Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Being with Cats, an Ellie update

To fully grasp what is happening in this picture, take a look at this older update of once-chased-cats, a.k.a, Ellie.

A quick summary of what worked for us:

  • Manage encounters. 
  • Desensitize the dog to the presence of the cats through positive reinforcement behavioral adjustment methods. 
We, (not the royal we, but Ellie and myself) used Clicker Training, because Ellie liked the Clicker game.  She's not a very highly food-motivated dog, but she does love a good game with consistent rules and the click with reward fills that bill nicely.

It helps if the cats understand the game and will get in on it. I had trained a few little tricks for both of our cats just to see if I could do it. They enjoyed the game enough to come out for the clicker whenever I trained Ellie with the clicker, so that provided many opportunities for reinforcing the behavior that I wanted.

The initial behavior I wanted from Ellie when a cat was around was 'look away'.  Better yet, 'look at me'. But Ellie was so new to us, that I took the 'look away' first, and then it became 'look at me'.

As Ellie and I continued our practices together, and she went to dog school and other social outlets, it became clear that 'look' or 'watch' is really what she likes to do. It's as if the world is an infinite screen TV with all Ellie fun, all the time. She loves to watch, and she especially loves to watch movement. The dog behavior model that describes this is the 'drive' model, and this training model is often used with German Shepherd Dogs.

Funny Miss Ellie, though, isn't so interested in following through with a finish to the chase. Watching can sometimes be good enough. So part of my job is to help her have plenty of 'watch time'.

And so we come to Today. Socks passed on a few years ago, and today Kafka peacefully continues her transition journey from this life, with Ellie gently watching over her.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Invitation to a Yin experience

If I was to say
That would just be
more of the same

What if
I was to invite you
to join me
crawling mindfully
flowing in slow sprawl

receiving time
receiving your own wisdom
receiving your own self
some time to just receive

receive your sweet dark center
crawling in the light

Saturday, March 30, 2013

This one is for you

This one is for you
beautiful one
you know who you are

you are not this affliction
this harsh teaching
that reaches deep into your bones

at the root of this
is your own wisdom
that sharp shard of clarity
honed by shadow

your center holds
within the mist
beyond the veil
created in creating

how your fire burns
now slow glowing embers
flames flicker into the dance
a conflagration of consciousness
burning on the shore

the ocean that is your heart
makes waves
now turbulent
now dashing
clawing at the edge of solid spaces
to then lap gently in communion

speak freely with your wise self
tell her all your secrets
you know she knows them anyway

see your light
soft as the dandelion seed in flight
sharp as the thorn of the desert dwellers

you are not this affliction

know you are
this play of light and night
a symphony of silent sound
a resonance
a spaciousness

you know who you are
beautiful one
this one is for you

@jenny kendall, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Yoga Moment: Fierce Peace

when fear bangs on the door to your heart
sigh it out
make room
     for breath
          for ease
for the ferocity of peace

stand as a mountain
root deep as the tree
sigh it out
make room

Monday, March 4, 2013

Yoga Moment: Relationship to Earth

Today is a good day to explore
starting with your feet
and the way they connect
to Earth.

And how those feet
those wonderful, marvelous feet

with  your breath

Yes, today is a good day
to explore Earth.