Tis The Season

TIS THE SEASON, for rushing around, rushing to shop, rushing to visit relatives, rushing to various parties trying to fit it all in.  How do you all feel after the holidays?  Many people are left feeling exhausted and they are glad it is all over.   If we would just re-condition ourselves to slow down the outcome would be different.  Remember, over the years you have done the same thing when holiday time comes, so now you've conditioned yourself to act that way.  Now it is time to change, take it one holiday season at a time, give up one or two things that have been making you crazy over the years and replace with what you really would like to do.  Over time, your holidays will take on a “New Normal”

You can use this same idea when working with your dog, give him or her a “new normal”

Replace a behavior you do not like with one you do but you must show your dog what you would like them to do instead.  Condition them to behave the way you would like.

Conditioning,  whether classical and operant, is in your world now so why not put it to work in your dogs world as well.  Positive Reinforcement training is all about classical and operant conditioning and when applied to dog training the results are amazing.  Train with your heart so that the lines of communication stay open and loving,  add patience and consistency and you have a winning training method.

Stop and think about it, how great would you be at your job if someone was always yelling and telling you, "NO, NO that is not how you do it," but never stopped and took the time to show you what they wanted.  My guess is you would quit that job and probably have a few choice words for your boss.   Just because you’re a human and you think differently than your dog that does not give us the right to dominate, or intimidate or RUSH your pet into doing what we  want.   This world wants everything now and given the technology we have everything is at a touch of a button, we have been conditioned to get everything quickly.  Think about it though:  this conditioning took time, and is still developing everyday. We got hooked on fast technology, but only over time were we CONDITIONED to having information at our fingertips.    If you are blessed enough to live with animals as I am we need to realize that dogs and humans alike thrive on love and kindness and consistency.  Don’t get caught in the "I want it right now trap," or, you're going to do what I say right now.  Instead why don’t you pause for a moment, look at your dog and actually try and figure out why the behavior is happening in the first place.  Again, this takes time, it means you have to take your ego out of it and really try to understand you pet.  It seems most pet owners can articulate what they don’t want their pets to do, but I want people to take it one more step and ask themselves “what do I want my dogs' “New Normal”  to be  instead.  The next step is to teach that alternate behavior or find a qualified positive reinforcement trainer to help you do just that.

Our dogs are the most wonderful, loving creatures who shower us with unconditional love each day and I feel its only fair we give them more of our time.  They cannot be an afterthought; they cannot be last on the list of things in the family order.   Be grateful for your pets and show them that you are grateful by spending time with them and really getting to know their world it is fascinating.

Involve the entire family in continuing your education about your canine family member and read about what makes a dog tick.   Remember, when communicating with your dog, speak with your heart, be Positive, and the learning will astound you.

Amy Sandmann


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Positively Expert: Amy Sandmann

Amy Sandmann is a VSPDT trainer in Monticello, Minnesota. As a lover of dogs and the outdoors, her mission is to get people re-connected with their pets through positive reinforcement training and exercise. She believes that every owner should focus on unconditional love of their dogs and create a solid human/animal bond.


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