The Condition: The Bell Tolls for You Dog! Will You Answer?

21 Sep

Pavlovian Conditioning DogsLast week, I talked about the power of creating positive habits, but months, if not years, before I pondered over how easily we are conditioned and wondered if certain stimuli have the power to not only control us but consume our lives. Pavlov used a bell and food to perform his conditioning research with dogs, but many of us live by the bell, the chime, the whistle, or whatever sound we have set up for our phones or gadgets.

As cell phones started to become more prevalent, I vowed not to live by the bell. Even today I still have a pre-paid phone, yes a prepaid! This way I only use my phone for emergencies since I pay by the day. I am not consumed with constantly checking my phone to see if someone called or sent me a text message; as a result,  I have more time on my hands.   For most, the idea of having a pre-paid cell phone or just using it for emergencies is absurd, and I understand that line of thinking.  But I ask you to consider how many minutes or even hours in a day do you devote to responding to that bell which may chime several times a day?

Though I thought I escaped living by the bell, I must admit that I have not.  My iPad has been my vice.  I use a wonderful app called Baby Connect which allows me to set up alarms and timers for when it is time to feed my baby, when her diaper was last changed and even when she last slept.  I have found that I rely heavily on this tool and sometimes allow the bell to dictate when the baby can have her next feeding. Sometimes it is necessary to just use common sense if the baby is crying and showing signs that she is hungry rather than waiting for the bell to chime.  What’s interesting is that I believe the baby is starting to associate the bell chiming on my iPad with feeding time.

Amazingly, many of us, including me, are guilty of stopping in our tracks when the bell chimes to see a Facebook status update or comment, a reminder to complete a task or go to an appointment, a text message or a email message.  Even if there is an intense conversation, a heart to heart moment or just something requiring all of our attention, some of us are controlled by the bell and must stop to see what it is about this time.

I’ve been purposefully reconditioning myself to not necessarily ignore the bell but to not feel the need to immediately jump up and respond to it as soon as it chimes.  Is the ding controlling your life? Will you be able to resist the urge to drop everything and respond the next time the bell tolls for you?

All the best,



4 Responses to “The Condition: The Bell Tolls for You Dog! Will You Answer?”

  1. Gina September 23, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    I have an unhealthy addiction to my phone, and I know it. I would like to stop it because I don’t want to pass it down to Jude, but I find it difficult to change. Perhaps I need a support group?

    • Anonomz September 24, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      A support group would be cool. There should be an app that is similar to the game “Operation” where people get a little zap whenever they use their cell phone ‘X’ amount of times a day or an hour. It would be an excellent way to reverse the conditioning. Many people are not willing to admit that they have unhealthy addictions with their phones, so give yourself a pat on the back for acknowledging this Gina. It is the first step to a healthier relationship with, or should I say without, your phone right? 😉

  2. yellowflowersmile September 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    I laughed when I read this because I could relate so much. I also only use a pre-paid cell, and only a couple people have the number because that phone is truly for emergencies. As for Pavlov, we are seeing his theories at work in our house. We say “bath,” and our little one stops in his tracks, ready for a bath. When he sees us cooking, he says “mmmm,” even if it is still quite raw and disgusting looking. Now, if only I didn’t have to pay attention to the alarm clock in the morning…

    • Anonomz September 28, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      I’m glad I am not the only one with a pre-paid cell phone. Only a select few have my number as well. It’s amazing how we all can be conditioned even before we can talk and walk. I’m certain as my little one gets older we will definitely see Pavlov’s theories in action even more 😉

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