Grey t-shirt and Jeans

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Today I heard the tail end of Mark Zuckerberg saying he wore the same thing every day to cut down on his cognitive choices. Wearing a grey t-shirt and jeans on a daily basis gave him one less thing to think about. Rather than it limiting him, it freed him.

Some of us have more anxiety over clothes’ choices than others, but even if this gives you little stress, it can still be possible to imagine that ridding yourself of having to choose can be a good thing. A liberating thing. Sometimes this is why I would like to shave my head.

Just as the monastic life and a hairless head gives the monk more time to meditate.

I think about school uniforms and the way individuals still attempt to put their personal stamp on their dress style. The skirt shorter than allowed. The hat more bent and battered than supposed to be. The untucked shirt – a duck tail. Some of us strive to choose. But does it equate with making us more content?

Ridding yourself of choices, the program goes on, relieves stress. Even small decisions take mental energy. For this reason I am thankful to have never discovered make-up. I never have to decide on lip stick, eye shadow, powder.

I start to think about this concept for dogs. When we give anxious dogs cues to follow that result in predictable outcomes for their actions we take away some choice. This can be reassuring and decrease their stress. Modern behaviourists also like to give dogs choice. We like to give cues and signals as opposed to commands. But this is not to say that choices are easy for dogs. It does cause them stress. Especially if doing one thing ends in a result that they cannot predict. One time they jump on Johnny and everything is fine, the subsequent time they get yelled at. The next time Johnny is over there is stress around his visit. Should I jump on him or not? What will happen if I do? Perhaps I might nip him and see what happens then.

Watch the dog without direction. The one with too many choices. He is a bouncing jerking mess of mayhem. He is all over the shop – pawing, licking, barking, whining. He is seeking information as to what to do. But no one has taught him to be calm. No one has rewarded calmness in him. He is trying on lots of outfits. Red shirt, blue pants. Green top, corduroys. Loafers, no runners. Top hat, cap.

Make life simple and predictable for dogs to give them back some calmness. Give them some cognitive space. Let them be a grey t-shirt and jeans type.

 

 

About Nicole Lobry de Bruyn

Born in the psychedelic sixties to hard working and conservative parents my sister and I grew up in sleepy suburban Perth, Western Australia. We played by the river, the beach and in the bushland of the cementary. I loved a chocolate Dachshund enough to make me want to become a veterinarian. I did. I became paralysed from the waist down when car hit tree. But not running, walking, standing or kneeling didn't prevent me being a vet. I am still a vet but would prefer to write and read and read and write about walking and not walking, feeling and not feeling, knowing and not knowing. So this is what happens when you enter thechookhouse.
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2 Responses to Grey t-shirt and Jeans

  1. Robyn Colledge says:

    Hi Nicole

    Great insights. I have shaved my head three times now, first time needed – infestation of nits whilst working closely with indigenous people up north. They love picking your head for nits but they reckon us white fellas have got soft heads so can’t use needles to kill em! Great eh. Then I just wanted to do it again, no need to see how the hair looks at all. More shock from others, but they get used to it. Quick! I love having no hair, others have more difficulty than I imagined. Hardly any clothes in the wardrobe, but can be difficult when I want to look a little bit SPECIAL. Not many choices but I survive there too. Dogs, love them, and they are all so different. My black kelpie died in June, 1 month after my best friend died, to join her on the beach walking. She was sooooo cool, except when she saw a red cloud kelpie and then she was a different dog altogether. Somehow she knew I really liked red cloud Kelpies!!

  2. Thyrza says:

    Yes, totally. I do look a bit the same-same every time someone sees me with my OSCAR’S LAW T-shirt & jeans. Hee!Hee! Dogs so get-it when I give them little choice & it fools people into thinking I have some special gift with dogs. Hee! Hee!

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