We have a Winner!

Thanks to all the faithful followers who’ve been not only reading but occasionally writing with us.  We appreciate you spending your time her with us at Her Story Calls.

Because she is bold,  innovative, and because I loved her twisty little story she posted for the entertainment of others, the winner of this weeks drawing is Jessica Aspen.

Thank you Jessica, for reading and writing with us at Her Story Calls.

I loved your contribution to our All Hallow’s Eve Celebration and hope you continue to share with us in the coming year.

Congratulations!

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Guest Blogger!

Please help me welcome Rae Renzi who’s latest release is “Dog Daze”, and please feel free to check out her website and her other books!

Why Training a Dog is Easier than Training a Man (or Woman).

In my newest book, DogDaze, there are scenes that deal with dog training.  While writing them, I naturally thought about the difference between training a dog (with which I’ve had some success) and training a human (with which I’ve had no discernible success).

From my point of view, training a dog is easy if you know his motivation and how his brain works. The motivation part is simple—nothing is more important to your dog than pleasing you. All you have to do is tell him how.

This is where the brain comes in. A dog’s brain works best when a single line can be drawn between cause (stimulus) and effect (response). The desired situation is for you to make a request (like “sit”), your dog to immediately respond with the appropriate action (dropping his hind end onto the ground), thereby incurring your pleasure.

To accomplish this, you only have to remember the cardinal rule for training: one command, one action, no variation. People go astray when they muddy up commands with other irrelevant words, like “come on, damn it, sit!” which forces the dog to try to sift through the words to find the right one. Possibly worse is using a different string of words each time for a single command. A dog will have trouble understanding that “Buddy, sit!” means the same as “Come on, sit, you mangy mongrel!” or “Sitsitsit!” A similar problem on the other end is mapping the words to the action. At any given moment your dog is wagging his tail, panting, whining, dancing around or, possibly, sitting. He can’t know which one you want unless you make it clear. In the dog’s case that means showing him what you expect immediately after making the request (once!), and doing so consistently.

The most important point here, in terms of relationships, is that you probably have no expectation that the dog will sit unless you tell him to. That is (and this is key), you have no expectation that your dog will read your mind, no matter how brilliant he is.

Not necessarily the case with humans. We tend to forget that we are animals, too. Just like in dogs, the human brain responds best when there is a clear and reliable link between cause and effect. Like dogs, we like it when there is no ambiguity in the request, no expectation of mind reading, and an immediate reward for the desired response.

I’ve had more than one baffling experience of communication and expectation going astray, but one of the most memorable was when my boyfriend (who was in medical school then, and busy much of the time) became upset because I’d seen a particular movie with my sister instead of waiting to see it with him. This, in spite of the fact that he’d never mentioned the movie to me, and seldom wanted to see movies. His complaint was that I should have just known that he wanted to see the movie. Essentially, he expected me to read his mind. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t.

Dogs can teach us a lot about relationships, and not only about unconditional love, for which they’re famous. We’re all, dogs included, just a collection of stimuli and responses.  It’s worth noting that we’re governed behaviorally by many of the same rules, and if we pay attention to that, life just might be simpler.

Rae Renzi is the author of the award-winning novel RiverTime, and a brain and behavior scientist. Her newest book, DogDaze has just been released at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores. When she’s not writing or delving into the mysteries of the mind, she enjoys gardening, bike riding and seeking out graffiti/street art. Visit her at www.RaeRenzi.com.

DogDaze

 

Ditsy Tarkington, a feisty, modern-day British aristocrat, thinks family ties are tantamount to slavery, but the love of her life, Nocona Wiley, a former soldier with unknown parentage and uncertain ancestry, holds family sacred. Assaulted by cultural prejudice and family responsibilities, the lovers are torn apart, but a pair of canny canines, a coveted job opportunity and the terrifying fallout of a drug-running scheme bring them back together to learn that where there is love, there are no barriers.

Regrets

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.”

– John Barrymore

Tell what you think you’ll gain by putting others first and saving yourself for last.  What will be accomplished if you serve the needs of all those around you and sacrifice your own dreams.

Which would you prefer, your headstone in the Cemetery should read “She gave her dreams for those who needed her to cook a meal” or,  “She lived life as if there was no tomorrow”?

I’m thinking lived life is the stone I want.

When my son was young I gave the best I had to keep the house together. To make life good as it could be, and to make him feel secure and loved.  There were a lot of things I wanted to do.  Then those things were dreams to be put aside so we could pursue the practical and see him grow into the man he is today.  And now, having done that job, fairly well I think, it’s my turn.

No more dreams on hold.  Housework will be there tomorrow and I’m not the only person who can run the vacuum or do laundry or cook a meal.  All those chores will still be there for the doing tomorrow.

I still have the day job, but I still take pride in the work I do, and I think I’m good at the job.  When I get home though?  That time is for me, to pursue my dreams which will soon become my reality.

I do believe persistence will pay off, and I will see my dreams become reality and so the stone I’m hoping for will be “a life fully explored without regrets”.

The Little Things

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”

– Colin Powell

Much like the guidelines for a satisfying life, the prevailing attitude with which we approach life tells others a lot about us, about who really are as people.

When we write we do this with our characters, but sometimes fail to recognize the behavior in our daily lives.

Tell me, how do you approach your day?  Do you wake up before the alarm goes off?  Do you lie there for just a minute or two, grateful for the opportunity of another day? Is this another chance to do things right, to start fresh?

If we practice excellence to excess, we delight in doing the best job we can whenever we complete a task.  In other words, we take pride in our work and revel in a job well done no matter how small, or seemingly menial the task seems to others.  For people like us, it’s a matter of pride.

I take pride in making the time to do the smallest job right.

Some days it seems to me, this attitude of approaching everything you do with equal importance is a lost art;  the little things can often be delegated to others with more time and less important claims on their time and attention.  But is that really true?

Just because some one else has less demands on their hours, is their time less valuable?

I don’t think so.  We all get the same twenty-four each and every day,.  It’s true, you decide how to spend yours and I am in charge of how my time is spent, but whose time is more valuable?

I think the person who spends wisely, with little or no regret, is the true winner.

So, what I spend my time on will be the pursuit of excellence, even in the smallest of things.

How about you?