by a series of previous, conscious events. Most tend to target areas of making something simpler or providing a different slant on a faulty mind set. Change is easier to implement if the rationale is sound and my subconscious consistently appears to be confident.

At first, when consciously becoming more aware of these “events”, I often noticed the idea(s) would slip back into the abyss and disappear. I'd forget. Eventually. a modification in the awakening routine during these infrequent “bursts” included consciously preparing a reminder to write a brief description of the enlightenment as soon as possible. I should mention when first doing this, the messages were often written by a person still asleep.......too soon. Later, when attempting to decipher
the notes, they often made no sense. That part of the process has improved and the  following is a description of a recent “Subconscious Manipulation”.

It was evidently set in motion a few weeks ago when talking to a old training friend. Well....she's a women so old might not be the proper descriptor. Anyway, we have trained together many times in the past, but not so much the last couple of years. This summer we did get together on a blind issue with one of her dogs. Sometimes a problem becomes just “stuck” in the spot. Exchanging perspectives often seems to alter a way of looking at something.

So a few months pass. I do have a new pup and training seems to be going well. However, since I'm in "foreign territory" with Hillmann, things are a little bit less smoother than normal. Quite a bit of time is spent figuring out where we are and why. For a six month old pup, Pounce seems to be way ahead of the curve, but occasionally I'm not always in tune with a sequence variation or where it's going.

A few weeks ago, I called Anne (training friend) for a chat. I should mention that all her dogs eventually end up with MH titles plus the top titles in competitive agility and OB. She and her husband seem to plan every day around dog training.

However, our phone discussion was initiated to employ Anne's expert opinions about taking Pounce to a few AKC obedience classes. She knows a whole lot more about the AKC class sequences and I had questions specifically related to young Pounce's enrollment. In years past, I had taken Daisy and Gunny. It was fun. We learned a lot and the classes made the winter months of January and February in northern Illinois a bit more tolerable.

The correct class was quickly determined and our conversation somehow drifted to rewards in training which quickly evolved to using treats. My first comment was kind of flippant (but....I meant it). “I don't do treats!” I could immediately sense the tone of our conversation had taken a quick and edgy “one-eighty”. There were a few more exchanges where I repeated …..”But I don't do treats!” and I think because of my open denial plus subsequent comments of something along the lines of not  needing treats to get my dogs “to do tricks” was the reason I heard a rather terse “I've got a lot of things to do now.....I'll talk to you later.......Bye!”

My reaction was “Oops, I think I pushed the wrong buttons.” On the phone, it is not often easy to realize someone is "messing" with them.

So a week goes by and I'm watching a recent YouTube video of Pounce in a brief training session. I needed to “see” things from another perspective....thus the video. The exercise involved combining several different skills (all at once) with most of the focus on OB. Watching was revealing. She “kind of” did everything "just" OK, but it was sloppy and revealed that her responsiveness was a little bit on the order of lacking...which reflects on her training...which comes back to me. “Gulp!”

As strange as this seems, one of YouTube's promotional components is that upon the completion of viewing one video another may “pop up”. This time I was the recipient. The video that appeared on my monitor (right after Pounce's) was of Janice Gunn luring a very young puppy into performing some extraordinary motions/skills.....with treats.

At first, the relevance of the "video from no-where" was kind of spooky....why this sudden and almost perfect timing of treat training?. But...Hey! I'm into “deja vue” when it nails me in the forehead...So it wasn't long before I ordered her training video. It hasn't arrived yet, but evidently a subconscious manipulation decided to remind me to start thinking about it.

I'll admit that in my dark past I did use treats to teach my pups how to respond to the “down” command....and yes, Anne told me how to do this. So two nights ago (second gulp) I pulled out a few food pellets, put one in my closed hand, had Pounce on sit, placed my hand on the floor under her chest, palm down saying “Down.” and then flipping over an open palm with the exposed treat. With practice her form will improve, “Down” has been imprinted without making a big deal out of it (fun and rewarding).

The next morning, during a “heeling and hold” session, Pounce's eye contact was noticeably better and her responsiveness was different (for the better).  

So "the dog is out of the bag”, KwickLabs does treats because his subconscious told him to. Just don't tell Anne.

       "I'm a man, but I can change, If I have to, I guess." by Red Green

                                       note: entry from training journal
With an in-depth past in science, I have found the titles for each episode
          of the TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory hilarious...hence, the inspiration
                                for this "out of the box" training essay title.