Friday, June 18, 2010

Stretching Out of the Uncomfortable & Wagging More

As I move along through another day of Project Happiness Life with Dog As Training Partner I’m finding some very cool things about what people who are happy practice.  Studies have shown one of those things is learning something new or doing anything new.

The problem with most people and learning something new or doing something new is....
usually at first it’s uncomfortable.

That’s why it is easy to do what we already know, what is easy and comfortable, even if it is something that doesn’t make us that happy anymore.  Doing something new is uncomfortable in mental, emotional and physical ways.  Finding somehow to practice new things in each of those areas is a sure fire way to feeling happier just after you break through the uncomfortable!

Barefoot & Paws

The analogy of feeling uncomfortable to get to a place where I want to be was alive and real in my feet this morning as I ran the West Rim Trail in my Vibram Five Fingers... or what I like to refer to them as... my barefoot shoes.

The dogs and their paws and me and my barefoot shoes headed on down the trail... and I was comfortable for about 45 minutes.  That’s when it started to become a bit of work.  The reading and studying I have been doing about barefoot running is all true.  It does take some time to build up to.... and it might be uncomfortable at times to change.... but already I see the benefit of sticking with it.

It’s a definite way to learn how to re-train yourself.  And  breaking old habits in exchange for new habits is really about re-training your brain and your body to adapt.  In the process happiness happens.  In this case I feel like I’m becoming nimble again.  Like a little kid.  It does make me want to stay moving and I’m moving faster... and more it’s more fun

But yeah... I was out there and for the last 30 minutes its started to be uncomfortable.  I could feel the rocks more, the pads of my feet felt hot... a bit burny.  Getting through uncomfortable.  That’s what I stuck with on my 90 minute run walk, at least for the last 30 minutes.

Running with the dogs and seeing how nimble and graceful and full of joy they are when they run... that’s what I’m heading towards and it is fun in the process.  Getting myself through the uncomfortable is well on it’s way.  My 10 year achilles injury that’s already much better even while I’m adding running miles is proof that when you stretch yourself a little more you get good at something new.  The brain feels happier.  The body feels happier.

Stretching the Dog’s Training

Dogs don’t have the preconceived idea that they should feel stupid or uncomfortable when doing something new.  The problem with most dogs is that their owners aren’t understanding or taking the time to show them what to do to master urban ways of getting around.

When a dog wants to stay by your side, wait for you when you stop for a minute, come back to you when off running in their nimble pawed style on a trail with “let’s go”.... or leave another dog’s ball at dog beach...... training has happened.  The only way to get there is to do it all the time.  And for you that could be uncomfortable at times while the process of learning something new for your dog happens.  The dog on the other hand will keep on trying if you are wiling to show him new ways, all the while developing more of a reason to wag.

Once those things are mastered dog’s don’t have a problem with a new idea, a new game, or a new place to go.  They adapt.  They use their paws on the sand, the rocky trail, or the paved sidewalk without complaining about uncomfortable.  Dogs don’t go through thoughts like “can’t”, “it hurts too much”, “it’s uncomfortable”..... they for the most part give a wag... and move through whatever it is to the fun side of it all without a thought that doing nothing is a better option.

Dogs I work with really do start wagging more when they get shown how to do these things... I just usually have to get them over the issue of not being shown correctly in the first place...  usually shows up in “fear aggression” or “leash aggression”, or “dog aggression”....

hmmmm... interesting.  Isn’t that the exact same anger that comes out usually as fear in people’s lives.  From anger at a parent to a bad situation at work most people are acting out of fear because they don’t feel like they have gotten what they wanted.... they haven’t been shown, they aren’t comfortable with the situation... and it stops them from feeling happy.  In fact anger, frustration and stress are what appear... like the dog’s behavior... not that nice to feel or be around really and it takes some re-trainig to get out of it.

Once the realization... practicing with the mind on what you can do, what makes you happy... what new thing you’re into to look forward to... like barefoot running, taking the dog the beach... all those things that matter if you do them every day or every once in a while.....

Stretch to the Uncomfortable and know that you can get where you want to be from where you are now.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

What You Do Every Day Counts & The Dog Too

What a difference thinking about and implementing one little statement makes.  The last few days the concept “What You Do Every Day Counts” keeps coming into play and I find the more I use it, the easier life has gotten for me... and of course for the dogs who live with me every day.

As part of Project Happiness Life with Dog as Training Partner this is one of the List of Seven Things - What you do EVERY DAY counts.... not what you do sometimes, or every once in awhile.  

