The Cesar Millan Experience

Exciting news! I had a very rare, unexpected opportunity to attend one of the Training Cesar’s Way workshops this year. I had a strict budget for workshops this year, and my mentor asked me if I could swing this one. How could I not?!Heather Hamilton Cesar Millan Project K9

I went with my mentor, Heather Beck from K9 Lifeline, and my friend Bethany Tracy from Wasatch Canine Camp. I was so excited, I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was going to train under the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan! I wonder what he would be like in person!

I had no idea what to expect. When we got there for the arrival dinner, there was a crew asking for interviews. Basically, just asking about we expected from the workshop. I had no idea, but I know I wanted to learn how to be a more stable, calm and assertive pack leader. No matter how long you have been training, you can always learn something new.  My super duper end goal is to handle any dog, and work with any issue. For now, I want to be able to walk a big pack, as well as to feel like a strong pack leader working with or without dogs.

Cesar Millan Project K9 Wasatch Canine Camp Dog Psychology CenterIt was a very small group, and we had a chance to talk before we headed to bed that night. I met some interesting people. Some of the ladies were even from out of the country. Germany and The Netherlands!! Everyone had different experience levels, and came from different backgrounds. Veterinarians, rescue folks, trainers (positive only, and some balanced trainers, all with different levels of experience), and even some people who were just there to learn more about handling their own dogs!

Finally, the day has come! We drive to the Dog Psychology Center to meet Cesar and learn some brand new, amazing material. We pull up and it’s better than I could have imagined! It is 42 acres of peaceful, serene land that Cesar has transformed into a zen-like dog park where dogs can be rehabilitated, and owners can learn to be all they can be for their dogs. It’s all about balance, and achieving harmony. He thought of everything, and is still expanding the center.

Heather Hamilton Cesar Millan Project K9 pack WalkWe started our day with a pack walk with Cesar! As we were walking, I realized, he was just a normal guy, who wants to help people with their dogs. His energy was so calm, inviting, and almost helped you be a calm assertive pack leader. He made you feel safe without any judgment. He gave each person a turn over the course of the week to walk his pack. By watching others handle the pack, you could see the energy of each person change the energy of the pack. You could see if that person was tense, scared, or not confident within the first few seconds of handling the pack. Not being judgmental at all, Cesar pointed this out, and helped each person achieve balance while walking. It was a powerful thing to watch each person overcome their own personal struggles and get a little closer to becoming that strong leader.

Cesar Millan Project K9 Dog Psychology Center Serene

Serene waterfall at the DPC

Every day, after our pack walk, we went into a tent to listen to Cesar lecture and teach us about his principles and theories. Almost all of it were concepts I have heard before, but didn’t quite GET until now. I had the building blocks set before I came, and this workshop was the mortar to build something great. Each new concept he discussed built upon the last. We had hands on experience working with each section, and had plenty of time to ask any questions we wanted. Cesar spent as much time as necessary to explain it in a way where the person asking could understand and explain it back to him to make sure he understood. I learned so much by just listening to other’s questions. Since everyone had different experience levels, some of the questions were coming from an ‘owner’ point of view, instead of a ‘dog professional’ point of view. However, they were not bad questions. It was really interesting to hear how everyone interpreted what Cesar was saying in their own way. Seeing these people grow, and the light switch coming on was rewarding in itself.

I’m the type of person who loves to see other people succeed, change, and grow into something spectacular. There was a lot of that going on in this workshop. I was watching a few people in particular, because I saw some of my own challenges in them. Everyone has roadblocks preventing them from moving forward or growing. Some of them were pretty obvious, and some were so big, you felt it yourself when they started to get close to the top of climbing that wall. Heather Beck is one of Cesar’s top trainers, as well as the owner of K9 Lifeline, and he said it best: You aren’t trying to fix anyone. You just want to plant the seed. I used to be that person – She planted a seed in me, and I have grown into a better trainer. I will always be a seedling, but I’m a little taller than I was last year. These people will also be a little taller next year.

