Biography Becomes Biology

loki-juno-share-tugLast week was quiet on the Wild Dingo blogosphere. I was deep into a mind-body yoga teacher training program with Seane Corn, a leading national Vinyasa yoga instructor. There isn’t enough room here on Wild Dingo to write about the brilliance of her theories and practice except to dribble a little bit into the application of dog behavior.

In the mind-body yoga experience, we are taught that our bodies have memory–cellular memory. Each experience creates memory in our bodies on a physical, cellular level. A few years ago, I experienced a severe head injury due to a bike racing crash. For weeks, I told everyone it was no big deal. On a conscious level, I truly didn’t feel emotionally traumatized, and I looked forward to when I could ride a bike again. A week later when I put my leg over the top tube and crawled up on the saddle for a stationary training workout, I looked down at the top tube and a wave of panic and terror came over me and hit me in the stomach so hard, I nearly fell off the saddle and vomited. I burst into tears. The top tube triggered the fear I had forgotten. This makes perfect sense when understanding the biography of the body. What I consciously remembered about the actual accident was glancing down at the top tube and thinking that my entire titanium frame oddly felt like rubber, completely unstable and unsafe. I remembered the physical sensation of the instability, but I never remembered the fleeting yet oh-so-concentrated fear it created, possibly because it happened so fast that my consciousness could only process and remember the physical feeling. There was no time to be aware of the panic it was creating. A week later, the simple glance at the top tube while my body was in a relaxed riding position was all it took to trigger and release the fear that had been dormant in my body. This is an example of a short-lived impact of a biographical incident on my body’s biology. But, consider for a moment how any one incident or repeated incident can impact a person’s biology for the long term, which can lead to long-term tension, stress and anxiety and eventually to behaviors such as rage, over-eating, depression, violence and so-forth. When you can consider how biography and biology works in a human being, you can begin to understand the quarky behaviors of a rescued dog are the result of its biography. Continue reading “Biography Becomes Biology”

Modeling is Hard Work

loki-orange-shades-smallWe’ve been busy at Wild Dingo, photo shooting our “Go Orange” photos in support of Prevention of Animal Cruelty month. Loki and Juno are glad to support the cause. Loki is a happily working dog and has no complaints. He does his job. He gets paid. End of story. And he does his job spectacularly well. He will hold his pose for as long as I tell him. Juno? Well, let’s just say she’s a natural-born model/movie star, complete with the ‘tude. She complained about the working conditions, (too hot, too sunny, though we were in the shade), the difficulty of the poses, lack of breaks (she needed to lay down a lot), and of course, the pay. She needed to be paid a lot; twice as much as him. She often needed an advance on jobs or demanded to be shown her pay before she’d complete a job. I guess with the downturn in the economy and failing banks, she has little faith in the the D-FDIC (Doggie Food Deposit Insurance Company). Can’t blame her.

Here are some of the shots. I wish I were a better photographer! Continue reading “Modeling is Hard Work”

Oh Behave!

loki-abc-gradLoki passed his ABC (A Behaved Canine) certification this weekend. I never thought it would happen for this alligator on a leash. The judges had us perform one extra exercise that is not required for the certification, but merely had us do it just to see us sweat. All dogs had to stay down while a loose dog did a running recall right through all the down dogs to its owner. No big deal, but we were standing 15 feet away. Loki has a hard time resisting the temptation of a running dog. In fact, a few weeks ago, during an off-leash exercise on the training field, Loki chose to take off after a running/recalling husky instead of performing the off leash command I gave him. It was the longest 2 minutes of my life to get him back to me. That day we worked his obedience with “that” dog and he was never allowed to look at “that” dog again. Now he’s very confident while other dogs run, and sits mostly quietly at my side waiting for his turn. When he knows he’s working, he goes into his zone and then he just rocks my world.

Continue reading “Oh Behave!”

Please Leash Your Alligator

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The last two months its been really hard to say goodbye to the previous month’s masthead. I grow attached to them and it’s sad to see them archived. Then as I develop the new one, I start to smile and enjoy the process of creating something silly and fun.

I’ve had this image for four or five months knowing I would use it in the masthead some day. Loki is known at school as the Alligator on a Leash. I don’t think I have to explain why. His gapping mouth explains everything. And here he is doing what he does best, his “magnetic recall” full speed. His other nickname is “Nitro” because he’s fast, super strong, and well, a wee bit explosive. Just a wee bit.

Continue reading “Please Leash Your Alligator”