Big Projects Get in The Way of Little Projects... or is it Little Projects Get in the Way of Big Projects?

I’m not really sure... what I do know is one of the two was stopping me from getting things done... or I should say in comparison to some... all the things I want to get done completed.  For instance.... I have a private dog training website that has become less than ideal.  The platform it is set up on pretty much sucks and the cost per month is ridiculous.  I mean way ridiculous, especially when one is looking to live a cash based lifestyle as one of their goals.

Why throw money away (actually quite a bit of money) on something that doesn’t really work right on a monthly basis?  In this case I can tell you it’s simply because the job seems to big to tackle.... and I keep telling myself that I’ll find “a block of time to get the whole thing done in”.

Yeah, right.  So far those kind of statements when I reflect back on them have never worked.  Yet I have continued to tell myself “I’ll get it done when I have a block of time when I can really concentrate on it”.  That must be why I have all these lists that have been put to the wayside to start another list, (just for today... after all, I’m going to get to the big project on the other list “when I have a block of time”).....

What You Do Every Day Counts

So... my Project Happiness Life with Dog as Training Partner was based off of the book The Happiness Project.... and since implementing many of the concepts in the book, things have changed in a big way for me.  Which is why I decided to apply it all to for those who have a dog in their life and are looking for the well trained lifestyle where you go out with the dog, get fit, have the dog be the coolest dog ever... and everyone wags more because of it.  (you can start your own Happiness Dog Project by subscribing to the Healthy Living Wag Report)....

I came to the major realization that the big block of time is never going to come.  And I decided I also do not want to be bogged down with these big projects always weighing on my mind.  Through all of my successes these are the things allowing my brain to be programed with undue stress... because I don’t have this done, that done or the other thing done... and the kicker thing is... it comes down usually to the big projects that get my head in this space.

Implement what you do every day counts and this is what happens.  I took the big projects I had and gave myself a little bit of time to work on them every day.  It’s amazing how just starting the project changed the whole motion of the incomplete...

And here I am... feeling good about a bunch of projects that I have been wanting to complete.... like moving the Private Dog Training Site (which I found out as I work through the project has some kickass stuff in it...) I create, get it going and then tend to discount the fact that I’ve got really good stuff in the quest to create more good stuff.

I think it’s probably true for everyone.  We are so programmed to look at what isn’t going right, or what we don’t have done... that all the cool things you actually do get done never get the due credit they should.

Moving the training site, finishing touches on more than one lifestyle with dog e-books, of course... my commitment to bringing Project Happiness Life with Dog as Training Partner to the lives of as many cool dog owners as possible... my fitness, I love my fitness and even someone like me can end up not getting out and getting it done in the quest for “the block of time”.....

All stuff I do every day..... and I’m finding I’m getting so much more done.  I’m so much more happy about it and we are all wagging more.

Life With Dog

How does it all pertain to life with the dogs?  The block of time theory is one that comes to mind when I think about so many of my clients who have come to me with the problem dog.

It’s usually one or two or maybe three behaviors that are driving the owner to such frustration they finally call me for help training the dog.  Yet, when it comes down to it, the concept of “I’ll fix this with the dog when I have time” comes into play for many owners when it comes to what they do with their dog every day.

For instance.... if you have a dog that constantly pulls on the leash... so much so that it is not fun to take the dog as your fitness training partner... ya know, that daily walk or run you have committed in your head to do.... but maybe haven’t implemented “What You Do Every Day Counts” method on it yet?....
This is one you can get done by implementing a couple of simple things to creating the picture your dog is going to stay by your side.  It’s a matter of doing it consistently and doing it every day.  Pulling is something that has become a habit... we tend to throw our hands up in the air and allow the buck em bronko type of walk or run with huge frustration to happen... instead of taking the small steps to replace this habit with not pulling.... in What You Do Every Day Counts....

    •    Never let your dog pull in front of you
    •    Stop, turn in another direction
    •    Make several turns quickly
    •    Mark the moment your dog is not pulling with reward...
                praise, treat, pet...
    •    You have to slow down to get change the habit
    •    Don’t try to keep moving in forward motion if your dog is pulling
    •    Dogs do what works.... if you don’t move forward when they pull,
                the pulling will stop
    •    Show your dog the place you want him or her to be... next to you...
                 not in front of you
    •    It takes patience
    •    It takes consistency
    •    It takes time

What You Do Every Day Counts and you’ll make progress much faster than you think by doing it every day.