Cesar Millan Project K9 Sheep HerdingOne of my favorite events of the whole workshop was sheep herding. There were many different types of breeds of dogs here. I don’t know much about sheep herding, so I was excited to learn the rules, what you are trying to accomplish, what to look for, how prey drive comes into play, etc. There were german shepherds, shih tzus, pitbulls, labs, dobermans, pointers, shiba inus, etc. We all knew the German Shepherds would do great. The main sheep herder man was hesitant to let a pitbull in with his sheep, but Cesar insisted. Blake, a nervous pittie came in, not sure what to think of everything at first. The sheep herding trainer got her prey drive up and got her excited, and once she learned what to do, she ROCKED IT! She was the best of the whole group! It was amazing to see this nervous, shy girl come out of her shell and absolutely KILL IT when she was herding. It really made me want to do some herding with Jinx to see if we could get her drive going. Honestly, I would love to do it just for fun, but I don’t know what the herding instructors would think if I brought a pittie in to herd! Bah, she’d do awesome!

On the last day of the workshop, right before we all left to go to graduation, I had a question. A question that I was itching to ask the whole workshop. It had to do with Holly and Cesar’s Worst Bite, along with the experience I had with Ryder. My question felt complicated, and it took a minute to ask what I wanted to ask. I couldn’t leave this workshop without asking him. I would regret it. After I formed the question I was trying to ask, it finally came out as “How do you know when enough is enough? How do you know when it is the right move to let them go?” He said back to me “Well, look at Holly. She is a part of my pack now. She isn’t rehabilitated, but she’s better, and I can feed her, and my trainers can feed her. But she cannot be in a home with children. If she were to stay there, she would be dead. She’s happy here.”Not all of us have dog psychology centers”, I said. “We can’t all be Cesar Millan right off the bat, and we can’t rescue everyone. How do you know?” And he said “I wouldn’t know because I have never euthanized a dog because of aggression. It’s a hard thing.”

Cesar Millan Graduation Certification project K9I didn’t know it at the time, but I was looking for closure. I was looking for someone to tell me it was ok. I was looking for HIM to tell me it was ok. He wasn’t intentionally not giving me that closure, but he couldn’t. He is a humble, honest person, but he is good at what he does. My decision was right for this situation. Still doesn’t make it go away, and I’m still working at completely getting past it. I was able to give the family closure and peace in knowing this was right. That was what they wanted. They wanted permission to let go. Who gives me permission to let go? When do I feel that peace? Why do I hold on to this so much, that it feels like it is holding me back? What is it that I need to do to move on? To feel the closure I feel I deserve?

One of the MONUMENTAL things that started to make more sense while I was here was being a pack leader. What this means, and how to implement it. It’s not about the dog. Ever. It’s about the handler. Are they anxious, nervous, angry, heavy-handed? How do they act in their day to day activities? How do they handle stress? To be a calm-assertive pack leader, you have to balance out your entire life and learn to live in the moment and handle things calmly. If you get emotional, or over think things, you ruin that moment, and you are not being a strong leader. All of it starts here. Not with the dog. Once you can master the calm energy in yourself, you can handle a pack of 30 dogs no problem. This was a gigantic moment for me, as I was just starting to comprehend this concept, but this workshop made it so much clearer.

Cesar Millan Graduation project K9At graduation dinner, we took pictures with Cesar, said our goodbyes to all our new friends, danced, drank, ate, and had a great time. It was a wonderful week, full of new memories, new material to study and learn, and an experience of a lifetime. I am so happy I had this opportunity to hang out with Cesar for a week and learn from him. It was truly one of the highlights of my life. He is a normal person, who loves to hang out, loves food, loves dogs, and loves to help people understand how to build a better relationship with their dog. Now, I can also help people build better relationships as well with everything I learned.

