One of the most difficult questions I get asked regularly is “what kind of dog trainer are you?”
It seems like such a simple request, but for me there’s no easy way answer that. People who ask that question are usually expecting one of two answers: dog whisperer or positive dog trainer. Those are the two big dog training philosophies that people are aware of and looking for, and the followers of both methodologies are very loyal to their own and distrustful of the other.
This makes my answer to the question, “what kind of trainer are you?” confusing because I am neither dog whisperer nor positive trainer and, at the same time I’m both. See? Now you’re confused.
My approach to dog training (and most things) is to always remain open-minded. This, I strongly believe, is the key to growth and development. If you close yourself off to something, you miss valuable opportunities to learn. Sometimes you discover something that you would never have thought of, and other times you get conformation that you’re way was indeed the better way. No matter what, you have more information and are able to increase your knowledge base about a subject.
I have never met dog trainer or dog training philosophy that I’ve agreed with 100%. However, I have found value in every single trainer I’ve talked to, watched, read, or shared a drink with. No matter who they are or what they believe, I’ve always come away with something.
As I’ve gone through my career as a dog behavior professional I’ve decided it’s about time I had an easy answer to the often asked question. Something that best describes my unique approach in which I train dogs and the people they share their lives with. So, if you really want to know, I’m a state of mind dog trainer. That’s the official title I’m going with because it best describes how I work with dogs.
For me, I care more about state of mind (both the dogs and the humans involved) over anything the dog is actually doing. A dog’s behavior is a direct result of his state of mind, and your state of mind is directly influencing your dog’s mindset and, in turn, his actions.
The reason your dog does everything is based on his state of mind at the time. If you try to alter your dog’s behavior without changing his state of mind you will get nowhere fast. For example, I never treat jumping, I treat excitement. If your dog is calm, he’s not going to jump. Dogs make really bad decisions in anything but a calm state of mind. If you make a dog sit but his mind is not calm, you’ve only put a very temporary band-aid on the problem.
Your state of mind is extremely important as well. Dogs are highly influenced by how you feel at any given moment. If you are not calm and confident, your relationship and communication with your dog will suffer. We give our emotional baggage to our dogs. If you are anxious in a given situation, there’s a very good chance you dog will become anxious as well, or he will become assertive and take the initiative to get his unstable human away from the stimulus that he feels is causing you’re anxiety.
My first step in treating everything dog related begins and ends with state of mind. It’s the most important aspect that affects your dog’s behavior. Always strive to achieve a nice calm state of mind for you and your dog. Doing this will cure more behavior problems than any training tool or yummy treat out there.
I invite you to join me and embrace State of Mind dog training and see how your life with you four-legged pal improves.