Puppy Socialization: Stop Fear Before it Starts – Dr. Sophia Yin uggs fear

Puppy Socialization: Stop Fear Before it Starts

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By Dr Sophia Yin

Case 1: My Pomeranian puppy, Fluffy, barks at men, especially those wearing hats and beards. It’s embarrassing because I never know when we’ll encounter a man on a walk so I can’t just avoid them. Why is she so rude and what can I do? My neighbor’s dog does the same thing and her dog actually bit someone who was just walking by on the street. I don’t want Fluffy to do that!

Case 2:Our old dog, Rex was afraid of brooms, vacuum cleaners, trashcans, and other loud sounds. We have a new puppy and he’s the same breed. Is there anything we can do to make sure he turns out differently?

Case 3: Spike refuses to walk on wet or frosty grass or to go potty outside when it’s raining, even on the concrete. We don’t understand why he’s so prissy. It’s making it very difficult for us to potty train him.

These cases may sound very different but they all have one factor in common, they are all a result of incomplete socialization.From about 3 weeks to about 3 months of age, puppies are primed for bonding to other animals and individuals, for learning that objects, people, and environments are safe, and for learning what the body cues and signals of others mean. It is their sensitive period for socialization and it is the most important socialization period in a dog’s life. Puppies who do not get adequate socialization during this period tend to be fearful of unfamiliar people, or dogs, or sounds, objects and environments.

Veterinary behaviorists and other trained behavior specialists recommend puppies attend a puppy socialization class and practice regularly, but what types of interactions should puppies actually have? While some owners focus just on exposing puppies to many people and situations, it’s important to actually make sure that the puppy is having a positive experience and learning something good.

The following abridged section from Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right provides examples of what to socialize puppies to and how to socialize them starting even before the puppies have been adopted into their final home. By starting early and being consistent owners will provide the best chance that their pup will grow into a happy confident dog. Here are some recommendations.

Provide puppies with positive experiences with unfamiliar people of different sizes, genders, ethnicities.  Invite guests to come interact with the puppies while providing treats and toys to ensure the puppies are having a positive experience. Interacting with only household humans is not enough.

These puppies were nervous at first when they were handled by visitors. They showed their anxiety by trembling when held or refusing to take treats and moving around and playing less when the visitors were around. They were also more fearful of men, a common occurrence with dogs and puppies. By 6 weeks of age, after having several visitors a week, they are now relaxed around most new visitors, including men. It’s important that visitors wear a variety of clothes. My Jack Russell Terrier, Jonesy, randomly barked at people wearing Ugg® boots for a year, and he barked at one of my assistants because he didn’t recognize her when she was wearing this hooded sweater. One of the puppies from the litter pictured here also reacted to this person’s hood or her boots. He barked at her once while jumping back. Then he decided she was safe and approached to get treats.

Socialize Puppies to Children.

To puppies and dogs who have never seen kids, children can look like little aliens. As puppies mature, children can also start looking more like toys or things they should chase because they scream and run and flail their arms like injured prey. If the breeder does not have or know children whom the puppies can interact with she should at least play sounds of children and babies from a sound CD such as SoundsGood CD (http://www.legacycanine.com). The new family should also be told that the puppy is lacking in this experience and that they should make a special effort to provide good interactions with children.

These puppies have never seen a child, but because they’ve been socialized to so many other things by 7 weeks of age, they immediately accept this child as safe.  The child also knows how feed them treats and this helps them associate her with good experiences.  Because these puppies have already been handled a lot, they let the child pick them up and relax regardless of the position she holds them in.

Socialize Puppies to Other Species.

Many puppies will live with cats or other animals at some time during their life or they may see animals of other species. It would be best if they could react calmly instead of barking, lunging or chasing these other animals.

Reward calm behavior when other animals are present: This puppy is learning to sit calmly in the presence of the cat. Not only do we want dogs to feel safe and unafraid around other animals, we also want them to behave calmly. So we should reward calm behavior. This puppy’s entire litter is good with cats—at least those cats in two household settings. The puppies sometimes try to solicit play but are not overly rambunctious when the cats decline by walking away.

Train Puppies to Walk on Different Surfaces:

Probably everyone knows a dog who’s afraid of walking on metal manhole covers in the street or grates on the sidewalk. Or dogs who won’t step on wet grass to go potty. By exposing puppies to different surfaces when they are young we can greatly decrease the likelihood they will be afraid of walking on a variety of surfaces later in life. This exposure to different surfaces is something that can easily be started by the breeder-especially since the sense of touch is well developed, even at birth.

Walking on metal surfaces: These puppies find yummy treats on this metal surface and readily climb on. With repeated practice they will have no problems standing on a metal scale or metal table at the veterinary hospital. Standing on an exam table: This puppy has no fear of being on the metal examination table at the veterinary hospital. We give him treats to ensure that he has a positive experience. We’re using baby food on a tongue depressor as our treat.

Exposure to water and wet grass: The weather during the first 8 weeks of these puppies’ lives has been warm and dry.As a result, they haven’t had any exposure to rain, cold, or wet grass. The best simulation we have is a little infant pool with water and fake grass. This will help accustom them to the feel so that they don’t grow up to be sissies who can’t go out to potty when the weather is rainy and the yard is wet. You can use wet sod or mud instead.

