Thursday, January 20, 2011

A real life update!

Since my last update was just a store review (and a chance to show off my cute new stuff) this one will be a real update on my life. :)

Cesar's Way

The best thing about being out of work right now is Eva! She is a handful and a half to be sure, but Chris and I are avid Ceaser Milan fans and have had a lot of fun trying to remain "Calm and Assertive." It's funny how much I have misunderstood Cesar's approach towards dogs until now. There are so many little nuances of his discipline that I didn't grasp until I tried to apply them to Eva and realized they weren't working for me. Here's what I've learned:

  1. Remain calm and assertive towards Eva all the time.
What does that mean? I actually have to BE calm and assertive. I can't be pissed off and irritated and try and correct her in a calm voice because she knows I'm faking it and won't respect me. How crazy is that?? I always thought that, so long as I sounded calm (i.e. not yelling) that I was being calm, but it's so not true. I have to feel calm and assertive. The assertive part, to me, translates as a feeling of being in control of the situation. Which brings me to my next lesson Cesar taught me:

  • 2. Expect the reaction you want, not the reaction you are most used to receiving.
What does that mean? For an example, say that Eva is chasing Bean and I want her to stop. I correct her by making a loud "ah!" sound. I always thought from watching Cesar's show (he uses a "tsh" sound) that it was the sound that made the dog stop. Now I know that it's not the sound at all. It's the energy you are channeling through the sound to the dog that makes the dog respond. So, if I say "ah!" or "no!" to Eva but believe that she will ignore me, that doubt transfers through my energy to Eva and she knows. I don't know *how* she knows, but she definitely does! If I approach her as if I am in control of the situation and I absolutely know she is going to stop, she does. It's like a miracle. :)

  • 3. Eva is a dog, not a child.
This is a hard one. It's my impulse to baby Eva and so, when I've been away for a while and come home and she is SO excited, I greet her with equal excitement and pet her and want to give her a treat. Apparantly this is the WORST thing I could do. Now, every time I come home, I have to completely ignore Eva until she calms down a bit because my excited energy only feeds her hyperactivity and my petting her simply nurtures that state of mind and makes her believe that she is right to feel that way.

  • 4. Do not pet Eva when she is behaving in a way I do not approve of.
If Eva is nervous or barking or over-excited, it was my initial instinct to have her sit down and then I would pet her and make a soothing "shhhh" sound, like you would for a child. Cesar says that all this does is positively reinforce whatever behavior she is displaying rather than discouraging it. Damn. So now, if she is nervous, I just have to correct her in the same way I would if she is chasing the cat or galloping through the house like a crazy dog.

Those are the biggest things that I think have made the difference in Eva for me. She is a VERY hyperactive dog and gets excited really easily which is why it's such a chore to be around her at times. But we learned the funniest thing on our walk today; I am the alpha of the pack. Ha! I had no idea!! Chris was always talking about how badly Eva behaves for him on walks and this confused me because she really is like the perfect dog for me about 80% of the walk. So I went walking with him and Eva today and she like, nearly chokes herself trying to pull Chris ahead when he's walk her but, when I walk her, she creates no tension on the leash and walks behind me instead of trying to pull in front. hahahaha I'm the alpha! woohoo!

This experience with Eva is going to make it so much easier with future dogs, so I'm really thankful to know her! I'm planning on buying Cesar's books and leash when I visit home next week so that I can figure out what to do in depth.


I found out the details on how this move is going to go when our lease is up. We are allowed to move a maximum of 2 weeks before our lease ends on February 28th, which happens to be Feb 14th: the day after I get back from Texas. ha! Why do we do these things to ourselves? That means that, realistically, we won't get approved to sign a lease on a new property until Feb 14 either. Kind of frustrating, because I have visions of being turned down for every house we like! They won't pay more than $1000 p/w for any house and the house must have all built in closets (the original mining houses in Moranbah didn't have closets including the house we are in now. They put in detatched wardrobes instead. "built-ins" are wardrobes that have been built into the wall. Walk-ins are just about non-existant! ::tear::) and either a refurbished kitchen or bathroom. I think this is great! It means that BMA is really pushing property owners to improve the quality of their homes rather than charging $800 p/w for a 30 year old house that hasn't been touched in as long.

Because the market here is so liquid, the properties that are up for rent today most likely won't be the same properties up for rent 3 weeks from now but you can't blame a girl for looking! The office does pre-approve some properties, but the most they would approve us for if we applied through the pre-approved properties is a 3 bed/1bath. I know this may sound fair to you, but all the new homes are at least 3 bed/2 bath and we really want to move into a newer house (maybe one that actually has a foundation and sealed floors?) so we are choosing to look independantly.

ha! So remember how I said the market is liquid? The house I was going to show you that was on the market this afternoon is already leased. haha! Here are a couple other ones I'm looking at though:

-This is a new house! I like that it has a real garage instead of just a car-port and the interior pictures look really fresh. The colorbond fence would be really good for Eva! I don't like that there's absolutely no landscaping to speak of other than a green lawn (which is nothing to wink at in this climate) It's listed at 1200 p/w but the office said not to go by listed prices and that, if we tell people that we're only approved for 1000 p/w and will move in immediately if they drop the rent, most people will move it down. The trick *then* becomes whether the office thinks the house is worth $1000 p/w becaue they'll only approve homes they believe are at a fair market value.

-this is an older property in town but the renovations are unbelievable. This is my favorite house but it's really expensive!

I looooooooove this house!! It has the garage and colorbond fence but, in addition to that, it has a HUUGE kitchen! I love the open-plan set up. This is the most expensive house on the market at the moment though and I don't like our chances of talking them down from $1350 p/w to $1000. I'm pretty sure I'm dreaming. ;)

Soo those are the houses on the market that I like. Don't you love how they're ALL over $1000 p/w? The thing is that the house we are in now is just as good and better in some ways than all the houses on the market for less than $1000 p/w. I really don't want to move again after we find this house so I wish there were more new houses up. There used to be TONS when we were looking 2 years ago, so hopefully some more will pop up over the next couple weeks. If we don't see anything we like, then I'm thinking we'll try to negotiate an at-will or 4 month contract to try again in a few months time or, if we can get an at-will contract, then we'll just stay until we find the perfect house.

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