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Dog Training

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By Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation

While I’m a big proponent of using and leveraging the very best tools available for you and your dog to be successful, the reality is that the greatest tools in the world mean nothing if your head, heart, and energy aren’t in the right place.

The greatest tool you have at your disposal is always yourself. Your mind and your intention. If your emotions and outlook regarding your dog (and yourself) are out of balance, you will both likely struggle, regardless of what tools you use.

If you have an out of balance dog and you’re: still babying and spoiling because it feels good/fulfills your need to nurture, feeling guilty for working long hours so you only share freedom and affection when you get home, shunning structure, training and discipline because it feels yucky or un-enjoyable, being too soft with a firm dog because that’s simply who you are, substituting dog relationships and connection for human relationships and connection, or using your dog to fill unattended to emotional voids and needs, you and your dog will likely still struggle.

The way you feel about yourself and the world, and the way you think about your dog and his training and lifestyle is what fuels the tools and your training strategy to either be powerful and transformative, or to be superficial, unconvincing, and powerless.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your human animal is having a constant, 24/7 conversation with your canine animal about who you are and what role you wish to play in his life. You cannot tell your dog 23 hours of the day that he’s your little cuddle bug and that you’re his doting mommy or daddy and then on your walks where he misbehaves and acts likes a monster try to tell him you are the big pack leader. 🙂 That ones not going to work. We have to give our dogs more credit than that.

Every moment is valuable. You build credit towards good behavior by creating believable leadership long before you’re going to need it when the chips are down. If you want to turn behavior issues around and get your dog into an awesome space state of mind wise, you have to cultivate a believable energy, and a believable presence your dog is able to buy into and follow as an ongoing lifestyle – not just in the moments you need it or that are convenient.

These awesome creatures have a special knack for highlighting and exposing our personal gaps, camouflaged shortcomings, and internal struggles. How awesome is that? You live with your very own personal therapist. 🙂 That’s the awesome challenge and opportunity of dogs: you can’t fool them with tools or a momentary decision of commitment or fortitude, no, they’re looking and waiting for the real stuff. Your best stuff. If you want them to change they’re ready for it – just as soon as you are ready to change yourself.

So remember, the tools are important, no doubt, but it’s your presence, your intention, your emotional balance, your energy, your decision to treat and view your dog like a dog, your force of will and desire and determination, and the constant conversation that your human animal is having with your canine animal that fuels and empowers the tools and the training strategy to actually create the possibility for transformation and change.

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Our groundbreaking do-it-yourself E-Collar training video/PDF training guide Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: E-Collar Training is now available for order! Click HERE to order your copy!

CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW TO WATCH THE DVD TEASER!

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By Sean O’Shea

I often get asked by clients and other folks why I recommend the “Heel” command and what is the value of it? It’s a very good question. For me, it goes much, much deeper than just the aesthetic of having a dog walk next to you (although it does look good! :)), and there’s some obvious practical value of having a dog in a well managed physical position, close to your side to keep him or her out of trouble and harm’s way. But in my opinion that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are some really valuable state of mind and relationship benefits as well. Let’s take a look at a few!

-Dogs have to utilize a ton of impulse control and focus to keep themselves next to you on the walk in the face of many distractions and exciting triggers. This ends up being a fantastic training and state of mind exercise for the dog.

-The physical position of the dog indicates the mental position as well – or in other words, if the dog is working to keep himself next to me, I know he’s focused on me instead of the environment, I know he’s managing himself, and I also know that his intensity level is under control. (Most dogs as soon as they get agitated or stimulated start to move around and lose position either farther back or forward, and these are great warning signs.)

-A respectful, polite, courteous, and tuned-in state of mind isn’t the state of mind that reacts to dogs and other things in the environment.

-Having your dog honor your request to walk in a certain position, at a certain pace, and ignoring distractions, is a huge positive relationship builder.

-Dogs who are paying attention, respectful, polite, and courteously walking in a heel feel far less inspired, entitled, and empowered to bark, lunge, and disagree with things they disapprove of in their environment.