I hope someday I can come back and see the expansions he will make on his new center. It is one of the most peaceful places I have ever been to, and I won’t forget the feelings I felt there, or the things I learned. Such a life changing experience.

Cesar Millan Project K9

Cesar, giving us the tour of his center

 

Miracle of Life

My friend, Bethany Tracy from Wasatch Canine Camp, and WCC’s Berners invited me to experience something incredible. It was a very cool day, but a night full of waiting. Yep, I got to see a puppy brought into this world. It truly was something I will remember forever.C-Section on Luna, Wasatch Canine Camp, WCC Berners

I was just at home, hanging out with some friends, while training some dogs around distractions. I get a text from my friend saying that her dog, Luna, might be having her puppy (yeah, singleton puppy) tonight. I immediately said I would be right over and sent my friends home, and packed up some overnight essentials to head over. Of course, this just included kit-kats, graham crackers, and m&m’s. I’m serious about overnight essentials. 😉

What was truly amazing was that this particular bitch was bred around 2 months ago, and 2 ultrasounds later said no puppies. Pregnancy didn’t take. So, we were not expecting a litter at this time. About a week ago, Beth saw something moving in Luna’s abdomen while she was laying on her back. It was either something out of Alien, or this dog was indeed pregnant. She took her in for an xray, and sure enough – she was pregnant with one puppy!

C-Section on Luna, Wasatch Canine Camp, WCC Berners

This little life is brought into the world!

Anyway, I head over to her house, and we camp out, waiting for Luna to go into labor. We were seeing signs of her starting to get ready, but still no puppy. Around 1:30, she was starting to get awfully uncomfortable, but again – still no puppy. Heavy panting, eyes darting, wanting to snuggle constantly, and couldn’t get comfortable. We were looking for our her to ‘nest’ in her birthing pool (where she would shred the sheets and blankets in there) or at least a contraction. Nothing. We fall in and out of sleep, as the sound of Luna’s panting waking us from time to time. She didn’t sleep either.

She had an appointment to get a c-section at 9:00 in the morning. We were really hoping for a naturally born puppy, but that doesn’t always work out. Beth said that normally, she would just wait for the puppies to be born, but with singleton puppies, you have to be careful not to put too much stress on them. So, I went home, let my dogs outside to potty, fed them breakfast, and then we headed to the vet.

C-Section on Luna, Wasatch Canine Camp, WCC BernersWe were really hoping there may have been more puppies in there, that we just couldn’t see in the xray. We impatiently wait in the waiting room to get Luna prepped and ready for her procedure. We see many dogs come and go, and finally she is ready. We get to watch the c-section, and see this puppy be born!

We go back into the room where she is under anesthesia already, and the vet makes the first cut into her abdomen. It happened so fast! First, Luna was on the table, and they were asking us if we were ready. Then,  A PUPPY! A little boy was born into the world.

They got him out of his sac, and then the vet tech cleaned out his throat and nose, and there he was. A healthy little boy weighing 1.2lbs. He was so small, and cute, and just figuring out how to breathe.C-Section on Luna, Wasatch Canine Camp, WCC Berners

I was able to hold him the whole way home. Luna was a little nervous at first, but figured out he was her puppy soon enough. He figured out how to nurse, and she figured out how to clean him. One of Beth’s other dogs, Sasha also had puppies a long time ago. She was a great helper! It was like she wanted to be a mom all over again. She hovered over the little guy, cleaning him every once in a while, and was very concerned about his well being.

I didn’t get to see a natural birth, but this was just as awesome.  It was so awesome, that I wanted to share it with all of you!

C-Section on Luna, Wasatch Canine Camp, WCC Berners

Welcome to the world, little man! Click me to find out more about me, and see more pictures of me!

I DID IT!

Heather Hamilton Project K9 at K9 LifelineThis last week was exhausting and incredibly informative. I’m so happy I was able to do this, and that I had this opportunity. In my opinion, going to K9 Lifeline and working with Heather Beck and her incredible staff opened up a world of possibilities. They are a Harvard of dog training schools.

