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A peak into my obsession with dog training and why it's a practice of yoga

Jul 30, 2021

I've been diving deep dog training, stretching myself to try new techniques.  

This happened because of what I saw after leaving for 10 days. I had a friend lovingly taking care of my dog, Shanti. She is like the best auntie in the world. But also, in the house was another dog, a houseguest, all her belongings and three cats.  It was mayhem. And everyone was yelling, including myself. 

Shanti was "bad." At that moment,  I decided two things. I don't want a relationship of yelling at her and I absolutely will not accept someone else yelling at my dog. There is nothing bad about this dog. (or any dog for that matter)

My dog training has always had parallels to yoga and now more than ever. Here are my takeaways. My challenge to you is to figure out how these apply your practice.

  1.  Create situations where it is a DO rather than a DON'T.  In other words, create a situation of success and reinforce them. 
  2. Control the situations that create the DON'Ts.
    1. don't leave food out where she can get it.
  3. Find out what she loves and use this to reinforce the DO's.
  4. Don't expect her to be doing the PH.d of dog behavior when she is in pre-school. Start with small activities until she really gets it and then slowly build on to those activities. 
    1. In other words, don't take her out in the morning with other dogs and rabbits and expect her to listen when called. Go back inside and reinforce the recall. 
  5. Let her make good choices and then praise her for them.
  6. Ask her to make those choices before I let her (play with other dogs, leave the front door, etc)

Our "training" sessions are fun and I'm seeing a huge improvement.

And! I'm in a positive mood. I look at the moments she doesn't "succeed" as moments for me to learn how to improve my techniques. 

This takes commitment. But every day just 5 minutes here and there is way better than screaming and yelling. The key to her success is my cheerfulness, consistent, clear expectations, and playful repeated practice.

Happy Practicing,

Jen

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