-Dogs in a heel, that are practicing self-control are far less stressed and anxious, and therefore far less apt to make poor decisions around dogs, people, cars, bikes etc.

-Dogs in a heel are actually deeply connected to their owners. They therefore feel far less stress and anxiety because they are being guided/led through the world rather than being in charge of assessing and sorting out what is safe and what is dangerous constantly. (Especially important for nervous, anxious, fearful dogs, who make up the majority of reactive cases.)

-Asking more of your dog makes you a leader. A dog with a leader is relaxed and comfortable. A dog who is a leader is stressed and anxious.

-Dogs being respectful on-leash tend to be respectful to the environment. Dogs being brats on-leash tend to be brats to the environment.

-If the dog is using 75% of their mental focus on keeping themselves in a heel position! that only leaves 25% to get into trouble with.

If you haven’t worked on “Heel” with your dog yet, and you’d like to benefit from some of these juicy “Heel/Healing” results, drop me a comment and I’ll connect you with a link to my video that shows how easy it is to create this very cool command. 🙂

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Here are a few links of mine to help you with healing your heeling!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nxKaTYQFJI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrrQJto8xJU

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CONNECT WITH US ON FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube for more training insights, tips, a free weekly Q&A, and community interaction!

Click Here to visit our website.

Our groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click on the picture below to watch the new TEASER video, and click HERE to order your copy!

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By Sean O’Shea

Truth be told, we almost never specifically address issues head on. What we do is what we always do – we work our foundational program. We teach the dog how to be calm, we teach the dog how to be respectful, we teach the dog that we’ll be handling the big stuff from now on, we teach the dog that he doesn’t have a million options, we teach the dog that every sound or sight isn’t necessarily cause for a meltdown, we teach the dog who has been moving his entire life how to finally sit still, and we teach the dog that we will advocate for him.

Once we create the above, the dog’s state of mind is so dramatically changed; he is so much calmer, so much less stressed, so much less anxious, so used to practicing impulse control, and so used to deferring to people that the laundry list of issues he came with have almost always disappeared.

Learning this and learning how to consistently create this transformation was probably my biggest personal breakthrough as a trainer. When I started out I used to try to address each problem head on – I was attacking the symptoms rather than the problem – and it was hard on me, hard on the dog, hard on the owner, and far less successful. Once I had the realization of how true transformation was created – by removing foundational stress and anxiety – everything changed.

So if you’re looking to change challenging behavior issues, remember that these issues are only the symptoms of a bigger, deeper problem, not the problem itself. When you learn to see how the foundational state of mind creates everything else, you finally have the magic key to unlocking and resolving all of your dog’s issues.

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CONNECT WITH US ON Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube for more training insights, tips, a free weekly Q&A, and community interaction!

To learn more about us visit our website www.thegooddog.net

Our groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click on the picture below to watch the new TEASER video, and click HERE to order your copy!

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By Sean O’Shea

When it comes to working with our dog’s behavior issues, we are often told we simply need to “be” calm, assertive, relaxed, and confident. That that state of mind will change our dogs and us.

Honestly, I think it works in reverse. A calm, confident, relaxed, and assertive attitude/mindset is the natural byproduct of having tools, strategies, and mechanics in place that work.

When things work, it’s easy to step into a different mindset.

Yes we can decide/cultivate/manifest/manufacture some degree of determination, relaxation and confidence when working with our dog’s problem behavior as a baseline starting point – and that’s a great mindset to start with – but the real stuff, the stuff that is palpable, that changes the way your dog feels about you and your relationship – and hence changes your dog’s behavior – comes about through the confidence we get when we know what we’re doing works. When we use tools and strategies that leverage our abilities, that allow us to feel in control of our dogs and ourselves, we begin to truly transform. (This is one of the many reasons we utilize prong collars and e-collars in all our work; because they help everyday people to be far more successful, even with serious problem behaviors)

Great training doesn’t make it harder for owners and dogs to succeed. Great training makes it easier. Great training empowers everyday people, people who don’t live 24/7 in dog world, people who aren’t dog trainers, people who very likely don’t have 8 hours to devote every day to dog training, to be successful.