I learned so many new things, including becoming proficient in the E-collar and the prong collar. Two tools I was hesitant to use because I didn’t know how to use them correctly. Now, I am completely comfortable, and I can only get better with practice. These are not ‘pain training’ tools when used correctly. They are very powerful, and if used correctly, the dogs will love them! Napoleon gets so excited when I break out the E-collar to do training! I worked on a few bad habits I had with the Halti as well. I had the opportunity to run the daycare with a few of K9 Lifeline’s finest, and learned so much from watching the behavior during this time.

On top of that, I learned how much work it really is to have a facility. Whew! They were understaffed a few people, so we did some of the everyday work as well as learning all the new material for our certifications. It was fun, and educational, and a complete eye opener! I love anything dog, even if it’s picking up poop, but it was a lot of work to care for 50 dogs, while making sure all the interactions were appropriate. Yeah, I’m obsessed. They say that to become great, you must be obsessed with your work. Well, I can honestly say I’m obsessed.

Heather Hamilton Project K9 at K9 Lifeline working with Ginger

I learned more about owner/dog relationships and how that can change when the owner leaves the picture. The dog came in because she was very possessive of the owner. The owner left, and the dog was great. Owner came back, and she turned into a completely different dog. Never seen that happen before. The relationship between dogs in the same household can change as well when they are removed from that environment. I mean, it makes sense, but I never really thought about it before. There were a few dogs who came in who did not get along at home, but each dog got along with all the other dogs in the room. Very interesting to see how that changed once we got them together.  Very educational to see that. I haven’t worked with issues like that, but at least I know how to handle it now if I do get a case like that.

I have all the tools necessary to handle any behavioral issue, but I think I’ll still go pretty slow and wait a while on aggression cases, difficult dogs, etc. I am completely fine with working with happy go lucky dogs, doing basic obedience, teaching calm state of mind, working with puppies and doing leash work. If I feel I’m up to it, I will take a difficult case, but I have no shame in referring another trainer, either. I want to challenge myself, but in a safe way. And I have fantastic support from other trainers in my area if I need help as well.

I had a breakdown day 4. I seriously had a panic attack in front of everyone, and it was because of a series of events that caused it to happen. Me, being there, getting my certification and learning all the new information was completely overwhelming, exhausting, and I was completely ecstatic that I was able to do this. Then, realizing that I have done a lot of work with my boy, Napoleon. But, he won’t be as calm as I want him to be. He’s just not that type of dog. Which made me sad and made me feel like I failed. Then, I felt guilty because I felt he didn’t make enough progress and that I needed a different dog. Which isn’t the case. He’s my furbaby, and I love him, and I’m not the type of person to give up my animals. I had to realize that he’ll never be a super calm dog. Then, I had the sting of pain as a reminder that the decision to put down Ryder was first discussed right before the Difficult Dog workshop at this facility. Which, in turn reminded me of putting him to sleep. And how I couldn’t fix him. 2 very reputable trainers have told me they would have made the same decision. That’s comforting, but at the same time, it still brings pain because of the decision the family and I had to make. I know I can’t keep reliving it, I can’t dwell on it, and I have to get over it. And I am, in my own time. Just… I have never put a dog to sleep before, much less someone else’s dog. As much as I want to say he wasn’t my dog, he had a special place in my heart, and that can’t be replaced. It will mend with time. The experience I had this week brought this to the surface and I had to face it. Then, at our Saturday Social, I saw another dog who looks just like Ryder. He is a little taller and has a bit more weight on him, but same color, and same problems. He was adopted the day before he was put to sleep. It was luck, and his owner is the right owner for him.  This doesn’t happen all the time, and I have to realize that. I don’t want to say I’m ‘stuck’ in these thoughts, but it is taking quite a while to ‘get over it’.