Exposure to frost or snow: These Corgi puppies live in Alaska so they are receiving exposure to the cold early on. They run on the frost and play in the cold like it’s normal for them, because it is.

Imagine what housetraining would look like if these guys didn’t like going outside in the cold weather!

Introducing Puppies to Other Man-made Objects and Sounds:

Most people never appreciate the every-day sounds and sights that might be frightening to a pet or even a person raised in a completely different environment. But once you have a dog who missed out on key environmental experience when young it can be overwhelming to deal with all of the objects they fear.

Dogs must also learn that regular-everyday objects are safe: Jonesy, the Jack Russell Terrier that I adopted at 8 months of age, poses with some of the objects he used to be afraid of but is OK with now. When walking down a typical city street he would bark at or tremble and shy away from about 2-3 objects per block—garbage cans, sidewalk signs, murals of dogs, skateboards, metal pipe sticking out of the wall. The list goes on. He was fearful because he’d been raised in a rural environment.

 

These are just a handful of the items and situations for which puppies should be socialized. To see the full –unabridged version and find out more about teaching puppies to enjoy being handled and to enjoy toenail trims and other common procedures, read Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right.

Also download the free puppy socialization checklist.

What objects/sounds/environments do you wish your dog had been better socialized to as a puppy?  Share your story here!

Learn how to read your dog's body language with this poster!

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Tags: dog, dogs, perfect puppy in 7 days, puppy, puppy socialization, puppy training, training tips

13 responses to “Puppy Socialization: Stop Fear Before it Starts

  1. ugg australia classic kortr class="comment-meta">
    debi callahan says:

    Do you have advice for people who aquire a dog that is older that has social problems with new people? We have a 2yr old chahuahua/weiner dog who is great with a select few people he knows,but growls and tries to bite anybody new. Its frustrating! We don’t get many vsitors so its hard to take him anywhere.

    Reply
  2. Sophia says:

    Step 1 is to take your dog through the learn to earn program that’s in the Perfect puppy book. The goal of this is to build up some emotional control and teach her to look to you for guidance. Then you want to train positive experiences around ALL unfamiliar people until you’re sure he’s ok with them. you may want to look at low stress handling and beh mod of dogs and cats online edition chapter 12 (lots of examples) + read the fear sections in how to behave so your dog behaves. also look at the dog behavior issues page and read all the blog articles on dog bite prevention. They talk about the signs of fear and things people do accidentally that increase the chances that they will be bitten.

    sophia

    Reply
  3. Susanne Cummings says:

    There seem to be so many dogs out there with thunderstorm phobia.
    Do you have any suggestions for how to prevent that in puppies? I have worked with my young dogs during storms & it definitely worked, but what about puppies born in winter? I assume recordings don’t work as well as the real thing, since there are no vibrations, etc.?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Michelle Williams says:

    Hi

    I have your perfect puppy book, and i have to say that initially i thought it was draconian to have your puppy tied to you constantly initially. i now realise the benefit of it in not having done it! and i’m struggling a little.

    we adopted an abandonded puppy from the SPCA when she was 5 weeks (they told us she was 7 or 8 weeks, the vet didn’t agree). she had diaherra for 10 days and she wasn’t eating. it was therefore really dificult to put into practice the advice in the book.

    now she still is not very food motivated, so some things she gets quickly, but others i still have issues with. i have used your method and prastice tips to prevent pulling on the lead whilst in the house. she gets it immediatly. perfect puppy. i take her out and she’s far more interested in everything else than she is in me. i can’t get her attention. i try to reward the lack of pulling by getting what she wants – which is to keep going. so when she pulls i stop. she sits. but with her back to me. i wait until she looks at me, or comes back to me (which takes a really long time) when she does we go again. she pulls immediatly. and yet at other times she walks perfectly to heal. around the house on the lead, off the lead etc.

    the other issue i have is with barking. recently she has just started barking at people and cars outside, and food or treats do not interest her. i just read the theory on the reason for barking, and that it is a response to human. so clearly she wants to tell me something, and i’m not getting it. i don’t know what to do in this case. i tried hgging her. i tried going outside with her to see the cause of the noise. i tried giving her treats whilst the noise was there. i tried distracting her by trying to play with her. in all cases she stood and barked and barked. her body language showed that she was a lttle stressed, but not unduly so. the examples you;ve given on treating dog’s who bark at the dinner table won’t work in my case! can you suggest some other response i need to make to help her?

    Reply
  5. Cathy Hennicke says:

    Our son and daughter in law adopted a not quite 2 year old English mastiff. Unfortunately he was crated for long hours during the day and not socialized. He has come a long way since they got him 5 months ago but he still is not dog friendly. We have taken him to a vet but take him to the very first appointment in the morning as to not run into other dogs. They hired a “dog trainer” who after several visits brought his dog to their property and of course the mastiff went crazy and it became a nightmare for them when he attacked the other dog and bit the trainer in the meantime. The vet has commented that she can see he has made great progress since his first visit but we still need advice on how to introduce him to other dogs. Of course you can guess by the breed that he is a very strong 150 pound boy. We would appreciate any and all suggestions you can give. Thanking you in advance.