Real confidence comes not from the ether, not from attempting to manufacture that which doesn’t yet exist, it comes from success.

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Visit our website at – www.thegooddog.net

For more dog training tips, info, and for help with questions or issues, connect with me on Facebook (The Good Dog Training And Rehabilitation) and YouTube (TheGoodDogTraining)

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By Sean O’Shea

When it comes to our dogs, we always have a choice. The choice to see problems or to see opportunities.

Instead of simply being upset, annoyed, frazzled, or frustrated with your dog’s behavior, ask yourself if there’s a gift for yourself in the problem.

Are your dog’s issues offering you an opportunity to challenge yourself, to grow, to become more? More confident, more emotionally balanced, less anxious, less in a hurry, quicker to problem solve than to anger?

Are your dog’s issues exposing issues for yourself that need work?

It’s a very rare appointment in which the dog I’m working with isn’t reacting from the human’s issues and/or wouldn’t benefit from the human growing, challenging, progressing, developing themselves into more fully balanced, healthy versions of themselves.

If you only look for the problem your dog is offering, that is all you’ll find. But if you’ll take a deeper, more honest, and vulnerable look, you’ll find the gift he is offering as well.

Click Here to visit Sean’s website.

 

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By Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog

Remember folks, dogs always do what ‘works’ for them. If pulling on the leash works to get you to walk faster or gets them to a desired tree, they will do it. If barking from the crate works to get the crate door opened and them out, they will do it. If acting the fool when you pull the leash out works to get the leash put on, they will do it. If barking and lunging at other dogs on the walk works to make the other dog go away (the dog’s perception) or is just a bunch of fun, they will do it. If jumping up on you works to get attention (even negative attention) they will do it. If pulling you out the front door works to get the walk started, they will do it. If barking at the back door works to get them inside, they will do it. If whining works to get them petted or soothed, they will do it. If chewing/mouthing on your pant leg or your hands works to get you to engage with your dog (what he’s looking for), they will do it. If staring or growling at you works to cause you to move away from your dog’s food bowl, crate, toy, bed etc, he will do it.

And they will do all of these things more and more intensely, and more frequently, the more it works for them.

When we respond to our dog’s negative behavior in a way that ultimately gives the dog what he wants, we have trained our dog (and he has trained us) to create the reality he desires…which might not be the reality you desire. 🙂

Our job, as our dog’s leader and guide is to be sure that we only encourage the behaviors we like – what ‘works’ for us and our lifestyle – and discourage that which doesn’t ‘work’ for us.

The best way to achieve this is to ignore very mild behavior totally and completely, correct more intense behavior you don’t like immediately, and to actively train your dog that patience, waiting, calmness, respect, and courteousness gets them everything. It’s what ‘works’!

Dogs, while being some of the most awesome creatures around, are also awesome opportunists! Left to their own devices, they will create a world for themselves (and for you) that is exactly to their liking. It’s up to you to pick which reality ‘works’ for you, yours or your dog’s.

(If your dog’s behavior is dangerous or frightening, or if you are unsure about how to proceed, please do not attempt to correct or train him on your own. You should seek the help of a trained professional who, if qualified should be able to help you sort these issues out.)

 

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Whether It be business, financial, relationship, personal, or even dog training (make that especially dog training!), if you’re not harnessing the amazing power of visualization, goal setting, and creating intentions, you’re missing out on some of the great secrets of success!

I personally am a big subscriber to the power of these tools, and they have helped me tremendously in all aspects of my life.

Let’s take a super quick look at how these work, and then we’ll see how they might just help you with your dog…and maybe more.