My therapist says it will take as long as it takes. Which is true, but I wish it would hurry along. I’m not angry anymore. I don’t blame myself or anyone else. I just miss him. It’s all just missing him. I miss having a great dane at my place, and I miss his dopey, cute face. I don’t miss his attitude, but I do miss working with him. I had a very strong bond with this dog, so for me – it’s just getting over that he’s not coming back.  It’s not even about the decision anymore. I know it was right, and I’m at peace with that. Just sometimes, I’m overwhelmed with how much I miss him. I will get better at this, and I’ll get over it. Doesn’t make it any less sad, but I have to move on. Everyone is right – this can’t rule my life, and I can’t keep reliving it.

This side of me – you won’t see this when I’m training or when I’m being professional. I can ‘turn off’ my feelings and be professional. I talk about this in my blog because it helps me, and I hope it helps other people as well. I will tell my friends who want to know how I’m doing, my family, and people who I feel comfortable enough with to actually talk about it.

I haven’t broke down in public in YEARS. As embarrassing as it was, I had wonderful people around me, and everyone understood. They helped me talk about it, and express how I was feeling without feeling like I was completely vulnerable. I felt safe.

Anyway, on a happier note…

Heather Beck and Heather Hamilton

Heather Beck and Heather Hamilton

I got my certification! I did it! And I’m a fully fledged dog trainer now! I have to thank K9 Lifeline and their staff, Wasatch Canine Camp, my family and friends, and everyone who gives me support every day. Everyone who reads my blog and makes encouraging comments as well. You people give me the strength to keep going.

As hard as it was, I returned to my day job this week, and realized I am changing my life so I can do what I love. I think about dogs all day, about my technique and how I can improve it, and I can’t wait to go home and practice on my own dog, so I can have even more confidence when I work with client’s dogs. I look forward to the end of every single work day so that I can work with dogs. I’m now offering board and train options, which I am super excited about, as I am confident I know what I’m doing now. I can always make improvements, and I’ll continue to go to workshops, seminars, and learn new techniques to add to my tool belt.

Now, I just have to focus on advertising to get more clients for when I make the final jump.

I DID IT!!

First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

Tomorrow my certification course starts at K9 Lifeline. I can’t believe it’s finally happening. For the past year, I have looked forward to this day. I found out about Heather Beck at K9 Lifeline and the certification program, and that I really could make this dream a reality.

You hear about it all the time with inspirational quotes and people who have turned their life around. Well, I’m now part of that 1% who have actually done it. I have tried so hard to go to as many workshops as I possibly could, read as many books as possible, go to seminars and purchase online webinars. I took classes on things that weren’t even relevant to training, but were to dogs (like my Canine Theriogenology course). I wanted to learn everything dog.

I’m now at a huge crossroad in my life, and I have made a choice. I am getting my certification, and I will be a legit dog trainer. All the hard work, all the hours, all the sacrifices I have made for this decision and the mistakes I have made along the way – it’s all paying off. And I’m doing it.

I am making history, so to speak, as I am turning my life around. I am overwhelmed with excitement, joy, nervousness, and the feeling of accomplishment.

I have made up my mind, my husband has been very supportive, and only a few times we have had a fight when we have had someone else’s dogs here.

The first time was a HUGE mistake of mine. I took a dog to ‘babysit’ (because I wasn’t officially boarding yet – I was doing it for free) for a few nights while a friend was out of town. That was Checkers. (WOW! Looking back at this previous post… I didn’t know much of anything. I won’t change it, so I can document my progress, but not a good decision to watch this kid!) He was too much for me (which I knew after the first hour of having him, as when I have boards here, they are on a pretty strict routine (boot camp, so to speak). He tried to go after Napoleon, he didn’t know his name, he was highly destructive, not kennel trained or potty trained, and couldn’t be left alone off the leash in the backyard because he scaled my 6 and a 1/2 foot fence. Yeah, bad idea. I didn’t even think to call for help, as it was my friend’s dog. He barked all night, and I didn’t have a bark collar. I didn’t even have a remote collar at that point.