    Reply
  6. Curtis Righter says:

    Dr. Sophia you did tremendous job by sharing such informative and useful tips for puppies!! I owned two cute puppies and I think by following your info, I can take extra care of my buddies. Thanks

    Reply
  7. thanks says:

    thanks so much

    Reply
  8. Rozan Ross says:

    We adopted two dogs on Dec. 23rd, a female 2 month old terrier mix, and a 1 yr old male terrier mix.
    The puppy, Jessie, showed severe aggression the second day we had her. It has been 3 weeks and she still does this on a daily basis, for a variety of reasons. She doesn’t like to be stopped from what she’s doing, ( and having her paws wiped), she will initiate fights with the male, she tries to get his food, etc.
    I have been watching videos and even received a call back from a professional dog trainer. He told me that Jessie is inheritantly vicious, and our options are to spend thousands of dollars for training to modify her behavior, or we should return her to the rescue group. She seems to be a happy, loving dog for the most part. She clearly asserts her dominance, with us and with the other dog, Jack.
    I guess what I need to know right now is if you think she can be broken of this behavior, or do we return her before any more time goes by ? I am heartbroken over this. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Sandra says:

      I purchased a Shishon puppy when he was 3 months old. At the time purchase him, I noticed that all the other puppies were playing together while this puppy sat away from them by himself. He was larger that all the rest and so adorable. The day I brought him home he was such a sweetie but the next day was
      a different story. He was definitely trying for the Alpha male role. He is agressive and his mouth is always open and biting, He is also very destructive with everything and wired constantly and won’t let you pick him up to just love him. Everything I try to do with him he fights me! I have had puppies since I was 6 year old and now I am a grandmother and never had a dog this difficult and impossible to train.
      He is now almost 6 months old and was recently neutered so he should be calming down. I now think he was not socialized at all for the 3 months before I got him and he is just not going to give in on anything. I tried to wash around his eyes with a warm wash cloth and he was biting me the whole time. I want to keep this puppy but I don’t know what to do next. I did not think the Shi-Tsu/Bishon breeds were predisposed to this obstinate and aggressive behavior. What can I do to stop him from attacking every time he does not like something?? I do reward him for good behavior and I do crate him when he gets too bad. Of course he fights everything including his crate. When he is tired he really does get mean. Any suggestions or information would be helpful as I am lost as to what to do. I previously had 2 Scottish Terriers and both of them were so easy and devoted. This little guy is just wired to be difficult… Thank you for any help you can give me as I love this stinker.

      Reply
  9. Jason says:

    This article is fantastic! We actually bought the book and it was a great read for working with puppies. I think we didn’t realize just how much you can socialize a puppy in a short amount of time to so many things. Even tho its not as effective we are still working on different things with our new pup even tho he is already 5 months. Its just little bit more work but it helps a bit. Thanks for all the great info!

    Reply
  10. Victor Sibley says:

    I read your article about puppy socialization but what about adult dogs. My wife and I were given a seven year old Maltese when our 86 year old friend died. She raised the dog from a puppy in her small one bedroom mobile. The dog goes crazy whenever trash cans are moved outside she Barks A lot and runs around a lot she even tried to bite a pillow next to my wife on the sofa. Every time we use the vacuum cleaner she does the same thing trying to bite the vacuum cleaner. What can we do about this. Thank you Hannah’s owner.

    Reply
  11. Shari Johnson says:

    Tears are running down my face right now… one month ago I had to put my dear dear 1 year, 4 month old, 75#, gorgeous, blue merle, brilliant Aussiedoodle to sleep… Jasper’s breeder had him until he was 4 months old and did not socialize him at all. His first owner did everything right… puppy classes, socialization as outlined in this article, but as he grew she realized he was too big, too reactive for her to manage safely in her home when visitors came and in public. She returned him to his breeder from whom I adopted him. To make a long story short, I worked hard with him for 9 months under the tutelage of experienced, professional trainers. He improved in many ways but as time passed his fear and reactivity intensified and became more unpredictable…his world narrowed because of his size, strength and energy. In consultation with his vet and the trainers it was decided euthansiation was the only solution. My vet told me the window for solving his issues was long long past. Folks, please please only adopt from reputable breeders and rescues… it is one thing to put a dog to sleep when they are terminally I’ll another when they are young, healthy and full of incredible potential save fear based reactivity.

    Reply
  12. Jake Ure says:

    I have an 8 month-old standard poodle that I have only had for about 2 months. She has anxiety like I have never seen in a dog. The litter wasn’t socialized at all when I got her. These puppies were living out-of-doors in a chain link kennel this past winter in Utah. I got my dog and her smaller sister considering them to be a rescue. My friend has the sister and reports similar problems but to a much less extent. Sometimes she is okay but the smallest thing like a neighbor in their yard will set her off. Even frequent and familiar situations like taking her to work with me can create anxiety for her with the anxious level varying from medium to terrible. I don’t know what to do and would like any advice on where to start or who can help. We live in Logan Utah.

    Reply

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Enhance Yourself

Personal Development for a More Fulfilling Future

Why Weight? – How NLP Can Help With Weight Loss

Everyone is different and needs a tailored weight loss solution
The NLP and hypnosis approach to losing weight

How can NLP help with weight Loss?

