I always look forward to opening up the mailbox. Sure, email is great – but there’s something magical and mysterious about having physical, tangible items delivered to you from somewhere beyond. The other day was no exception, as I happened to receive the latest issue of Dog Fancy magazine (November 2011). And in the “Natural Dog” section is a feature on Natural Dog Training, including interviews with me and Kevin Behan, along with a couple people who have had some very positive experiences with NDT. (Cliff Abrams and Sang Koh).
The article is entitled “Push Away Stress” – and I think it does a great job of zeroing in on one of the central principles in how we interact with our dogs – that the key to establishing a rock-solid connection with your dog is to recognize that life for your dog, especially in a human world, creates stress. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to give your dog ways to relax that tap into their innate mechanisms for releasing stress. By doing so, you are teaching your dog that no matter how the world makes them feel, you are uniquely capable of helping them get through it.
This might all sound a little mumbo-jumbo-y, but I’ve seen it now time and time again, how tapping into your dog’s primal circuitry changes things for the better. My DVD set (and this website, and Kevin’s books, and Lee Charles Kelley’s articles, and…) gives plenty of examples of how once you’re plugged in with your dog you can turn that relationship into enthusiastic “obedience.”
Note that the reason that I put the word “obedience” in quotes is because the concept becomes almost moot. Your dog doesn’t “obey” you – because there’s no need. What happens is that you learn how to communicate with your dog in a language that they understand. So your dog listens, and responds.
Not because they are suddenly blindly obeying you, or because you’ve become the “authority” in their lives – but because they care what you have to say. It makes sense to them. Even more, it FEELS good to act in harmony with your desires. Because now you both want the same thing.
If reading the Dog Fancy article is your introduction to Natural Dog Training, welcome! I’m sure you’re intrigued to know what “pushing” is all about – as the technique was essentially the focus of the article, without any detailed instruction on how to actually do it! As you might expect, I do explain thoroughly how to do it on my DVDs – but I also provide written instruction here on my website on How to Push with Your Dog (and the follow-up – Why to Push with Your Dog).
Thank you to Dog Fancy magazine (and writer Susan Chaney) for an open-minded article about what we do. And thanks, once again, to all of you. It’s your attention, questions, and feedback (yes, keep sending emails with your stories of your success!) that help remind me why I’m doing this in the first place.
I am reading your book, The Found Dogs. I love the book. As I was reading about each dog, I saw that several have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, it's sad, but it is happy that they were loved and got the chance to know real love. But I was wondering just how many of them are still living today besides Uba. I was so thrilled when Dogs Deserve Better got the Vick property and turned it into a Haven for chained and abused dogs. I personally know the TN representative of DDb and was happy when a TN dog was the first to move in at the headquarters. It's now a happy loving place for dogs. Barbara
BAD RAP Blog
Your dog’s behavior doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase (or seen it written here): “The dog is always right”? The reason is that dogs are simply responding to what is happening in their environment. And, specifically, how their environment makes them feel.
Whatever your dog is doing, it is ALL about the relationship that you have with your dog. And the relationship that you have with the significant people in your life. And the relationship that you have with yourself.
The obvious relationship that matters here is how you are with your dog. Are you nervous? Rigid? Harsh? Grounded? What are you communicating with your body language? What is your emotional state communicating to your pup? 99% of the time, what your dog is doing is “right” – meaning that your dog is simply taking in all of the information that you’re giving (and primarily the physical and emotional information – NOT the intellectual or conceptual information) and doing what makes the most sense to a canine under the circumstances.
Guess who else’s behavior doesn’t exist in a vacuum? YOURS! You are affected by your self-image and beliefs, and the relationships that you’re having with those around you. One of the biggest challenges that I’ve had over the past 10+ years of working with people and their dogs has been helping the PEOPLE change their habits. I would see, over and over again, how the emotional atmosphere of a person’s life – their stress at work, or in their primary relationships, or their view of themselves – was affecting how they lived their lives. Their habits. And this is important, because…
Your habits are creating your dog’s habits.
A little over 5 years ago I decided to branch out and get some training, as a coach, from the Robbins-Madanes Institute for Strategic Intervention. For me it was an opportunity to not only focus on shifting my own habits of being, but to also develop more skills at facilitating change for the humans with whom I was working. In the time since then, it has truly been an honor to not only be helping people with their dogs, but also to be helping them with the overall quality of their lives.
During that time, it became a passion of mine to work with people on improving their romantic relationships. You may notice that my original site (yes, this existed BEFORE Naturaldogblog) www.neilsattin.com has been revived. There’s a lot of great content there, and more in the works, that’s focused specifically on improving relationships. I’m also about to launch a podcast, called Relationship Alive, focused on helping you have amazing relationships (or easeful breakups – should that be the path that you choose). So stay tuned for more information on that.
