Dr. Laurel Davis, Asheville’s natural vet, offers Stories from a Holistic Veterinarian, the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter.” With a clinic in downtown Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers animal health, lifestyle and vaccination advice for cats, dogs and their human friends across the country.
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Dog Training Part 2: Learn to Speak “Dog”
In last week’s post, I discussed the research proving the health benefits of training your dog (both for you and Fido). This week, I will focus on the benefits of further developing your relationship with your canine and creating a common language.
Sharing your life with a dog can be one of the most rewarding relationships you’ll ever have in this life.
In order to reap the benefits, you must sow the seeds of intention. First and foremost (and always and forever), when communicating with your canine sidekick, you must shift your way of looking at the world to be more like the practical, observant dog who lives in this moment. Dogs are heart-based beings. We can learn from them to live in the present.
The ultimate goal in training your precious pup is to create a common language between canine and human. Dogs never cease to amaze. No matter how young or old, they are always learning and always communicating. Learning to speak “dog” requires us to still our minds and be utterly available to what is happening in that moment, completely aware of the surroundings we find ourselves in. Perhaps this way of being could be considered a form of meditation. It seems simple, but in truth, it takes practice. One could argue that we have as much to learn from our dogs as they have to learn from us. Take a lesson from your dog: learn to focus on one thing at a time.
It has been said that when humans communicate, 55% of our “speech” is actually body language.
That means that, whether we are aware or not, we are all constantly communicating all the time. Our dog-friends are very aware. For them, it is natural to listen to us in their native language, body language. Almost always, our dogs want to understand what makes us happy. When you combine a human’s desire to “speak dog” and Fido’s ability to learn, the duo can be unstoppable. Throughout our lives, humans never stop learning and neither should our dogs! So, if you are committed to creating a learning and interacting culture within your doggie family, it becomes a way of life.
To energize and reinforce this constant evolution between you and your dog, a great thing to do is create or find new and interesting games that integrate what your canine already knows with learning something new. Agility courses are great for people and dogs that can be active.
When searching for a trainer, it’s important to find the right one.
Some trainers specialize in calming aggressive behaviors, some in service dog training, some in general socialization, and some even train old dogs to learn new tricks! Evaluate your family’s needs, and shop around for the right fit.
This begs the question: What should one look for in their search for the right trainer?
The dog should be challenged, intrigued and relaxed around the trainer. The trainer must be self-assured and kind, and he or she should present a training method that is based on positive reinforcement. Seek out a dog trainer that praises your pup for desired behaviors as opposed to punishing for undesired ones. They must also be a person that knows their way around people! It is important that you like your trainer, or you may not listen as intently nor learn as much as you could. Most of ‘dog’ training is actually training the dog’s people. Therefore, it is highly important the trainer guides the people firmly, yet gently.
Here are some signs you’ve found the right match for you and your pup:
- Your dog lights up when it’s time for a training session!
- You light up when it’s time for a training session! The person and dog begin to move into a well-oiled companionship.
- You feel comfortable asking your trainer any question. If they don’t know the answer, they will find it out or point you in the appropriate direction.
- And most importantly: You and your well-balanced dog are loving life!
In last week’s post, I share Sunvet’s most trusted and reputable dog trainers, serving Asheville, NC area, including other parts of Western North Carolina!
Dr. Laurel Davis is Asheville’s natural vet offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere. Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinic. Read more patient stories.
Get to know Dr. Laurel by reading her blog.
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