Help with losing weight is one of the  two most common problems people come to see me about. And interestingly it’s one of the most difficult to treat. I believe that the solution to weight loss is not all in the mind, but equally, it’s very hard to keep the mind on track a couple of weeks into a new way of eating. Gary Taubes’ excellent article  “What if it’s all been a big fat lie?”  in the New York Times explains how we’ve been fed mis-information for the past few decades, and that has really screwed up our bodies in a way which has made us, certainly in the Western world, a race of people who are fatter now than at any point in history. It’s easier to gain weight, harder to lose it, and the side effects of being fatter are really unpleasant. Amongst others, tiredness, lack of energy and reduced motivation to do anything much. Taubes’ book “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” suggests that, contrary to popular culture, these side effects are actually a consequence of becoming obese, it’s simply not the case that they are the cause of obesity.  A fact that my patients find reassuring.

So how can we help someone lose weight?

When a client comes through the door wanting to lose weight, what do we do? Some people are easy,  I’ve had a number of people who eat mainly fresh food with junk only on high days and holidays, they are the people who simply tend to have a weakness that they can’t resist indulging.  Usually chocolate! There are any number of NLP and hypnosis techniques that will work brilliantly for this situation.  I prefer to choose the techniques which are not aversion based.  I don’t really want people gagging when offered a piece of chocolate.  I always think that it’s better if they can either take it or leave it, and simply feel not bothered whether they eat the chocolate or not.

What if diet really is the cause of the problem?

It’s more difficult to help people who simply don’t know that their diet is the cause of their problem. And here, because the solution does mean changes for which they are solely responsible, it’s really important to set people up for success. It’s important to begin with a little education and to find a diet which suits them and which they feel will fit into their lives without too much pain. One of my personal favourites is the paleo style Caveman diet, as gluten has been linked to a number of health problems which also cause lack of energy, digestive disturbances and the like. Noticeable improvement of any of these conditions helps to motivate the individual to stay with the eating plan on an ongoing basis. Of course one of the things which best motivates people is to see results.  For this reason a Fast weight loss diet plan can be the answer.  Having read a few fast diet plan tests,  I sometimes suggest the 3 Week Diet. Although it’s not the easiest plan to follow, standing on the scales each morning and seeing the weight drop off is usually enough to motivate most people to get started. And once they are started, we can work on discovering which strategies are most effective and how we can integrate those into their lifestyle to help ongoing weight loss and subsequent weight maintenance. Significant dietary changes can be too much for some people – and less radical diets can feel more achievable.  For women the Venus Factor might be the one they can imagine themselves succeeding with.  That’s the important thing. Once a person believes that they will get a result, it’s much easier to stick with the diet.

How do we stick to the diet?

It’s true to say that almost all diets will work – if people stick to them. But sticking to them is the really hard part.  So our next job is to examine the triggers for eating and develop mental strategies to re-train our minds into making healthier choices – and making healthier choices seem highly desirable. Mentally, we start by implanting the goal deeply into the client’s mind.  To do this,  we ask the client to imagine what will happen once the weight loss goal as been achieved.  Make the most vivid, detailed, positively realistic picture possible. Picture the scene; .you got on the scales that morning and you were at your target weight.  You feel wonderful,  filled with joie de vivre, full of the kind of energy you used to feel when you were younger. As you look in the mirror, you see a body you thought you’d never see again.  Attractive curves where before there was an overflowing stomach.  You notice how much better you look in your new, slimmer clothes.  As you go about your day, friends tell you how good you look, and once the day is nearly over, there is energy to spare for a wonderful romantic time with your partner – who you are happy to undress in front of.

So how to we stop wanting it now?

Then we turn to address the more immediate, short term, triggers for eating.  I feel unhappy or bored or If I don’t eat it up it’ll just go in the bin.  There are any number of these little habits or incidents throughout a week which are so deeply ingrained that it’s very hard for us to consciously argue with the “instant gratification” part of our brain which produces such strong feelings of need. The first thing to know is that these feelings of need will subside. They are difficult for our minds to maintain for very long and any distraction will help move the mind on to think of other things and allow the feelings to subside.  If the phone rings, you completely forget about the cake while you chat to your friend. The second thing we would do is to look at any specific triggers for unhelpful eating. The purpose of NLP at this point in the process is to help people be more conscious and thoughtful at the point where their “instant gratification” reaction (eat the cake) ultimately makes them feel bad.  Our job is to help people have a wider range of choices in the way that they respond to the trigger.  As everyone is different, the skill is picking the technique(s) which will be most helpful for the client and tailoring it specifically so they gain maximum benefit. The video below shows a clip of one of the UK’s most innovative NLP trainers, Andy Austin, working with a client who’s weight loss has plateaued.  As he questions her, he’s paying particular attention to the language she’s using, especially the metaphors. This gives huge clues as to how she is internally representing the different aspects of the problem.  And often why the problem is not going away on it’s own.  Often a change of perspective is one of the things which is required in order to find new solutions to old problems.  

 

 

There are big clues to picking the right techniques and approaches and that will have to be the subject for a follow-on post. If the person seems hypnotisable however, it’s almost always more beneficial to use a more hypnotic version of whichever technique. The reasons people put on weight are many and varied, I hope this post has given a brief overview of the way that NLP can help the weight loss process by tailoring the whole approach specifically to the individual, taking into account how they they see themselves, their life situation and motivations.

So what exactly is “NLP”?

So what exactly is this “NLP” thing?

Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP is based on modelling excellence.  Breaking down how people who are brilliant at certain things do that skill. Then, just as importantly, teaching the skill to others so that they too can get excellent results. Perhaps not quite as excellent of course. But it certainly gives a huge insight and head start into achieving the same results.

The difference that makes the difference

You might think that that sounds straightforward. And you would be right. But it’s not just the physical things people do; it’s the attitudes and beliefs that they have when they are “performing” their skill that can be even more key.

We can probably all think back to our school days and recall a few of examples of different types of teachers.  There was the teacher who came into the room, filled it with fear and instantly everyone was quiet and on their best behavior. There was also the one who had absolutely no control of the classroom. And then there are the teachers whose students behave well not out of fear, but out of respect and affection. These are often the ones who just seem to know how to get the best out of the diverse individuals in front of them.

All these teachers may have gone through the same training, but it’s the way that they are, their attitudes and personal beliefs that make the difference.

I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from some great hypnotists – and also I’ve learnt what not to do from a couple of really dreadful ones.  My observation is that the great ones have an absolutely unshakeable belief that they are going to succeed in hypnotising their volunteer.  There is no shadow of doubt in their minds.  Once they’ve picked their subject,  everything else is a foregone conclusion and they truly are The Hypnotist.  The mediocre ones simply don’t have that presence, attitude or belief.  

So Is NLP Therapy?

The early pioneers of NLP, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, modeled the very best psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and family therapists they could find.   Then to see if they had identified “the difference that makes the difference” they tested out their observations by treating real patients themselves. They wanted to find out if they too could achieve the same positive outcomes for their patients as the therapists they had studied. 

NLP is often thought of as “therapy lite”  but it actually is not, in itself, therapy.  In the course of their therapeutic modelling, Bandler and Grinder had documented their discoveries and turned them into systematic techniques which anyone can use to help individuals change. These techniques can help to reduce anxiety, cure phobias and really encourage people to see their problems or challenges in new and different ways.

So how is it relevant to me?

Of course, just because two people modeled therapists doesn’t mean that therapy is the only area of interest.  Charles Faulkner modelled Chicago bond traders and market wizards, and as he explains, he always starts by testing out what he’s learned on himself.  So you can imagine he’s done quite well out of that!

Colleagues who would never think of speaking in front of a group of people have modelled great public speakers and now can hold forth confidently in front of even large audiences.

And of course for something a little more fun, friends have modelled how to flirt (believe that that the other person wants to talk to you, but accept rejection as nothing personal and move on). How to wrap beautiful Christmas presents, and how to successfully train for a marathon (OK not so much fun, but it was hugely helpful).

So what would you like to be better at?

So if I want to learn something new I usually just buy a book on it.  And then I can muddle through and develop a basic level of competence.  But for things which we want to excel at, there’s something we can all do which the instruction books rarely mention.

Find someone who can already do it and find out how exactly they do it so well.  Ask them not just  how they do physically do it, but also what the critical things that they pay attention to. Find out what they believe about themselves while they are doing it. What attitudes are important for them to perform the skill at such a high level.  Who are they when they are doing it well.  What is the difference that makes the difference?  

 

 

 

My Journey into the World of Personal Development

I stumbled into personal development completely my accident.  I had treated my mother to a day at a health spa for a pampering mother’s day treat.   While we were there I thought I might as well take full advantage of the wonderfully relaxing treatments myself.

So there I was, lying on a massage table, being attended to by the most gorgeous young man.  Much to the disappointment of many of his clients, it was his last weekend at the spa. He was off to America to train in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).  As he started to enthuse about it, I began to understand why he was so fascinated.

A Fascination for Hypnosis

Co-incidentally, I had long been interested in hypnosis.  When I was a teenager, Paul McKenna was on the TV on Saturday nights doing stage hypnosis.  My friend Jane and I thought it was great so we got a book on hypnosis out of the library and practiced hypnotizing each other.  We would read the script in the book to each other, but never really had any success, as by the time we got to the part about relaxing our buttocks, we were usually in hysterical laughter.  None the less I found it fascinating.

Time to learn more

So when I stumbled upon the chance to do and NLP practitioner course, certificate in personal coaching and a diploma in hypnotherapy at the same time I jumped at it.

It was hard work.  10 weekends over the course of a year, plus lots of extra study and assignments for the diploma.  But it was completely absorbing and I was literally entranced.

I also loved hanging out with a completely diverse group of people from all walks of life, from librarians to sportswomen to record producers. They all had the same fascination with learning more about people and how to use that knowledge to help both themselves others.

And Now?

Many years later I’m now a teaching assistant on advanced NLP courses. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the UK’s most respected coaches and trainers. I’ve been practicing professionally since 2008 as an NLP coach and Hypnotherapist specializing in anxiety and weight loss. I have learned not to mention NLP when I tell people what I do, as most people still look completely bemused when I mention it.

So how has life changed as a result of this Personal Development Journey?

For me, principally it’s meant a new career.  I enjoyed my old life in IT, but sometimes it’s nice to talk to real people instead of a computer.  And it’s incredibly rewarding to get enthusiastic feedback from the people I’ve helped.

I also find it very motivating.  Knowing that I can achieve my goals.  All I need to do is find some-one who’s done it before and there is a model for me to be able to achieve everything I might want to to do.