Read Running with Two Dogs... even if you don’t have two dogs there are good tips that show turns and stops and starts to get your dog on the path to not pulling on the leash...

And you’ll be well on your way to What You Do Every Day Counts... not what you do some of the time... or sometimes... or every once in a while.

And one more thing... you’ll have accomplished more than one thing you want to do everyday by practicing this... it’s important.  The exerciserly thing for your fitness, your lifestyle and a well behaved balanced dog.

Wag More!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

One Minute Rule Makes For Well Trained You and Dog

As I cruise along here in the Project Happiness Life with Dog as Training Partner experience I’m finding some of the coolest little things that are changing for the better for me, and of course my dogs, in a big way.

For one thing, I was really really tired of being unorganized and pretty much have been my entire life.  I strive for organization and somehow end up more disorganized than ever.  There’s a good reason why my dog is my best friend as well though... my Weimaraner nor my Lab give one paw that things are not put in order!

Anyway, one of my list of 7 Things I Am is Creatively Organized.....

which means that I do want order in my life, I just need it all to be put together in a way that makes sense to me.  That means it needs to be somewhat colorful, and have the things I use the most look good where ever it is that I choose to put them away.  It might not be the rules everyone needs to fall under, but it is what works for me.  I’ve never been too good at staying inside the box.

I’ve always tried to attack doing this by getting organized all in one day.  I’d leave things for later because I was going to make a time to get EVERYTHING organized.  Big surprise I know... that big chunk of time never happened.  When I discovered the idea...

What you Do EVERY DAY counts not what you do sometimes....

and that’s where the one minute rule has really got me going in the direction I’ve been trying to get to for years.  I’m getting nicely organized in a very creative way! 

The One Minute Rule

The One Minute Rule is where if you see something and it will take less than a minute to get done you should do it right then.  Things like picking up my shoes.  Putting the dish that I just ate off of in dishwasher, throwing the laundry in the hamper instead of on the floor by the bed since I’m going to put them back on in the morning anyway... maybe.... which I don’t cause I like to wear new clothes everyday anyway.... deleting the junk e-mail, storing PDF’s, articles, downloads... you know important things where I can find them in the folder that would make sense instead of leaving it as an attachment on the e-mail and then doing a search through 10,000 e-mails to find it again when I need it.  Those types of things.... The One Minute Rule applies to.

So many little things I do now with the one minute rule in mind.  When I come inside from the car instead of putting the miscellaneous items I’ve taken for some outdoor adventure in a pile, I put them where they are supposed to go.  Even the dog leashes.  It takes less than a minute and the little messy piles are gone all the time now.  Good stuff.

Dogs and The One Minute Rule

So how would this pertain to life as a dog?  Well... many dogs are not able to hold a sit in the house, outside the house, by a table of food and certainly not in the midst of another dog in the area or person who appears to possibly be carrying a treat.  In all of these scenarios The One Minute Rule applied to teaching sit initially and then getting a dog to do it anywhere is an amazing trick as well.

The failure of most dogs that the words untrained, or badly trained, or not trained at all is simply the basics are not solid.  For dogs that means sit.

Telling a dog to sit and then not following through is a mistake done commonly and is a product of our unwillingness to take the less than one minute to put the dog back into a sit and make it a habit to start holding that sit longer and longer.... like a minute!

Put in those terms I’m sure there is more than one person that is guilty of letting the dog down by being too busy to help with a one minute sit.  That’s okay... I found that starting today is the best option.... and that what you do every day is what counts from now on.

Project Happiness Life with Dog as Training Partner

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And don't forget to Eat Your Colors....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Feeling Good, Feeling Bad and Feeling Right. Life with Dogs.

As I continue to trek on with the Project Happiness Life with Dog as Training Partner experience I find that it really is about each moment of the day.

Take for instance the concept of feeling good, feeling bad and feeling right.

What happens when you wake up in the morning with things you need to get done and yet you feel bad?  It’s hard to get going.  And it is certainly hard to get going with any sort of finesse when you feel like that.

It’s precisely what happened to me today and due to this project I was able to figure a way out of it.

I felt bad when I got up.  Didn’t want to get anything done, didn’t feel like doing anything, and didn’t really feel like anyone cared whatever it was that I did.  But then I realized it was about each moment and started applying things like the One Minute Rule.  (you’ll find it in an upcoming post)

Feeling Good and Feeling Bad

It’s hard in the moments when you feel bad to make yourself feel good.  But what I’m finding is that with a bit of practice the feeling can be attained with just a little effort.

