Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pudding - sole rights to kisses

We have a ten month old Siberian Husky named Pudding. Pudding has a lot of personality and shows new and interesting characteristics every day.

The latest one is her apparent belief that nobody should be handing out or receiving kisses unless it involves her. We are allowed to kiss her and receive kisses from her but not between each other. She doesn't get aggressive or anything but she most certainly makes her objection known.

The first time I was sitting next to Al on the couch who was sitting next to Pudding, who was staring at herself in the mirror as usual, and I gave Al a kiss. Pudding whipped around from the mirror and starting moaning at Alan and pawing at him. We were not really sure what she was doing and just left it.

Then yesterday afternoon, I was going into the kitchen and walked past Al and stopped to give him a kiss on my way and Pudding ran up to us and started "kissing" Alan's face frantically. She then started "talking" to us for quite a lengthy period of time in a low-pitched, soft tone and it was pretty clear that there were to be no kisses without her.

I frequently bend down, open my arms and call her "Puddy! Come give me kisses!" and she runs to me, ears back and licks and nibbles my chin. She often asks for them too by pushing her ears flat against her head and looking up at me and starts to lick the air. I bend down and she licks and nibbles my chin. A very affectionate puppy indeed!

We have managed to get her out of some bad habits without formal training, such as demanding to be played with instead of asking and sleeping in her own bed with her own pillow and not taking mine. She also does not eat my shoes which is odd because she eats Alan's. Maybe my feet don't have such an alluring aroma ;) So we will have to work on Puddy with her "no kisses without me!" behaviour and see how it goes.

The power of association

Have you ever listened to a piece of music or seen something and been reminded of an event so strongly that you are able to feel the same emotions that you felt at the time of the original event? It's called association and it can become very weird!

I was listening to a piece of music this morning which reminded me so much of Stellenbosch and going ice-skating with the dance society and just from the music, I could remember exactly how I felt while going round and round the ice-rink and watching the figure skaters show us some of their moves. It was awesome!

There are bad association too of course, such as a friend and lasagna, I don't know all the details of the story but I know that at age 6, she didn't want to eat her supper and so her father pushed her face into her lasagna and covered her face in it. She has not since touched lasagna and the very thought of it makes her feel ill.

People used to, some still do, use bad association with their children in the form of spanking. If the child does something wrong and they get spanked, they learn to associate pain and humiliation with doing something wrong. I'm not a parent but I know what my psychology books say about spanking and it isn't a good idea to promote violence as a means of solving a problem but that's not what this is about.

I know a woman who has a sort of infatuation with a man. The woman is married to a man she loves very much and the man to a woman he loves very much and the man and woman in this case are first cousins. While incest is not a good idea, the infatuation happened for her due to association from when they were teenagers.

They only really got to know each other as teenagers and they had a fair bit in common and they used to go out and have fun together. The woman then learnt to associate her cousin with fun and close friendship, something she does not experience with her own husband. The man, however, had fun but the emotional connection was a lot more one-sided and he did not create the same associations.

Years later, the woman gets quite possessive of the ,man around his wife and demands his full attention and tries to exclude the wife from conversation and involvement in activities or photos. She's reasonably nice to the wife when they're not around the husband but the woman likes to remind the wife now and then how close she is to the man.

Now while this story is rather disturbing to me, apparently the fact that they're cousins has nothing to do with it, it's just a bit of a yucky coincidence.

It never fails to amaze me how even now, having studied (and should be studying this very minute too. Procrastination.) about how unusual or abnormal some people's behaviour can be, I'm still surprised. People are so complex, no two people are exactly the same so those "All women drive badly" or "All men are pigs" really mean nothing.

If you're the type of person who ponders over other people's behaviour, association isn't always the answer but often it can be. Why does Johnny want to kill someone every time he eats a mango? Maybe because Johnny was given a mango every time a violent movie was on (I'm exaggerating, please note). Or why does Mary want to laugh every time she sees a person wearing pink pyjamas? Maybe there was a lady who dropped her kids off for school in her pink pyjamas every day and her hair was always in curlers and she looked hilarious.

The other thing is how other people form associations with yourself. If you find people disliking you for no apparent reason, perhaps they've learned to associate you with something that they dislike. Like maybe you spoke about how often your stomach works or something the first time that they met you and they're sensitive and now all they see when they see you is an image of you on the toilet.

The good news is that associations can be changed, nothing is set in stone so don't worry too much about how people are creating associations about you. As for your own association, try to associate things you have to do, like studying, with good things or happy things so that you'll want to them more and it won't be a schlepp. Oh, just one last thing on the associations of other people with you, sort of like a golden rule: Don't stink!