29 Dec 2009, Posted by Sensei Joseph in Sensei Joseph's Blog, 0 Comments

Common Concerns

153How long will it take to train my dog?

How long can you be patient? How often can you be consistent? These are more important questions when attempting to teach your dog. How long it takes to train your dog is directly dependent on your commitment to doing so. One must understand that change is inevitable, only then can you let go of the thought of how things “should be.” It is not about how things should be; it’s about how things can be made better. Taking an active role in your dogs learning experience will help us ensure a positive change in your dog’s behaviors.

How does one learn many new things in one session?

Be being fully engaged, mentally and physically. Visualization will help you focus on the possibilities of a situation; practice will help you achieve this visualization. Repetition is the mother of skill. Be willing to practice often and at increasingly random times and circumstances. This will help your dog learn to generalize behaviors. Practice the things you struggle with the most. Our minds and bodies are pliable in the way that they can be reshaped and changed.

Can you retain a calm state of mind amongst tension, frustration and fear?

Knowing the purpose or definition of a visual or verbal command improves your ability to use it in the correct manner at the correct time. Our ability to control our inner environment is very important. Instead of hesitating or holding the tension in, release it in a calm, slow breathe and see where that gets you. Ground yourself mentally and your dog should follow.

How does one gain confidence that their dog will respond when it counts?

We and our dogs have the ability to meet the demands that are presented to us. But how is one to know how to respond if we are never explained the definitions of words and gestures? Constant practice and simulation works well when trying to increase the reliability of communication. This is the simple idea of setting up a situation where we retain control if the dog decides not to comply. But we must give them some trust and a little space to learn for themselves, in this way keeping the mood and experience positive and productive. Practicing etiquette teaches us to be mindful of our environment and how to pay attention. Keep a “bright mind.” Once ritual becomes habit it is of no more use. The point now is to practice mindfully and keep our skills sharp. You and your dog are only as good as you practice. You will stay at the level you are at until you can experience what is needed to move to the next level. Choose a direction in practice and work in that direction. We are responsible for ourselves and our dogs. You cannot control the world around you, only your internal environment. Frustration occurs when we are trying to control things that we cannot. The ones who give us the most trouble are our best teachers. Our dogs have a lot to teach us, but we must learn to pay attention. You only understand for yourself what you choose to experience in this life.

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