Improve your dog by first improving yourself.

Improve your dog by first improving yourself.  By the real world dog trainer Jeff Gellman, of Solid K9 Training.   “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.” -George Bernard Shaw   The first step in changing the world is changing the way we see and understand the world. From the moment you wake each morning, every single cell in your body is listening closely to your brain. It is an inseparable connection, as the body and mind are always working as one. For example, if you tell yourself as you roll out of bed that you’re far too tired to go to the gym, your mind will talk you into feeling too tired, you’ll hit the snooze button, and go back to sleep. If instead, you tell yourself that you’re strong, capable, and going to have a great workout, then even if you don’t really feel that way, you will feel strong and have a great workout. When you learn how to use your thoughts to influence your body’s responses, it can be both healing and empowering in everything you do.   Positive thinking impacts us, but also impacts our dogs because dogs, just like your body, are listening closely to our thoughts and mind through energy. We are profoundly connected to our dogs and they mirror us unmistakable ways, because dogs are naturally in tune with group energy due to their deeply ingrained pack mentality. You are part of your dog’s group or pack, so he will be constantly reading you, loud and clear. If you aren’t certain how you’re feeling one day, just take a look at your dog and pay attention to what he tells you through his body language and eyes. If you increase your sensitivity and awareness, you’ll see your reflection through your dog’s behavior, because your instability can become his instability. Your dog is essentially your mirror, because he will continually and truthfully reveal to you your own strengths, weaknesses, and reality.   “The ingredients of both darkness and light are equally present in all of us. The madness of this planet is largely a result of the human being’s difficulty in coming to virtuous balance with himself.” -Elizabeth Gilbert   When we see our reflection through dogs, it can inspire us to change any negative patterns or toxic thoughts, such as fear, anxiety or anger. When we change our thoughts, we can transform ourselves and regain the balance we need in order to be healthy and fulfilled. One of the most important realizations people come to while training is that before they can have balanced dogs, they must become balanced themselves. Ninety percent of the time, in the world of dog training, it is actually the humans that need the training. The simplest rule of thumb for anyone training a dog is that they must remain calm, assertive and consistent. These ingredients are essential in order to succeed, because all social animals including humans, respond to this type of leadership. If you feel confident in what you are doing and train yourself to be a calm, assertive, and consistent pack leader, your dog will sense it, and naturally begin to trust and feel secure in your strong, steady guidance. Small changes produce dramatic results.   As your dog’s leader, the “Place” command is the most powerful command you can teach him. “Place” means go settle down on a defined area, whether it be a dog bed, small mat, or rug. “Place” allows you to include your dog while keeping him under control. When we are putting a dog into “Place”, it lowers the dog’s adrenaline and allows him to focus on staying in the “Place” command, and work through any issues, rather than excessively barking, jumping on guests, begging for food, or acting destructive. We are redirecting the dog’s energy from a negative, problematic state to a positive, calm state, which will allow him to make better choices.   Just as in humans, there are robust, self-confident dogs that appear resilient to stress and remain calm in most situations. There are also highly sensitive dogs that react quickly to any subtle stimulation such as a motionless statue, a bouncing basketball, a lawnmower or even a garbage can on the street corner. The calm, confident dog and the sensitive, timid dog are both capable of the opposite state of mind. The issue is that they are seeing two different things when they are put into a situation. The calm dog is seeing the positive, and the nervous one is seeing the negative. When you calmly put a nervous dog into “place”, he will be relieved you are telling him exactly what to do and how to feel, so his anxiety will diminish, and you will be able to continue to do what you were doing while still including your dog. “Place” is a win/win for you both.   You are fully responsible for the well being of your dog, and when you are training your dog, you must first train yourself to leave behind the emotional static. When you are clear and balanced as your dog’s guide and alpha, he will blossom into his full potential, and your relationship with him will deepen into one based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding. Dogs teach us to become better human beings each and every moment due to their honesty, insight, and loyalty. We should be grateful for their wisdom, and continually strive to be the best leaders we can be, not only for not only them, but also ourselves.   If you have any questions and want to speak to real world dog trainers, please contact Jeff Gellman at 401.527. 6354.   Jeff Gellman   Solid K9 Training Providence, RI (401) 527-6354

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