Don’t Believe What the Gremlins Say

You may not be aware of what to expect when you bring home a dog for the first time.

You may also feel confident in integrating a new dog into your family because you’ve had dogs all your life.

You start noticing behaviors pop up which you never experienced before like barking and lunging at the end of the leash.

Or, nipping at house guests as soon as they walk into your home.

You start becoming more aware of what you may not know of how to help your dog feel safer and more comfortable at home.

You may even resorted in using old skool training approaches which is even making the situation worse.

When you are presented with new information based on modern science which contradicts your outdated beliefs, it’s hard to switch gears.

The little gremlin on your shoulder whispering in your ear, “you can’t do this”, “I feel overwhelmed”, “I’ve tried so many things before and I know this isn’t going to work”.

The gremlin sitting on your shoulder is keeping you from growing if you choose to buy into those messages.

Growth and learning something new requires not only your dog, but you too to do new things.

Growth takes risks which creates stress in our bodies.

Our minds are hard wired to avoid stress, when the edges of your potential are pushed, this is when your gremlin speaks to you.

Your fear shows up.

When the prospect of change signals you will also need to start a new behavior pattern, adjust your routine, switch up your lifestyle a bit to prioritize your dog’s needs, you may be thinking “whoa”.

One client shared with me, “I’ve been frustrated for 4 or 5 years and saying no for all the barking going on, It’s hard for me to stop”.

I respond, “the same time needed for you to make a change is also necessary for your dog too”. Be kind to yourself and have compassion for the change you and your dog are undergoing.

Starting of the practice can seem clunky or confusing. You may even have a misstep here or there and that is ok.

I don’t expect you to be perfect just as I don’t expect your dog to be perfect too.

Perfection is an unattainable expectation.

Rather, progress is made slowly and gradually with making the conscious decision to take the action steps towards your goals and celebrate the small steps you and your dog are achieving together.

As you practice, the gremlin’s voice begins to fade (never goes away) and you become more competent in the skills you’re doing and are even able to fluidly integrate them into your life.

It’s not easy to change, but the courage to show up for you and your dog every day is what sets the stage for your growth and learning.

Schedule a Discovery Call with me to find out more!

Phasing Out the Hand Signal

When your dog has a positive association with following your hands, learning hand signals happens so quickly.

Hand signals can communicate what you’re asking your dog to do even from far away when your voice can’t travel that far (great for recall training work).

Hand signals are also a life skill for your dog. As dogs age, they can loose their ability to hear.

Using hand signals throughout your dog’s life can preserve the communication you can have with your dog even if your dog is not able to hear your voice.

Verbal cues are also important for our dogs to learn and to learn them independently from the hand signals as another life skill.

Phasing out the hand signal also provides an opportunity for your dog to problem solve with you which also strengthens the bond between you and your dog.

My client and her dog Teddy are in the stage of learning and teaching of phasing out the hand signal as an every time occurrence.

Since my client has hard wood floors and they can be a bit slippery, she’s using a mat which is more comfortable for Teddy which will also be more encouraging for him to lie down too.

My client gives the cue for down and Teddy looks away. She waits a bit, but then uses the hand signal for down.

My timing was off in this first round of asking her to give Teddy time to think.

The second round, my client quickly integrated what I coached her to do and as you can see Teddy makes the choice in responding when he’s ready.

Thinking takes a lot of brain power, so we gave Teddy some time off the mat with some treat and retreat fun!

My client and Teddy are nearing the end of their Pet Parent and Puppy Support Program.

They will be getting ready to take their Pet Dog Ambassador Program assessment in 2022!

A shout out to Rompin Paws Rescue https://www.facebook.com/rompinpawsrescue/ for matching Teddy to their family!!

If you enjoy having a hands on approach in teaching your dog life skills, but not sure how to go about it, you can schedule a Discovery Call with me and we can chat!

Where You Begin, Punishment Ends

There’s no room for pain in a relationship. Take a stand against shock, choke and prong collars.

Talking with a puppy parent last week, she was sharing how she was struggling with her dog’s leash pulling.

She mentioned how many friends, neighbors and passerbys mentioned to her about using an electronic collar, prong collar or choke chain.

I asked her what her understanding of how those tools work?

She didn’t know.

I shared with her that those tools cause the dog pain which shuts down the dog from doing what dog’s naturally do.

Behaviors like sniffing the ground and zigzagging on a walk (believe it or not, dogs don’t naturally walk in a straight line, they meander and are following their nose).

These tools are designed to punish those behaviors.

Dogs experiencing learned helplessness is what is described as a dog giving up because there is no other option. The bad situation is inescapable or unchangeable.

As the conversation with the puppy parent continued, she shared she didn’t agree with those tools, but she wasn’t aware of what other options were available.

This puppy parent values teaching her dog with do no harm principles.

Her value of building a relationship and cooperation with her dog was a priority and she inherently knew tools like prong, choke and shock collars went against her values, but she was at a loss of not having access to information that is aligned with her values.

With new information presented, she was excited about the possibilities.

Other options she expressed she never tried before were counting games! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fV3pExLrFjk&fbclid=IwAR1X6-GZDHh2KLQI315U2HXD9UJt4QemtjAxy–vqUX3hbVkImz1Yy4PNUI

When she learned how simple this activity is and recognized that going slow and building distance in the walk is secondary to building the engagement between her and her dog, gave her a sense of relief.

Are you looking to build connection and cooperation with your dog, but not sure how? Schedule a Discovery Call with me and we can chat!

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