Become a Better Person — By Training Your Dog

I am actually what is known as a “professional dog trainer” — which means that I train dogs.

I am also a dog training instructor and instruct people to train their dogs. I stopped doing that for a time because I wanted to focus on improving my own skills as a dog trainertraining my own dogs.

This may sound like a completely useless or frivolous pastime, but I have a really good reason for it other than just wanting to.

I want to become a better person.

When I first started training dogs, I had no idea what I was doing. I just followed my instructors at the local club and people online. This worked a bit, but I found that using punitive (corrective) methods (which is what we were taught at the time) promoted anger in me that was difficult to control.

After all, dogs are “supposed” to listen to us and do what we say right?

This was the mindset of most people I learned from and people I was in contact with. Dogs were there to do as we say and should do so simply because we say so.

This attitude promoted stress and anxiety for me. I was always worried that because the dogs were not doing exactly as I wanted, there was something fundamentally wrong with me and my ability as my dog’s trainer.

What I didn’t realize was that my dog didn’t do the thing I wanted because I was not doing effective training.

I was also adding my negative emotions to the mix which is never helpful when training a dog. This is the problem that most people have with their dogs.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding of what training is and how to do it. The belief is that if you collar correct (choke the dog with the collar so that it is uncomfortable and hurts), that the dog will learn immediately to not do something.

The thing that I found is that it is very difficult to train a dog with corrections without escalating your emotions to anger. Fact.

It happens so often. You are walking with your dog on the street and your dog is pulling. You want your dog to walk beside you. So you jerk the collar to “correct” him. Your dog stops pulling for a few seconds and then resumes pulling.

You get irritated because your walk is already unpleasant with your dog pulling you. So you correct again and again. The corrections get stronger and stronger. Your dog is still not doing “what you want”.

It is a frustrating and annoying never ending circle. What is really happening is your dog is becoming desensitized to the choking so that you have to keep increasing the amount of force you put into the correction.

Some breeds of dogs, such as terriers for example, have an increased ability to withstand pain to the head and neck area. This comes from being bred to dig into vermin’s ground homes and take them out by force while being bitten on the head and neck. These dogs will likely be able to withstand more and more severe corrections with a choke chain.

This is where I realized that I was getting upset while just walking my dog.

Changing my attitude was the best thing I did to help my dogs get trained faster and better. When you are upset your dog knows it and responds with stress in kind.

I was able to change my attitude by changing my training method and learning more about the technical aspect of training.

It is much more effective to stay calm and remove emotions from the picture as much as possible. Emotions don’t help your dog get trained. For the most part they will just stop learning from happening, as many dogs will get worried or stressed out themselves when they feel you are stressed.

In order to stay calm I removed the ability to cause my dog pain while training. I started training with food.

By training with food, I had to learn that a dog won’t do something unless he has actually LEARNED the behaviour and was motivated by something positive i.e. not pain. I was no longer using the attitude that my dog should do something because I said so.

This is that fundamental difference between the two training methods for the average “dog owner”.

You need to understand the attitude that is perpetuated by each method.

Corrective method — dogs should do things because we say so.

Food reward method — dogs need to learn the behaviour before they can do the behaviour.

I feel that I have become a better person because I have mastered my emotions while training my dogs. This is a major part of self improvement and even of spiritual development. So, I feel it has helped me become a better person.

This does not mean I don’t get frustrated once in a while. But frustration enters into the picture FAR LESS than it used to and it is getting less and less noticeable to me all the time.

I also don’t get angry anymore. It just doesn’t happen since I understand that my dog’s behaviour is solely the result of the work I put into it.

For more information on helping yourself to train your dog check out my website at:

alldogsaresmart.com

and my free training tutorials at:

All Dogs Are Smart