Six Tips to Help You With Dogs … And With Life

It’s not always easy on the road to success with your dog. Sometimes we are dealt dogs who are more difficult, sometimes work schedules get in the way, sometimes family life is busy, but we still need to make time for our dogs … and ourselves, in order to succeed.
Here are six simple tips to start you on the road to success with your dog … and with life.

#1. Stop caring what other people think, just stop.

Caring too much about what other people think causes you to hide your real self. When you care to much about what others think, it affects your performance, the way you interact, your confidence, and really everything in life. Caring too much about what other people think can cause you to second guess your training, your tools and your success. It can cause you to develop a less than satisfactory relationship with your dog if you are always worried if others are judging. Sometimes it even causes you to stop trying because it builds fear. You need to stop caring and you need to do you. It doesn’t matter how you train, what tools you use or your techniques. If you are having success with your dog, then you are successful period. Stop jumping on bandwagons to impress others, stop caring so much what the popular people are doing (remember high school?), stop wondering if others are judging. Those who actually judge you (and it’s few and far between) are typically missing something in their own lives and are projecting their fears on to you. Those who judge are lacking knowledge and empathy. Best be yourself to get the best out of life and your dog. You will enjoy life more if you do, and your dog will thank you for it because they love you for who you really are.

#2. Don’t stop learning, and be open to new ideas

Whether you are a brand new dog owner, or a seasoned multi-dog handler, never stop learning. Learning from a book, from online, from a professional, from your own research, from your own experience allows us to try new opportunities to try new things, things that you may never have thought of, things that might take your training even higher. It opens us up to new ideas, even ideas that may contradict what you already know. Learning and being open enables us to grow, become wiser and become more adept. Never call yourself a master, there are no masters when there are constantly new things to absorb and try. You can not master dog training no matter what anyone says … there is always something new to learn.

#3. Be humble, be grateful, but be confident

Stay humble … your dog will teach you new things daily, some may be frustrating and others may be epiphanies, but if you aren’t humble, you will not see these teaching moments for what they are, and you will never move forward with training and growth. Be grateful for the opportunities that you have with your dog, even if they are frustrating at times. Their lives are short and you need to make the most of the time available. They do, they live in the moment, they enjoy their time with you, they love you for who you are, be grateful for that unconditional partnership. But through all of this, be confident, even if you don’t overly feel it in the moment. The more confident you are, the further you will get with your training. The more confident you are, the better your dog is able to follow your direction. The more confident you are, the less you care about what others think. With confidence comes new opportunities, challenges and the desire to push yourself. With confidence comes better communication and clearer directions. With confidence comes a dog who has trust in their owner which builds their own confidence.

#4. Learn to let things go

Mistakes happen, life happens, people get frustrated, dogs get annoying … let it go. Sure you can be annoyed in the moment, but don’t carry that forward. The more you carry forward, the less in tune you actually are because you are carrying baggage that is blocking you from success. Live in the moment, then let it go. It is of no use to be mad at your dog for days, hours or even minutes. It doesn’t make sense to them, and you are projecting emotions and energy on to them that will not help to move your training forward. Let it go. Too much negative energy affects you more than it effects anything outwardly, and that is not how you gain success. Let it go. In the end, it doesn’t matter anyway if you screwed up, if your dog crapped on your rug, if your kid spilled the lemonade – seriously, if you can’t let that stuff go, you are just creating your own stress that you do not need. Let it go.

#5. Put down the devices

Unless you are taking pictures of your adorable dogs or children, or capturing some video of them because it’s a cute moment, put down the devices. Don’t scroll through social media while you are out with your dogs (or family), don’t post stuff while you are out walking your dog, get off the phone if its not necessary. If you want to truly gain connection with your dog, it doesn’t involve a smart phone and Instagram. It involves you being present, being aware, and being connected to whomever is with you. Devices block connection, create missed opportunities and are a distraction rather than a benefit. Put them down and focus on what you are actually doing.

#6. Get outside and move

Yes, seriously, get outside. It’s good for your mind and body, and it’s good for your dog. The more you get out with your dog (and kids), the more opportunity you have to work with them and build that bond. The more you get out with your dog, the healthier both of you will become. The more you get outside and move, the more energy you can help your dog drain while building a bond at the same time. The more you get outside, the better for your mental well being and energy. When you have a better mental energy, it will positively affect all of those around you.

BONUS Tip – Calm is Key

Being able to remain calm, project calm and teach calm has so much benefit both mentally and physically, it’s hard to describe it properly in a tiny paragraph. The calmer you are, the better the outlook you have, the better able you are to handle stress, mistakes and frustrations, and the less stress you put on your body. When you are able to project calm, your dogs (and kids) are better able to remain that way themselves. And when you can teach calm, you can benefit your dog in the greatest way, by showing them them the that they can handle the world harmoniously, building confidence along the way from the calm leader that you are, setting a good example.

I hope these tips help you to build a wonderful, meaningful, playful and joyous relationship with your dogs, your families and all of those around you.

Happy Training!

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