Training Tips for Pets…and People

Annah ElizabethLeave a Comment

Late night laundry and packing and phone calls and lists had us all up late.

Having seen the other side of midnight every night for nearly a week, I finally apologized to my family for ditching them and collapsed into my bed at two.

The nagging, sleep-deprived nausea I felt when my feet hit the floor at eight nearly kept me from taking myself and the dog for a walk.

This big, furry boy hates being in the house where he can’t burrow into the cool earth when he’s hot.
Indoors, he’s always panting and whimpering at the closest door to go back out.
Since he’s also a born runner who we can’t let loose, he spends most of his days on a thirty foot chain in our back yard.
Though I’m sure he expends a fair amount of energy digging all his cavernous sleeping spots, he needs the exercise as much as I do.
As we walked, I ruminated over all of the last minute details I needed to finish and wondered if I should put his walking harness back on, or if he’d walk without it as nicely for the teenage girl who’s taking care of our house as he’s been doing for me this past month.
I thought about how well he’s responded to the new techniques I recently.
A few months  back I attended a women’s event that was designed around a series of mini workshops.
Art. Dance. Gardening. Personal branding. Pet training. Reiki. Yoga, to name a few.
Of the four sessions I signed up for, three were business related.
And for my last event, I was all set to attend the gardening discussion until Bilbo, the spotted black and white pug, wandered over to me during lunch and jumped onto my lap.
I went for the fun and came away with some of the most invaluable resources I’ve ever learned.
This is what the dog trainer had to say about each of these training tips.
When you repeat yourself, if the dog isn’t responding to your instruction, then you can actually be teaching him that the repeat is the cue to act.
“No” is one of the most widely used words in the English language, which leads to confusion because the dog hears it even when he’s not being asked to respond to a command.
When we don’t have the proper hardware—leash, collar, harness, signals—frustration and other problems arise for us and our pampered pets.
If you have a dog that continually pulls while on a lead, let me share this product with you.
I have no connection to this company other than an incredible fondness for how effective this product is: IT LITERALLY WAS A LIFESAVER.
I was ready to give up our walks because I had to wrap the lead around my gloved hand, several times, and keep my muscles fully engaged the entire time we were out.
This pup once pulled me off my feet and dragged me several feet before I was smart enough to let go of the leash.
Scouts honor.
If you have a difficult dog, I can’t say enough positive about the Gentle Leader, Easy Walk harness.

This last tip makes me think of a very common way we often address our children when we aren’t happy about something: ANNAH ELIZABETH!
But the dog can’t differentiate like we do, and using the name for both kindness and correction is also puzzling for the dog.
As I considered the effectiveness of each of these simple yet profoundly successful pieces of information, it dawned on me that these guidelines are as beneficial to we humans as it is for animals.
Don’t repeat yourselfif being used in response to a failed or delayed task , such as : I’m going to go on a diet, or I’m going to start exercising, or I want to write that story I’ve been thinking about.
These phrases are often nothing more than a stalling tactic.
If you find yourself saying this same thing over and over again, ask yourself, “What cue will actually make me respond the way I want to?”
No is often disguised as I can’t, or I’m not sure if, or I don’t or he won’t.
If you find yourself telling yourself these things, stop and consider these two things that I’ve found to be most helpful when I’m facing a difficult task: Yes and Can’t never could.
I never much considered the use of proper hardware until I began training for my first 5k late last year.
When I started, I couldn’t run more than about fifty feet without being winded or without my legs cramping up afterward.
On one of the trips to my chiropractor for a neck adjustment, I asked him to look at the heel of my foot, which had been hurting for months.
The first things he asked me were what type of shoes I’d been wearing for my training and what type of shape that footwear was in.
Turns out, one of the bones was out of place.
After he adjusted it, he stressed that I must invest in a good shoe that would support my high arches.

Talk about inspiration!

I also found that cold compresses were just what my aching shins required at the end of each run.

And then, there’s nothing like a good massage to loosen up all those achy, knotted muscles that were rebelling after years of inactivity.

Sometimes our instruments include things like the nifty, c25k smart phone app.
Sometimes they are our music and a serious set of headphones that blast out our favorite tunes.
Or the energy and excitement of other people, other noises.
And sometimes the means to our success is nothing more than the simple sounds of nature.
The first sounds I listened to as we strolled along this morning were a symphony of different birds.

And as I walked, I heard something I haven’t heard on any previous trips down this stretch of road.

I first found out about this natural waterfall more than two decades ago, but what I discovered off the beaten path this morning is another tranquil place that I didn’t know was there.
Though this spot is clearly manmade, and must have been done after one of the numerous floods our area has encountered these past ten years, the soothing sounds are no less enjoyable.
When I can figure out the problem with the videos, I’ll come back and post them so  you can hear what I heard…

But for now, I must close this and get some much-needed shut-eye or I’ll never make our all day tour of Valley Forge that begins at 7:45 in the lobby…

Good night, Journeyers…
Can you apply any of these pet training techniques to people? Have you ever seen the effectiveness of these strategies in your life or play out for someone else? What “hardware” do you find useful in your own life? Share your stories here!

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