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If this isn’t the first of my material you’ve been privy to, you probably know that I am about way more than training dogs. I’m about feeding dogs. I’m about exercising dogs. I’m about communicating with them and enriching their lives. I feel like if we are going to compete with them we have a strong obligation to teach them everything they need to know about competition environments, and I don’t think we have a choice in HOW we teach them these things–I think we must be kind. I have all this stuff in one place, and it’s an online course running soon. Wait! Don’t run away! This post is intended to let people know about the course, but it’s more than that. There is something unexpected that happens to people when they embrace what I call the four steps to behavioral wellness (exercise, enrichment, nutrition, and communication). Why this happens is that in changing our routines for our dogs we humans wind up adding some positive behaviors to our own repertoires.
Get into the Kitchen
When I suggest that people feed more fresh foods to their dogs, and that they prepare these foods in puzzles, people whose kitchens essentially act as storage take on their intended role again. More than one of my students has noted that they added more fresh food to their own diets because they were buying these foods for their dogs, and that can only be a good thing.
Take to the Woods
There is no way for me to explain to you the enormous benefit of the decompression walk. It will heal your dog, and it will heal you. You have to trust me and try it. Without fail, every single one of my students who has embraced this part of The Whole Picture course has cited massive unexpected benefits to their own physical and mental wellbeing, aside from the wonderful improvements in their dogs. Taking to the woods, it turns out, is good for humans too.
Learn to See the Good
We are socialized every second of our lives to pick out the bad stuff and correct it. It’s how we are taught in school, it’s how our legal system works, and it is largely how we parent. When you learn the effective communication portion of this course you literally retrain your brain to see the good stuff and pay for it. When we do this we can’t tunnel-vision this on our dogs and we start to see opportunities for positive reinforcement in our kids, our significant others, and our coworkers, not just our dogs.
Relax Once in Awhile
My “happy crating” protocol which I cover in this course is literally about relaxing. We (Americans, dog trainers, etc.) are very good at DOING. We are less good at BEING. Happy crating requires that you just be with your dog once in a while; it requires that you focus on just being in the crate rather than doing crating. Think about the difference. When was the last time you picked up a book and just read it? When was the last time you really took your time folding laundry? When was the last time you just put on some music and sat down and listened to it? Well, you might just get that out of this course.
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