The life of Brian

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I couldn’t resist referring to the film…(if you haven’t seen ‘The Life of Brian‘, I’d definitely recommend it-although, according to my nearest and dearest: if I recommend a book or a film it’s better to steer clear of it)

One of my favourite scenes is Brian trying to reason with his followers:

Brian Called Brian: You don’t need to follow me! You don’t need to follow anybody! You got to think for yourselves! You’re all individuals! You’re all different!

Man: I’m not…

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I have always believed all dogs are unique and need to be treated as individuals.

Well, Brian is a fearful dog. Which means he needs a lot of patience. Which also means I need to control my emotions and never let him know there’s anything in the world to be afraid of when he’s around me. Brave face and so on. That’s the easy part. But I wouldn’t want anyone to think it’s all fun and cuddles. Watching your dog being terrified because someone’s approaching, seeing the heart-breaking fear in his eyes when he’s dealing with most natural, everday situations is hard.

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The first weeks of a dogs life are vital in his socialisation. If he doesn’t interact with people then, he’ll never be an easy-going, people-friendly, inquisitive and playful family dog. (By the way, this is a common problem of dogs from puppy farms -and they are definitely not advertised as fearful, needing a lot of work and requiring a behaviourist).

The thing is, I don’t mind. I don’t care that much if people understand it or not, I do ask them not to approach him if he looks really scared. All the training we do is to make sure he can function in our human reality and to reduce his stress as much as possible. The fact I expose him to things he’s scared of doesn’t mean I do it with no consideration for how it’ll affect him. It’s slow, gradual and controlled. He’s got a way out. I try to provide role models whenever possible (a calm and non-reactive dogs). The life of Brian is always going to be ‘training’. Though his training would probably be described as a therapy rather than a way to make him please people.

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Anyway: ‘always look on the bright side of life‘ šŸ™‚

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15 thoughts on “The life of Brian

      1. That’s a really cool song šŸ™‚ Shame we can’t be at our own funeral…Bill Withers’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ is mine (unless I change my Will before I die) for the same reason šŸ™‚ It’s not an obvious joke, but (when alive) I sound serious when I’m not and when people get confused I tell them: ‘anyone who takes me seriously has himself to blame’.

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      2. Lol I love that song too šŸ™‚ Another close favourite for me is ‘This Is The End’ by Jim Morrison and The Doors… My partner said I couldn’t possibly have that so I said it’s my funeral… I’ll have what I want! Then I pointed out the inevitable… he’s older than me lol!

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      3. Well, I celebrate my birthdays by doing what I want -and they are getting better every year, so I’m sure the funeral is simply going to be the climax . And (legally) you can request any song you want for your funeral, unless you want it to be a religious ceremony and the song could offend religious feelings of people present (though, in theory, you still could- but if you try to sue someone for not complying with your Will when you are already dead, you’ll set the most interesting precedent in the English Common Law!) x

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  1. I am so glad Brian has you in his life. Both our cat, Monkey, and dog, Violet, were rescues and had rough starts to their lives. Car rides and noises still bother 12-year-old Violet and Monkey hides whenever company comes because she was tormented by some young children when she was just a baby. I hope Brian will find his way in the world soon for both your sakes.

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  2. ’nuff said about funerals! I downloaded this song to be a ringtone on my phone. Any time it rings, it makes everybody around me smile. I also have a sunny yellow umbrella with this phrase around the rim (yeah, I do buy stuff at Broadway premieres if I like it). The more you describe your approach to Brian’s training, the more it sounds like therapy – you’re right! Sometimes I forget that Brian is a dog and not a kid in my school.

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