In the meantime – think about it this way. Your dog is an emotional creature, picking up on everything that’s happening in the environment and responding from a place of heart – not head. What’s going on in your world? Where is the stress? Where is the tension? Where is the anger? Where is the love? Now look at your dog’s behavior, and ask yourself “how is my dog giving a voice to everything that’s happening in our world together?” I look forward to hearing what insights you uncover.
There was time when this blog was part of an official network of bloggers. We would amplify each other’s posts.
The most important thing was to be anti-kennel club and anti-dog show. If one could be rude as possible about it, then do so.
Such an environment is not exactly designed for close collaboration, for eventually we all turned on each other.
I became a pariah from that group, and things sort of died down. I still blogged about dogs. I still got pageviews.
But over time, I’ve slowly given it up.
For the sake of my own art and my own sanity, I’ve consciously moved away from dog writing. I do write about dogs on occasion, but so much about dogs has already been said.
The problems of closed studbooks and breeding exaggeration in conformation are still there. They have been highlighted much more in the past decade, but I’m reaching the point in my life that I’ve written enough about them.
I am not writing one of those “Westminster rewards breeding freaks” posts, because the usual suspects likely already have the draft written and just need to cut and paste the problems associated with the winner next Tuesday.
People are moving on in the world of dogs. I’m okay with it. And I’m certainly okay with finding comfort in my own skin as a mostly wildlife and natural history blogger.
I’m not writing about Westminster on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. I don’t know what I’ll write about, but my guess is I’ll try my hand at producing something like Rick Bass or Aldo Leopold or Annie Dillard (and fail because those are masters) and post it here.
And no one will get into a big argument with me, and I will feel better for having tried do something artful with this here English language and what it is I think I know about nature.
I’ll trundle on. I’ll try to write. I’ll hope you read it and don’t hate it. I’ll get better over time.
And so it goes.
It’s the silly work I do online.
That was nothing short of excellent. Thank you.
BAD RAP Blog
Good advice. When you leave your dog’s waste out, it can sink into the sewer system, putting a strain on wastewater treatment facilities. Not something you really want to think about, right? According to Tallahassee’s Think About Personal Pollution campaign, dogs have an especially large number of intestinal bacteria to digest [a] wide variety of […]
Thank you McCormick for sponsoring this post. Visit your local Wal-Mart to pick up McCormick Good Morning Breakfast for your family!
I know I’ve talked a lot around here about my feelings on the importance of eating healthy breakfasts as the best way to start the day, but I’m going to be honest with you guys and tell you that the past month has been full of processed breakfast foods (so many food pouches) for both the kids and myself. It hurts to type that out, man, but it’s the truth. Between moving into a new house, hosting a big joint birthday party for the kids two days later, adjusting to Essley returning to school and activities after winter break, several sickness sweeping through our house, Robbie going back on the road with the band, and me returning to a normal work schedule after the holidays (phew!), I’ve been on auto pilot since the New Year with zero time or energy to focus on breakfast. However, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I needed to come up with a solution that would allow me to make delicious, wholesome breakfasts again, without wasting precious time. After playing around, I came up with this super yummy breakfast smoothie that everyone in the house adores, and that Essley affectionately named the “Rise and Shine Smoothie.” I know you and your family will love it too!
Makes 1 serving. Easy to multiply to make for your whole family.
1 packet McCormick® Good Morning Tropical Twist Smoothie Boost
1/3-1/2 cup almond milk, soy milk, or cows milk
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for about 60 seconds. (We like ours kind of thick.) Pour into a glass and garnish with strawberries. Enjoy!
These Rise and Shine smoothies are so great because they take less than five minutes, can be taken with us if we’re running late, and can easily be changed up so no one gets bored. We have made them with frozen mangos or a whole frozen banana instead of pineapple, with plain Greek yogurt and water instead of almond milk, and with a handful of frozen blueberries added. The possibilities are endless, but the star of the show and one item we never leave out is the McCormick Good Morning Smoothie Boosts. They’re the best, truly. They contain no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, are gluten free, and our smoothies go from ordinary to extraordinary with a boost of taste and nutrition! Blend into your favorite shake recipes for a drinkable breakfast on-the-go. Blend with juice, milk or fruit for a drinkable meal on-the-go. It’s the exact thing I needed to create wholesale, yummy breakfasts that everyone loves and that doesn’t take a lot of effort or time that we simple don’t have right now.
Mornings are fast, too fast. Between getting ready for your workday and preparing your kids for school, there isn’t much time to create the flavorful, fulfilling breakfast your family deserves. McCormick Good Morning breakfast is a break through line of products to help you do just that. If you’re like I was and feeling overwhelmed at breakfast time, I encourage you to check them out. In addition to the Smoothie Boosts, of which we’re such huge fans, they also make Good Morning Breakfast Seasonings, Good Morning Breakfast Toppers, and Good Morning Slow Cooker Breakfast Seasoning Mixes. Yum!
If you try our Rise and Shine Smoothie, I’d love to hear what you think! What are your favorite ways to create satisfying breakfasts on little time?
Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.