Another disagreement was, of course, over Ryder. We got into it because we were at the end of the road with this dog. The family and I had made the choice, and I helped carry it out. The last remaining option was to save Ryder by adopting him. That was the only option besides ending his too-short life. My husband is a logical person, and he was right on this one. We couldn’t take him, as much as I wanted to. I was emotionally unstable and it turned into a pretty huge knock-down, drag-out fight. I hate airing my dirty laundry, but again – this blog is to be open and share everything. Even the hard parts.

Because of this experience, and the fact that I am not a positive-only trainer anymore, I have changed my business name. In loving memory of Ryder, my project dog, my new business is called Project K9. So, for all of you who asked why I picked this particular name, it has a meaning. This is why. It isn’t just a new name, but a new beginning. A reality check, and a way to learn from everything that has happened.

Heather Hamilton Mistakes Bipolar Type II Project K9 Dog TrainingSo, in the last year, I have learned so much from my experiences, from the rescues I have worked with, from Wasatch Canine Camp, K9 Lifeline and their staff, from my clients and their dogs, my therapist, the mistakes I have made, and of course, my family and friends, and my husband. I couldn’t have done this without the support of my friends and family, and the help I have received along the way. I have made so many sacrifices. I miss time with my husband, sleep, eating healthy, weddings, etc. I jumped into the deep end, and struggled to not drown sometimes. But I stayed afloat, even though I was exhausted.

It’s all paying off, and I’m going to do what I love. Thank you all for following my story. And for the support and love you have all shown me. I will be back in a week or so with more updates and to talk about everything I have learned in the following week.

Oh, and on a personal note, I am learning to control the ups and downs of having Bipolar Type II without medication. I have mentioned this before, but with the ups and downs of having a training business is hard enough. Then, add in a mental disorder, and it’s a party!

For everyone struggling with mental illnesses – keep your chin up. I can do it. So can you. For all of you who don’t have mental illnesses, but are struggling with a tough part in your life: Be strong. I know it’s hard. But you can do it. Just get through it because it will get better. Just grin and bear it. Just put on that happy smile, fake it to make it. You can get through it, and happiness is just as contagious as sadness. Try not to be a downer, and suck it up. Yeah, I’m blunt sometimes.

Just get through it.

A Few Thoughts

So, I have some catching up to do. My life has gone to the dogs, and that’s a good thing! I have been working tirelessly to make the change, and every day I’m a little closer!

First order of business, I hosted another pack walk and it was very successful. I believe I had around 20-28 dogs. Some people came late, some left early, and some joined in while we were walking. So, getting a hard count was a little difficult. This time was better than my first walk, as I was trying to keep everyone together as a group. The dogs benefit the most from having everyone in a pack, not spread out. I’m getting better at this, but it’s going to take some time.

I LOVE the benefits of pack walks and I enjoy getting everyone together to host them. It’s a great way to safely socialize and a great gateway to doing full blown socials while I’m learning more about dog behavior and getting used to reading every single little subtle sign. It’s exhausting, and I feel I miss a lot. But that takes experience. No book or seminar will teach me everything – I have to get out there and do it. At a safe pace of course. I’m not about to take on a really nasty behavioral problem just because I need the experience.

Here’s a video of the walk. If you follow through my comments, you’ll see how every person and dog’s behavior smooths out near the end of the walk. There were a few dogs who needed additional help (The German Shepherd for one), but for the most part, the dogs’ calmed down pretty well.