I know pay much greater attention to other people. What they say, how they say it.  People are very literal in their choice of words.  They will tell you what they really want, but you may only notice if you’re really paying attention.

If I had my time again I’d definitely do it all again. I’ve loved the learning process. The insight into how the mind works and the skills and knowledge which I use to my advantage every day.  But most of all I’ve enjoyed the company of everyone I’ve had the pleasure of sharing this journey with.

 



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  1. #1801
    Carmilla
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Quote Originally Posted by Earthquake View Post
    yeah I know a lot of people laugh like my friends do. But I don't feel like I could have sex with a stranger or someone I don't have a connection with. I've passed on a few chances due to be really apathetic and not wanting to have sex with someone I don't know.
    THIS. This is so me. I don't think we are majority but there is nothing really wrong with that either. I can only get really attracted to someone I love or close friends only. Maybe I could have a sex with a stranger woman, but a guy? no way. I mean many people prefer to do it with someone they love (and I think so too when I choose to do it with someone I love instead of a close friend), but I'd probably be disgusted with a stranger.
    I don't think it really has anything to do with apathy either though, have you heard about demisexualism? (I don't identify as one but it might interest you)
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  2. #1802
    NER
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    First day of Ramadan, my faith (whats left of it) is all over the place, and I want out of Saudi.

    I cant take this country anymore, its killing me. I feel like my life was wasted. :(
    I am graduating next year and I'll try to find a job outside of Saudi as soon as I do. Honestly almost anywhere is fine. It doesn't even have to be very far from Saudi. I am fine with Bahrain or UAE.

    I feel so tortured and I am a male. I would have probably committed suicide if I was born a female in this bitch of a country.



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    This phony honor code that puts you on your throne, a double standard you invoke when you want~
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  3. #1803
    Monkey King
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Quote Originally Posted by taboo View Post
    Just remember that lesbians have sex all the time and they experience on average more orgasms than hetero couples
    I feel like that's probably because you have to get a little more detailed and work at it. Really hands on, and matters of precision. Also understanding the female body better to begin with lol.
    "Art from adversity" sort of.

    Probably lots of dudes just sort of begin and end on "DICK IN, BACK AND FORTH, COMPLETE". And never even get around to exploring the finer points of anything much else.
    I mean all those jokes and comments about foreplay being a chore are coming from somebody, thats gotta be these sorry saps.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Quote Originally Posted by NER View Post
    First day of Ramadan, my faith (whats left of it) is all over the place, and I want out of Saudi.

    I cant take this country anymore, its killing me. I feel like my life was wasted. :(
    I am graduating next year and I'll try to find a job outside of Saudi as soon as I do. Honestly almost anywhere is fine. It doesn't even have to be very far from Saudi. I am fine with Bahrain or UAE.

    I feel so tortured and I am a male. I would have probably committed suicide if I was born a female in this bitch of a country.
    Oman seems kinda chill. How about there.
    Also they're the Switzerland of the region, so if all hell breaks lose things will probably be ok there maybe.
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  4. #1804
    Femme
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Quote Originally Posted by NER View Post
    First day of Ramadan, my faith (whats left of it) is all over the place, and I want out of Saudi.

    I cant take this country anymore, its killing me. I feel like my life was wasted. :(
    I am graduating next year and I'll try to find a job outside of Saudi as soon as I do. Honestly almost anywhere is fine. It doesn't even have to be very far from Saudi. I am fine with Bahrain or UAE.

    I feel so tortured and I am a male. I would have probably committed suicide if I was born a female in this bitch of a country.
    Sounds like you're having a really rough time :( I'm sorry to hear that. Moving out of Saudi is entirely possible, so I hope that year goes by quick and good things come to you soon.
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  5. #1805
    Angelos17
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolus View Post
    I need help. Let me explain.

    Lately, as you might already have read it in this thread, I've been having problems with my self-image, and I feel like my world is slowly coming apart and going upside-down.
    For those who are unfamiliar with me,
    Spoiler:
    I'm a woman, who almost from birth liked the boys stuff, simply put. I liked boys clothes, my hair was almost always short-cut, I liked getting messy, and I absolutely despised dolls. Or more like I could do nothing with them. Cars and action figures however, they were fun. Because of my appearance I was often mistaken for a boy (or rather got the "is this a boy or a girl" question, which was quite annoying). Funny story, I was once kicked out of the girls bathroom, because they thought I was a boy. Funnier still, this happened to my mom as well when she was little. Must be a family thing.

    Later on, at around age 16-17 I started to become girly, grew out my hair, got some girl-clothes, even skirts (oh my god, what happened to me then), and got earrings. It was.... fun for a while. Like dressing up for halloween. It just wasn't the real me. Starting university, I slowly but surely slid back to my roots, my hair got shorter and shorter (to the sadness of my mom and my hairdresser-they really adored my long curly hair, and it truly was spectacular when it came to looking at it-not much when it came to maintaining it). I gave away my girly clothing, and bought more guyish ones.

    Now I'm at a point, where I almost refuse to wear any clothing labelled as girls, and go out my way to have men's clothing on me at all times. I started wearing boxers, my brother gave me some of his shirts and even a jacket he used to wear, and even if I have to go to the end of the world, I only buy myself men's pants (which is quite difficult, as I'm rather little). Even my socks are men's socks which as little as it matters in the big picture, still makes me feel better.