When you set a goal, visualize an outcome, or create the intention of what you’d like to create, you set several things in motion:

1) You cause your brain’s filter (known by its fancy name as R.A.S. – Reticular Activating System), to adjust its focus toward helping you accomplish the goal you desire. Your brain filters out most of the information that it is bombarded with, in order to protect your sanity, and to help you survive/accomplish the things you have deemed important. The famous example is where you decide to buy a new car and suddenly begin to see the same car everywhere in great numbers. The amount of these cars on the road didn’t increase massively overnight – what happened was that your filter suddenly adjusted itself to find/accomplish the things that are foremost in your mind. In this case the car you are fascinated with/focused on. Some folks call this Law Of Attraction, I personally enjoy the scientific explanation the most. So once you create a goal, visualization, intention, your mind’s filter begins to filter out all that is unhelpful to achieving your goal and filters in all that is helpful to achieving your goal. Often ideas, strategies, and solutions will simply pop into your mind as your supercomputer of a brain hyper-focuses all of its power on solving the problem you are working on. Is it magic? It’s pretty close to it.

2) When you visualize exactly what you want to see, before you create it, you become positively charged with certainty and confidence, rather than tentative, unsure, and clumsy. People actually perform physically and mentally at a much higher level when they utilize the power of visualization. (Star athletes and other performers have used these tools for years, and there many scientific studies that back up the efficacy of the practice) You set yourself up for success when your brain has a defined set of images and goals to shoot for rather than a vague groping. And scientists have also found that we tend to get what we expect, and find what we’re looking for.

3) Clear set goals have a magical pulling power, they actually pull us in their direction. And the clearer, more defined the goal, and the stronger the emotional connection to it, the harder it pulls you towards it. Without clearly set goals, our focus and efforts tends to wander here and there. We dilute our power to accomplish great things through the scattering of our focus and attention. Defined goals bring us back again and again to our purpose. So if we want to create great things, we simply need to intensify and focus our intentions like a laser on what is we wish to create.

4) When you visualize or project an outcome, you create a psychological response, which in turn creates a physiological response. An example would be that you’re walking your dog reactive dog and suddenly see a dog walking towards you…you immediately see in your mind’s eye your dog whirling around, snapping, lunging, barking like a mad beast. What happens at that moment? Your psychological conversation has now caused your breathing to become shallow, your body to become tense, and stress hormones to be secreted – all signals to your dog that not only is trouble afoot, but also that you are in no way the person who is capable of either managing the situation or protecting your dog. That little negative visualization almost always guarantees a negative reaction from your dog. But if you develop the habit and skill of instead seeing what you want, rather than what you don’t, you have a far better chance of maintaing normal breathing, maintaining a relaxed body, and keeping the stress hormones under wraps – all of which convey confidence and certainty – and this positive visualization process can yield major results as you and your dog work towards solving problem behavior.

Personally, I utilize these concepts every time I’m working with a dog. On the large end of goal setting, every dog that comes in to us gets a chart made up of the owners goals and our goals that we wish to achieve before the end of our work together. On the small end, I set goals or an intention for every single training session – even if it is only a momentary issue – set the goal first and watch as that decision pulls you to the achievement of your goal. And in conjunction with the goals I set, I also visualize every outcome, ahead of time working out exactly as I wish it to. The combination of deciding ahead of time exactly what you want and what it looks like are an incredibly powerful set of tools. And the more challenging the dog, the deeper I go into this process. This keeps me positive, totally clear about my objectives, focused on solutions rather than problems, relaxed and confident. And all of these elements give me the extra edge when I’m working with challenging dogs or humans!

If you’re having problems with your dog or you just want to improve his/her training, you want as much of this creative, problem solving mojo on your side as possible! How do you think a dog (or the world!) would react to a confident, certain, positive person, with a clear image of what he wants to create versus the opposite? I know you know the answer to this one! 🙂

So regardless of whether you’re a dog trainer, a dog owner, or just one of those weird people without a dog, if you’ll practice seeing what you want, defining what you want, and feeling what you want, you’ll be harnessing some of the most powerful tools that man has at his disposal.

And you might just create a little magic of your own.