Consistency is the Key to Success but What’s your dog problem?

Good morning! 

I woke up this morning with an idea in my head which I couldn’t wait to come downstairs and type about for all you lovely dog owners. I’ve recently been reading a great book called Think your way to Success by Mark Rhodes and it struck me that as a Dog Owners Coach I teach a lot of what I am reading about in this book to my clients.

Did you know that the word ‘Want’ in most people’s head has negative associations in your subconscious mind? Linked in childhood where we said ‘I want’ ,lets say a Barbie doll or a bike or a dog or a pony and were told ‘NO’ by our parents, then we were obviously upset or sometimes devastated because we soooo Wanted that thing. Our powerful subconscious would then make the decision (as it’s main job is keeping you safe and able to survive the world) that things you ‘want’ are obviously things that will hurt, upset or devastate you and can be passed over. Interesting stuff isn’t it?

Now bear with me because this all fits together in your life and working with your dog…

Apparently the way to get around this is to change your mental vocabulary and how you associate with the things you actually do want to have in your life. So if your wish in your head is to have a happy well mannered dog, instead of thinking to yourself  ‘I really want a well mannered dog’, you should be thinking something along the lines of  ‘wouldn’t it be great to have a well mannered, happy dog. We could have so much fun together’. Now just read those two statements for a minute, can you see the difference that might make to your emotional sub-conscious? We change a negative association into a positive association. It’s about changing your mindset.

Being aware of your thought process and body language and being mindful of how you associate this to something you would like your dog to do is exactly the things I teach with my coaching clients. It sounds a bit strange but it is something we dont consciously think about in our day to day lives. To change anything in your life, mentally or physically we have to change some of our habits or tweak our routines. If not then we will keep doing the same thing over and over again and nothing will change! This is where Consistency comes in. Consistency makes something you might do once, into a habit. If you do the same thing every day, say for instance, I tell my client to come down stairs, let the dog out as they normally would do every morning, but from now on just don’t look or speak to the dog until it has done what it needs to do and is back inside again. If they do this every morning it forms a good habit. They don’t get jumped on, the dog doesn’t wee on the floor and the dog will learn not to expect its morning cuddle until it comes back inside after he does his morning toilet routine outside. 2 weeks later we have a daily routine that the owner doesn’t even need to think about and seems like it is something they have always done.

If that all makes sense to you I thought it might be fun to share some of our annoying dog problems. For one it lets other people see that they might have similar issues and are not alone and two it can help someone who might not want to ask. Let me know what the issue is and what your normal reaction to this behaviour and we’ll see what might need a tweak.

So go ahead and let me know what issue with your dog is getting on your nerves today by adding a comment below      (Unfortunately I can’t go into dog aggression as this is a very serious subject that needs full commitment from the owner to work on one to one)

Thank you for reading and I look forward to helping you and your dog

Bernie – The Dog Owners Coach


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14 responses to “Consistency is the Key to Success but What’s your dog problem?”

  1. Beth says :

    When my husband walks the dog, he grumbles and mumbles about how ill trained the dogs are – and they are. When I walk the dogs I happy and confident
    and so are my dogs. Both my husband and I use the same techniques, the difference is in our mind sets.

    • 4dogday says :

      Beth you’ve got it in one, if you wake up in a bad mood it’s not only the dog that can sense it. If we’re rushing and short on time and we make ourselves rush to do 5 mins practise with the dog it’ll take half an hour or we’ll stop, feeling frustrated and probably feeling worse because we haven’t set our minds to the job of being positive and expecting a good outcome. Thank you 🙂

  2. Jean says :

    Thanks for the great post our dogs are pretty good. I think primarily because we live in an area where they can get a lot of exercise, and they are walked each day. I think this helps.

  3. unicoachingster says :

    I don’t have a dog of my own, but I have one that I housesit for who never, ever, ever let’s me go first out the door. It makes for a real tangle. any help??

    • 4dogday says :

      Hi Sandy, this is a really popular problem with dog owners, sometimes worse when there’s more than 1 dog involved too! Here’s a great tip to start making the door ie the entrance or exit of a room or the house, not so interesting for the dog. Obviously a dog who thinks it’s the decision maker in the home sees it as their right to go out first, it’s their job. But as you aren’t a pack member or part of the immediate family, this works great for me. Do this in the evening or at a time when you are both relaxed and it’s not time for a walk. You will need at least 20 mins to start off with to get started but once you set this up you can do this any time of the day, even when you are waiting for the kettle to boil! You need to stay nice and relaxed, dont look at the dog, this is just pressure on him. Go to the door (preferably where the door opens towards you rather than away as it’s easier to push for the dog) Reach for the handle, I’m sure this pup will be hot on your heels, just drop your hand and walk away. You are going to do this in stages, you move on as the dog starts to show less interest, we do want to make it so boring for the dog that he thinks ‘why am I bothering’! So every few minutes, walk to door, reach for handle if the dog is below you awaiting eagerly, walk away. Next step, walk to door, if dog is watching you but not right there,you are going to open the door just an inch or so- I bet you your friend will be right there at your feet again. Close the door and walk away, keep this next stage up until he is standing a little farther back from the door. If he is giving you space go to the next step, if he is on your feet with his nose wedged in the door, walk away. Step 3, open the door a little further but not enough that he could get through, if he steps towards the door close it but you can stay by the door, the idea is get him to the stage where he is now thinking about this and not just reacting. You might stand there a minute then open it again slowly, if he moves forward close the door. He is learning that his action is making the door close and him moving back makes it open. Aha! Now we are getting somewhere. At this stage you can do a few minutes at a time like this and you want to see him moving back and giving you personal space to go out the door. If he does slip past you out the door, close it behind him and you stay in the room. This is about him learning consequence of action. He will get this very quickly if that happens a few times too. Hope that helps Sandy!

  4. Kathy Loftus says :

    I agree with you that sometimes it is us humans that need to be mindful and consistent with regular training practices if our dogs are to behave well. Thank you for the great practical advice Bernie!

    • 4dogday says :

      you’re welcome Kathy, just like children we have to keep their education up all of their lives and realise we can do this positively or negatively

  5. Christine says :

    That’s such an interesting concept that the word “want” is associated with our parents telling us no. Never thought about that before. I’m sure it has affected a lot of our subconscious thinking.

  6. Michelle Lopez says :

    Great post Bernie! You always have great doggie advice!

    • 4dogday says :

      Thank you Michelle, that’s very sweet. My aim in life is to improve the life of our dogs and our relationship with them. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.

  7. Michelle says :

    Bernie, I really enjoyed this post. Consistency is definitely an essential ingredient for success. I am not currently a dog owner but our pet parrot has been trained through consistency in our words and actions and is a really smart bird. For example, If she wants cuddles on our shoulders, she knows she has to go to the toilet first and she’ll normally fly back to her cage if she needs to go again.

    • 4dogday says :

      Thank you Michelle your parrot does sound like a very smart bird. All animals have their own intelligence and language we just have to ‘crack the code’. Thanks for leaving a comment

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