Ruminations

Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dog Training Tip - Be Consistent, What Does Consistency Really Mean?


One of the most common directions given to dog owners by dog trainers is 'be consistent'. But what does 'be consistent' and consistency really mean? Is 'consistent' defined as: 1) 'Do the same thing and enforce the same rules all the time? 2) Use the same words, same hand commands each and every time? 3) Always 'reward' the desired behavior and never reward undesired behavior? 3a) As soon as your dog did something right give him/her a treat and/or voice praise? 3b) 'Punish your dog if he/she did something 'wrong'? or 5) Always ignore your dog if he/she does something 'bad'? Does this all sound familiar? Is this all there is to consistency? Have you tried using some or all of the above and your success rate was less than what you desired? Or maybe your dog does as requested but only when treats are offered. What do you do when out and about and you have forgotten to bring treats?
'Do The Same Thing and Enforce the Same Rules'

'Do The Same Thing and Enforce the Same Rules'

You do want your dog to be a comfortable, happy, joyful well mannered canine, so you do need to provide consistency. How? By following a fundamental rule of natural wisdom - first you must learn to be that thing that you want the other being to be. If you want your dog to be calm, patient, attentive, self-restrained, self disciplined and connected you must first learn to exercise those attributes yourself. This is the purest form of consistency and the foundation for obtaining attention, respect and compliance - 'obedience' from your dog. Pure logic - 'do as I do', be as I am'. Dogs are insightful, observant, intelligent, skillful communicators hence a dog's love of pure logic.
DID YOU KNOW?
What have you heard, what have you been told? 'Be consistent' when training your dog! But what if the definition of 'be consistent' was incomplete? Is there a missing link? Find out what you really need to know about consistency...
Train Yourself First

Train Yourself First

Check-in with yourself before, during and after you direct your dog. Ask yourself 'how am I feeling'- grounded, confident, comfortable and normal? Or, maybe you are anxious, uncertain, angry, confused, frustrated, excited-happy, tense, stressed - emotional? Be consistent - be that thing you want your dog to be. This is the corner stone of positive consistency - this is logical and true leadership.
Words, Commands and the Importance of Psychological Consistency

Words, Commands and the Importance of Psychological Consistency

Dogs are conscious observers. Dogs have eyesight, hearing, and olfactory senses that far exceed ours. The expression in and around the eyes, breathing - both are form of communication in and of themselves. Our emotions drive our thoughts, which then determine our body language - just one of the ways a dog knows what you are thinking. Unless we have the presence of mind - the self awareness and self restrain to maintain control of ourselves - our emotion determines what action/reaction we will take. You become your emotion - in which case the word/command you use to direct your dog may become meaningless. You can be depressed, you can be emotional - you can be human BUT, when you direct your dog with a chosen word, command, hand gesture etc., you must do so with the thought that 'this is what you need to do (dog) because it is good for your wellbeing'. The impetus behind the words is everything - give a challenge - get a challenge. Be fair, logical and respectfully directive, reflective and you remove triggers for resistance. This is positive consistency - this is logical and true leadership.
Physical Consistency and the Importance of Self-Restraint

Physical Consistency and the Importance of Self-Restraint

If you want your dog to stop - then you must stop first. If your dog is trying to bolt past you on the stair, through a hallway, pull past you on the leash - don't keep going. Stop. Take a deep breath, ground yourself, still yourself. When you stop, you stop competing, when you take a conscious breath you ground yourself and, when you stand comfortably in-place you become a reflection of what you want your dog to do, to be. If your dog is chewing on his/her leash - don't use force. Don't pull the leash out of his/her mouth - physical energy creates physical energy and argument. Take a big breath, clear your mind, hold the leash with a gentle pressure, a quiet normal grounded presence and take another deep breath - still yourself. When done properly the dog will stop chewing his/her leash - because you calmed, you stilled, you did not use physical force - there was no argument. You became that thing that you wanted your dog to be - do as I do, be as I am.
A Real Reward - Aligning with True Consistency

A Real Reward - Aligning with True Consistency

A dog knows what you are thinking, a dog knows if you are proud of him/her and that is the best reward of all for a dog. If we take a moment in time to enjoy that pride it is also a wonderful reward for us. A quite, connected, meaningful reward that enables confidence enables normal - no treat or voice required. To give your dog the reward of quite, steadfast, deep pride requires that you be grounded in that moment in time, requires that you consciously connect to that moment - that you enjoy the warmth of that moment - that you be 100% present. Self awareness, self discipline, self restraint - focused, attentive, quietly joyful - the same thing you want your dog to feel, to be. This is positive consistency - this is logical and true leadership, this is sharing.
A Real Reward - Aligning with True Consistency

A Real Reward - Aligning with True Consistency

The foundation of 'be consistent' is pure logic that supports and enables 'do as I do', be as I am'. This is the same method a well adjusted dog employs when teaching a puppy or an adult dog social and life skills. This is coaching and mentoring founded on natural, ancient wisdom - founded on normal...no treats, no voice, no punishment required. Positive constructive, confidence building consistency - do as I do, be as I am - your dog will thank you.


Some of the dogs shown in the photos are some of the dogs in my own dog pack.

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