Secondly, I have started helping with Wasatch Canine Camp’s socials. How awesome is that? (HUGE SWELLING HAPPY FEELING!) However, I feel like I’m miles behind the trainer and her skillset (won’t mention names for privacy), and I have so much to learn. She has also been doing this a lot longer than I have. But I won’t give up, and I’m trying very hard to not feel down when I realize this. I just focus on the good things – like how much progress I have made within the last year, and where I will be at the end of this year. Someday, maybe I will have a facility. It’s a dream right now, but maybe if I work hard enough, I can get there.

The hard part about socials is that you can’t really talk to people while you are there. I’m still in ‘spectator’ mode instead of ‘presenter’ mode. I have to watch every single dog and every interaction to make sure it is appropriate interactions between people and dogs. I feel like I have to be in every place at once, and sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up. At K9 Lifeline, the instructor (again, I won’t say names) said you’ll get a feel for when things are about to happen before they actually do. Like when the energy changes in a particular part of the room/area. I haven’t felt that yet. Will I get there? I feel like I have to be in all places at once, and I don’t think this class can be taught with just one person. Well, the size of the class matters, of course. On average, the class is about 30-40 dogs. I don’t know if I would be comfortable taking that much responsibility yet. Maybe someday – just not yet.  I’m not scared, just… I don’t know enough and I feel I’m a ‘baby’ in this field. It’s comforting to know I have more experienced trainers watching my back while I’m learning, but giving me enough room to grow and to make mistakes. I really look up to these women, and I hope someday I can be as successful as them.

Napoleon

Napoleon, waking me up in the morning

Something else I have noticed is that I find myself being passive around more experienced trainers. Not as assertive as I normally am or I shut down, in one particular person’s case. Like to the point where I can’t speak – I can hardly breathe and I end up having a panic attack.  This affects my performance, the way the animals see me, and I’m not as strong of a leader as I need to be. I have started working on this and I mentally prepare myself before going to class or to an event where more qualified people will gather. One step at a time – I have started asking questions about social, asking about behavior I have missed, and I’m beginning to analyze every dog I see. Sometimes I wish I could turn that off, but other times I’m proud I see so much more than the average dog owner. At first, I was ashamed I needed to ask any questions. But then, I realized that everyone has to start somewhere, and to be the best I can be, I have to stop worrying about what people think about me. I need to buck up and ask. I was always worried someone would say, “Well, you are a trainer, you should know that!” or “You call yourself a trainer, but you can’t handle [insert something here]?” I haven’t received that reaction at all – what do I have to be anxious about? …A trainer asked me that about a dog once – and now I’m asking that same question to myself. What do I have to be worried/anxious/scared about? I’m over it.

I want to turn off the auto-dog-evaluations when I’m out with friends, at parks, or when someone says ‘Your dog is so perfect! He loves people and is just happy’. I want to say: “My dog is not happy nor is he perfect by any means. He’s over adrenalized and he isn’t in the right state of mind, and makes bad decisions. He can’t learn anything in this state of mind, and when you are baby talking him and loving on him, you are reinforcing this behavior and undoing work I have done for the past 8 months. I have been working with him about calming down around people, other dogs, and distractions. He was doing well, and now I have to undo all the un-training you just did.”

Ok that’s really harsh and I haven’t ever said that to anyone, but at the same time, it’s true. My dog is high energy, and with the combination of the wrong state of mind (over excited), he can’t learn anything. I have put him into a calm state of mind before any training, or he won’t learn anything. No, he’s not perfect. He really isn’t, but he is a gem. He’s my rock, and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Not that we were talking about that – but I am constantly looking at dogs, the people handling them, and how they are reacting. Napoleon can get amped up so quickly, so we purchased an eCollar to manage his mindset. It was really made a difference, though I haven’t received any formal training on it yet.

Any who, I think this is a long enough post for today, so I’ll end here. Next time, I am going to post about Ryder, my training challenge right now. I had him again this week, and I really had to take my time with him on most everything.  He’s a bit of a handful when he is being naughty!

And just to show... here's the obedience class I was enrolled in.

And just to show… here’s the obedience class I was enrolled in. (Click for larger image!)