    As for friendships and such, even if I tried hanging out with the girls from time to time, I always found and still find guys company better. I can't really connect to people of my own gender. I swear I tried many times but it just doesn't work for me.

    Maybe my development so far can be best described with the state of my hair during the years: starting out with short and simple, then experimenting with longer and curlier frisures and slowly cutting it shorter and shorter, then ironing it (making it straight. Is that the correct word?) and finally, cutting it short and sort of punky.

    Problem is that...
    I feel incomplete still. I want to push myself further, but I can't anymore. This is as much as I can do. By now you probably now where this is going.
    I've begun imagining myself as a boy, and it feels right somehow. I've asked my friends to think of me as a boy instead, and they agreed and are really doing it. I've became another guy, and it feels great when they jokingly call me "sir" instead of "madam".
    When I look into the mirror, I see a quite good body, but it doesn't feel like mine. I've felt this for a long time, but I always assumed it can be helped by a new haircut, new clothes and such. And so I did. I cut my hair, bought clothes, and started to work out to gain some muscle. It helped, but I still can't get away from the feeling that it's not enough.

    If someone of you knows of places on the web where I can further discuss this with other people or get information about transsexuality/transgenderism, I would be grateful. I've been searching on my own, but I'm kind of afraid to enter a community just like that.
    Can you PM me? Wanna have a private talk with you if u r cool with that sir

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmilla View Post
    I honestly don't know what's 13+ and what's not anymore, or what kind of talk is allowed here, so I'll just spoiler this.
    Spoiler:
    I am a virgin girl, but I still wanted to comment on this. It's such a common stereotype.
    And female orgasm is such a complicated and individual thing, there's no guarantee that your shape or size would please someone. Knowing how to treat a particular woman, what she likes the most, what exactly makes her feel the best and learning these kind of stuff is the key to her getting pleased. It's an action you learn, not a predetermined thing you can't do anything about.
    And also, as a response to the talk above, at this point I can't really imagine what more potential could vaginal sex have that clitoris can't achieve.
    Oh and also, hopefully this gives you a perspective from a girl, I don't really think size is important and all that matter to me would be for them to love me and for them to be willing to take my needs into account. And it's not just naive thinking, my sexual arousal feeds a lot on emotions and connections.
    Camilla for the win
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  6. #1806
    Carmilla
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Quote Originally Posted by NER View Post
    First day of Ramadan, my faith (whats left of it) is all over the place, and I want out of Saudi.

    I cant take this country anymore, its killing me. I feel like my life was wasted. :(
    I am graduating next year and I'll try to find a job outside of Saudi as soon as I do. Honestly almost anywhere is fine. It doesn't even have to be very far from Saudi. I am fine with Bahrain or UAE.

    I feel so tortured and I am a male. I would have probably committed suicide if I was born a female in this bitch of a country.
    Awww NER, sucks you are having that much trouble. Hopefully things will be alright and you'll end up successful in leaving and feel better wherever you go to live.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelos17 View Post
    Camilla for the win
    It's Carmilla I mean, what?
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  7. #1807
    Chrissie
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey King View Post
    If your dick fell off tomorrow, all you'd still need to get a girl crazy would be your hands and mouth. Just sayin'.
    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey King View Post
    Maybe I'm weird, but foreplay is more fun.
    That neck spot man.
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  8. #1808
    C_uggs
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Since the death of my mother, things are weird or..how can I say, a "Do something or die" situation. My father, unfortunately gave up on our country and dreams that I get a new job in another country, to have a "better life". I still love my country and I wont give it up this easily, but, it is worth the sacrifice ? Sure, have a better life and a decent job are great, but I would feel awful if I betrayed something I have proud.


    Besides that, my sadness is getting worst, and now I know I don't have all the time I thought I had, my parents are dying and I still lack motivation to change, to do new stuff.
    When AP used to be good:

    NEVER FORGET !!
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  9. #1809
    Chrissie
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    My condolences on losing your mother Captain :( The death of a parent, especially before their time, leaves the worst of unrest behind... It's been almost 6 months and I still choke up with tears everyday about my dad.. You just need to give yourself time. The sadness won't go away, but you will learn to live with it :< Take it one day at the time. It's the best you can do... *hugs*

    You know, I love my country. Cyprus is gorgeous and feels like home in a way the USA might never feel. The sea is different, the people are different, the very air is different. I just feel lighter when I am there. But I don't regret moving away from Cyprus, though I wish it was closer and easier to get to (miss mah family man). I don't regret it because it made me realize that the world IS actually at my feet and I am only restrained by what limits I myself set down. And it also made me realize that not all people are blessed with this kind of freedom and that I should be more thankful for it. So whilst I love my country and I am proud of it, I don't feel like I've betrayed or given up on it just because I moved away. I am a resident of Earth first and that is what I should take care of and protect, no matter which country's borders I am surrounded with. So don't feel bad considering moving! You can still be active on your country's matters even if you move. And your dad of course wants the best for you and what is best for you, is what will make you happy. :)
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  10. #1810
    C_uggs
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    What a good response !! Thanks for the hugs, Chrissie.
    I still have to grasp the idea of "freedom", right now is overwhelming, but I think I can face it in the future.
    When AP used to be good:

