Increase Your Success Using Values-Driven Dog Training
Have you ever thought about how your dog training success is achieved in your own mind?
There are many different styles of dog training across the world. Depending on the dogs function, how and what we train changes to suit our needs, the environment, the dogs and our preferences.
After many years learning different approaches, and watching the challenges faced by the Ladies Working Dog Group Members I feel there is room for a new type of dog training. One that combines the needs of the dog, the end function, and also the needs and values of the owner who, in my belief, has been absent in the dog training world’s focus.
When we purchase a dog, we spend so much time thinking about how and what we are to train them. And there can be so much we need to do. But we don’t stop to think who we have to become as a person in order to be able to achieve those goals.
The idea of a values-driven dog training is one where both the dogs development, and the owners development are intertwined in a way where the owner works on themselves, as much as they do their dog training.
What Is Values-Driven Dog Training?
Each person has within them a set of values from which they try to live their life. When they are living within their values, life feels happy. When they go against these values, they feel out-of-whack, and can feel a range of negative emotions.
When we train a dog our individual values of who we believe we are, or what we believe we can do are internally questioned, and this is where our frustration can emerge.
Self Reflection is a skill we all need, but give very little time to developing. Its needed fundamentally within our lives, yet sadly its not incorporated.
How can we achieve what we want in our dogs training (or indeed our life) if we have spent no time whatsoever dedicated to setting out our desires, aims and ambitions? How can we tell if we are on or off-track? Reflective learning also helps us to work out what went well, and what needs tweaking.
It allows us to do it from a place of non judgement, so we can learn and grow in line with our values, rather than feel frustration and guilt.
Balance in Values-Driven Dog Training
In the human world, when values and balance are discussed, it is usually in the context of people considering other people.
This too has a place in our dog training where we consider the needs of the dog. This form of training has its own widely recognised name of Positive Dog Training and it’s one part of values-based dog training we are mostly already embracing.
Maybe in part this is due to us happily supporting the needs and wants of another life form, but not wanting to identify and address the wants and needs of our own internal desires.
In order to meet our own internal values, the needs of the dog are to always be included. This is of paramount for the dogs welfare, but also for our own.
We no doubt question our own values when we are asked to do something in training that we don’t feel is aligned to how we want to treat our dogs.
The role of our Self-Confidence
Reading through most of the messages I get from LWDG members they regularly fall into two main themes. One is thanking the LWDG for boosting a persons confidence, the second is a desperate plea for help with their dog where they have lost all belief and self confidence in themselves to achieve their goals, aims and ambitions.
There is without doubt a huge need for our self confidence to be addressed, as much as there is a knowledge of how to train our dogs.
Much dog training is done in isolation, and as such we have very little in the way of ‘cheerleaders’ to support us on our training journey. When we are alone it is very easy for self doubt to creep in and rob us of all our hope.
Working on our own self confidence needs to be a continuous and never ending effort. Like a mobile phone battery, our confidence, if left uncharged will dwindle and die.
If we are actively dog training and seeing results, this can recharge us. However, if it’s going wrong, this speeds up the process of loss of confidence until we lack all will to train, and may even give up altogether.
It is essential to work on our self confidence away from our physical dog training. This can improve our mindset and ultimately, our success.
Whilst gratitude may appear at the end of my blog post today, it’s without doubt, the most essential of any part of values-driven dog training.
If we train from a place of gratitude, we begin with a happy and humble state of mind.
If right now, as you read this, in your mind (or out loud), you thank your dog for wanting to work with you, you thank your job for giving you the money to pursue your hobby, you thank the gamekeeper for their hard work all season preparing the game, you thank the land owner for allowing you access, you thank the people who have taught you what you know to date and you thank yourself for being kind and patient with yourself and your dog whilst learning together, if you do all this thanking, how do you feel? Do you somehow feel calmer and more positive about life?
Think what would happen if you spent a few moments before each training session doing this, do you think it would change your approach and attitude?
Gratitude has a way of appeasing all our values in one go. It brings them all to a place of calmness that we need before we train. Its role in life is far more fundamental than we give credit for.
The whole concept of thanking someone is based on gratitude and embracing its power can be life altering.
Thank you for reading this 🙂
This post is written in hope that it will allow you, yes you, the person who is still reading, the strength and courage to believe you CAN reach your goals.
Using this knowledge, spend more time on yourself, than you do your dog training and you will achieve results you didn’t think possible.
Comment below how you feel about the idea of Values-Driven dog training, do you agree that this approach can improve your results?