The word priority has not always been pluralized.

Think about that a second.

Ok, good. Now, realize that initially a priority was a singular thing; one item that was held to the highest regard. Not a list, not a hierarchy, just one thing. And then ask yourself, what is my priority in dog training?

I just got home from another great weekend at The Ranch where Ken Ramirez lectured on problem solving in animal training. The man has a really exciting resume including homeland security, wildlife conservation, and even butterfly training. So when I heard about his weekend seminar on solutions in behavior just hours away from home, I jumped at the chance. While I was enthralled with his problem-solving matrix, his storytelling, and the paradise-y atmosphere, I was the most excited to spread the word that yes, even Ken Ramirez, claims that behavioral wellness is at the forefront of all successful behavior change. 41827845_10215447677938190_7453830040430575616_o.jpg

He stated when talking about his training philosophy that our primary goal in training should always involve steps to make the animal’s life more comfortable. That performance or work related training goals should always be secondary to husbandry and management training; and that without this prioritization no real success can be had. I have heard Ken talk on this multiple times, but for some reason this past weekend I felt so validated–that my four steps to behavioral wellness were not just a pie-in-the-sky idea I had as a dog trainer but a real necessity to all of our captive animals.

So tell me, did you just train weave poles this week or did you get out for a walk? Did you go to agility class or did you make a puzzle toy? I hope you did it all, and your dogs will thank you for it.