    NEVER FORGET !!
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  11. #1811
    Carmilla
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissie View Post
    I am a resident of Earth first and that is what I should take care of and protect, no matter which country's borders I am surrounded with.
    THIS. This is so me.
    Chrissie said it so well, I don't know if I'll add anything new or special to it, but I want to comment about this so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Ugly View Post
    My father, unfortunately gave up on our country and dreams that I get a new job in another country, to have a "better life". I still love my country and I wont give it up this easily, but, it is worth the sacrifice ? Sure, have a better life and a decent job are great, but I would feel awful if I betrayed something I have proud.
    A country might not give you the sufficient opportunities in life to develop as a person, to do what you desire. You might not fit in its culture, tradition, people. A country might slow you down. And even so, you'll love your country and it's how it should be. A country we are born is so much more than all that, it's our home, and whether we want it, it's what makes us who we are.
    I love Georgia. And I will always love it. I will love it for turning me into who I am. I will always want the best for it. It has many troubles, I don't feel as much belonged or fit in, there are other countries that I love so much, but my own will always be irreplaceable. Besides it has SO SO many good things as well. I'd break down crying the moment I'd move away.
    Speaking of that, moving away is not giving up on your country. It is just seeking personal development and growth. And no that's not selfish, because no matter where you are, you will always be Brazilian and you'll always represent your country. And I am sure you'd think about it and do something for it all the time. Or you could just go away, see things, grow and come back and help your own country with it. But remember, personal growth of every citizen is the growth of the country as well. I wish many understood that over here, I wish many were smarter or more knowledgeable than they are.
    I do consider myself a citizen of Earth as well. I want to understand different aspects of it so much, different countries, people, cultures. I want to help out the whole planet, and my country will always be my favourite part of it, but not the only one I want to be seeing or understanding.

    Long story short, I myself want to move out of my country, I'd probably feel more fit in somewhere else, but no way I'd ever give up on it, no way I'd ever stop loving it or being subjectively positive about it.

    Maybe not right now, but think about all this sometime, you have enough on your plate now anyway. But something like this is always worth considering and worth thought about a lot.
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  12. #1812
    Angelos17
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmilla View Post
    Awww NER, sucks you are having that much trouble. Hopefully things will be alright and you'll end up successful in leaving and feel better wherever you go to live.



    It's Carmilla I mean, what?
    Here, have the 'r'. Lol. Soz tho

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Ugly View Post
    Since the death of my mother, things are weird or..how can I say, a "Do something or die" situation. My father, unfortunately gave up on our country and dreams that I get a new job in another country, to have a "better life". I still love my country and I wont give it up this easily, but, it is worth the sacrifice ? Sure, have a better life and a decent job are great, but I would feel awful if I betrayed something I have proud.


    Besides that, my sadness is getting worst, and now I know I don't have all the time I thought I had, my parents are dying and I still lack motivation to change, to do new stuff.
    Here, were with you. Anyways, what is your work expertise? And are you in the US?
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  13. #1813
    C_uggs
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    Default Re: Confession Session II

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmilla View Post
    A country might not give you the sufficient opportunities in life to develop as a person, to do what you desire. You might not fit in its culture, tradition, people. A country might slow you down. And even so, you'll love your country and it's how it should be. A country we are born is so much more than all that, it's our home, and whether we want it, it's what makes us who we are.
    I love Georgia. And I will always love it. I will love it for turning me into who I am. I will always want the best for it. It has many troubles, I don't feel as much belonged or fit in, there are other countries that I love so much, but my own will always be irreplaceable. Besides it has SO SO many good things as well. I'd break down crying the moment I'd move away.
    Speaking of that, moving away is not giving up on your country. It is just seeking personal development and growth. And no that's not selfish, because no matter where you are, you will always be Brazilian and you'll always represent your country. And I am sure you'd think about it and do something for it all the time. Or you could just go away, see things, grow and come back and help your own country with it. But remember, personal growth of every citizen is the growth of the country as well. I wish many understood that over here, I wish many were smarter or more knowledgeable than they are.
    I do consider myself a citizen of Earth as well. I want to understand different aspects of it so much, different countries, people, cultures. I want to help out the whole planet, and my country will always be my favourite part of it, but not the only one I want to be seeing or understanding.

    Long story short, I myself want to move out of my country, I'd probably feel more fit in somewhere else, but no way I'd ever give up on it, no way I'd ever stop loving it or being subjectively positive about it.

    Maybe not right now, but think about all this sometime, you have enough on your plate now anyway. But something like this is always worth considering and worth thought about a lot.
    I understand I am lucky to have this opportunity, but I don't know if moving to another country will make me happy, for me is just a shot in the dark. I was thinking, maybe I should change/do small things for now, like loose some weight, get a new tattoo, stop wearing glasses, make new friends... Small things I am sure that will make me happy.

    About Brazil, I always felt like I didn't fit in, I still have proud being born here, even with all the bad things happening in the past and right now. I will think about moving to another country in the future, also, I like to go to new places, learn new things. (who doesn't).

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelos17 View Post
    Here, were with you. Anyways, what is your work expertise? And are you in the US?
    As Carmila said, I am from Brazil.

    And to your question, I am a librarian.
    When AP used to be good: