Often, working with dogs with behavioral issues and coaching their people takes us to conversations about the attitude, mindset, and feelings of the humans handling the dog. There are always lessons for the humans to learn, not just the dogs.
At Way of Life™, we focus on just that before turning our attention to what may be wrong with the dog. Before passing judgments on dogs, let’s look critically at their way of life.
Way of life encompasses many elements, some of which are practical and pertain to how we live with the dog on a day-to-day basis. Other aspects are psychological and have to do with the person’s attitudes, expectations, and ideas. Things start to ease up for both humans and dogs when people can look at their situation a little differently. And, when we change how we look at things, those very things change.
At Way of Life™ Dog Training, our mission encompasses much more than training dogs. It’s about raising dogs that are sound, strong, and spirited. When we talk about rearing and not just training, we shine the light on the people doing the raising and that can be uncomfortable at times. Yet, it’s much easier to work on ourselves than it is to try to change others – people and dogs included.
For me personally, it wasn’t always that way. Years ago, my goal was to change the dog without consideration of how I might change to improve our relationship. Short story: it didn’t work very well. We made slow progress, at best. The peace I know now with my dogs was just a dream.
Through plenty of research and hands-on experience, I’ve come to a place in my life where I welcome changing my mind and tweaking my personality so that I have greater success with any dog, be mine or a client’s. I’m the result of years of dog handling – slowly carved and chiseled by every dog and what it took to connect with them. I relish the changes in my outlook that have allowed this growth. Let’s not be the people who ask our dogs to change while we remain the same.
As I see it, if my dog requires that I change in certain ways, then I’ll welcome the opportunity. Experience has shown me that the need for change is not random. Dogs are messengers, delivering news of the lessons we need to learn. They are vehicles of our growth. There’s a bigger picture here, a larger logic. Every change I’ve made to accommodate a dog’s needs has helped me beyond dogs. I’ve found this evolution incredibly fulfilling, and I’m sure you will too.