Thinking about those things that you do have in your life to make you feel good is the answer to this dilemma.  There are things, you just have to bring your mind to think about the good and quit focusing on whatever it is that is making you feel bad.

Think Like a Dog

Very simple answer to feeling good.  It’s every day that my two dogs get up wagging their tails in anticipation of what the day is going to bring.  It doesn’t even really matter if it’s the exact same thing that happened yesterday.... the thought of those fun moments is enough to wag for the day.

Ok.  Keeping that in mind I realized that I had the opportunity to go to the gym.  Run on the treadmill in my barefoot shoes.  It was the option instead of going out on the Rim Trail.  It’s unseasonably hot here in Taos, New Mexico and the dogs could get heat exhaustion due to lack of a cooling system.

Instead I came up with a great plan.  There’s a river right up the road so when I was done with the workout for today, I took my computer and headed up the road with the dogs.  They got to get out and run and get in the river.  I got to sit and get some work done on my computer in a very creative way.

That feels right.

So there you go.  The training lesson for today for you and the dog.  Feeling good, feeling bad and feeling right.

I started out feeling bad.  I focused on only those things that could make me feel good.  I lived the moment like my dogs.... wagging in anticipation of the next fun thing....
and now everything is feeling right.

Create your own Project Happiness Life with Dog As Training Partner.  It’s easy enough to click on the Healthy Living Wag Report and go for your fit, balance lifestyle with your dog as your most loyal training partner.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Life With Dog As Training Partner: Eat Your Colors

When I decided to do this Project Happiness: Life with Dog as Training Partner, I had it all planned in my head as usual.... I was going to make this the perfect blog yet. So of course, same thing happened. I’m trying to come up with the perfect post.

And then I realized, that is what this is all about. I’m good at things when I just jump in. Most people are. You are too. It’s an old habit I have. Especially about something that I want to become really good at.

I’ve always been one of those people that jumps in and sets out to be the best I can be in things. And because of that fact, as life has gone on, I’ve gotten good at fewer things because I want to be make it perfect to start out with.

How many times does one need to jump in and learn the lesson? The best time to start being good at what you want to be good at is by starting with something and moving forward with it every day.

So here it is. Where I am today on Project Happiness: Life with Dog As Training Partner.

One of my Seven Personal Things is Eat Good Food. It’s something that I’ve told myself I do a good job at most of the time. And the truth be known when I started keeping a food journal, or at least continuing to be very mindful of what I was eating, I realized that ate pretty much crap most of the time.

I read a book call Food Rules which absolutely rocked. I highly recommend it. It makes knowing what to eat easy and almost fun.

So once again I have found myself ordering a big cheeseburger with fries more than once in the last few days. Seriously? This goes in the category Eat Good Food? No. It’s just an old habit.

It’s amazing how one really needs to focus on what you want and how making a conscious choice can change so much about how you feel. I picked up Food Rules again and the rule that came to me was Eat Your Colors. Today, I had butternut squash soap and added chopped up fresh broccoli. It was actually really good and made me feel better immediately. What’s so hard about that? Nothing really so I’m already planning the next good-for-me meal.

And once again the book Food Rules which has these simple rules that are usually a short page to read got me seriously motivated again. (That’s what this article is meant to do for you too!)

Heading to the Farmer’s Market tomorrow. Going to get more colors of vegetables and fruit to add to my Eat Good Food.

Life with Dog

This Eat Good Food thing got me thinking about what color food dogs eat. I write about healthy dog food all the time and get some interesting responses from people. Yesterday one came in where this women didn’t think it was a good idea to recommend different food to dog owners, especially those who have dogs that easily get stomach upset from a change in food.

Oh my. Wasn’t that the point? Poor dogs eat the same preservative laden food every single day. The only color they might get is the artificial dies some of the big pet food companies put in the chunks of kibble designed to look “beneful”, but are really a product of... uh.... down right gross nasty ingredients designed for profit.

Back to Eat Your Colors for the dogs too.... lots of research later I feed them a healthy dry kibble and add things to it that are good for the dog too. Today’s color for the dogs.... a little squash soup with some broccoli dribbled over the kibble. They are happy. And they are healthy. *Note not all the food we humans eat are good for the dog so do your research there as well... for instance, grapes can be deadly for dogs.

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Dogs are the greatest on earth for keeping a smile on their face and a wag of the tail going. Follow along and keep updated on ways to get out and have fun with your dog, your life, your health and your happiness by signing up for the Healthy Living Wag Report!

Wag More!

©Jt Clough & K9 Coach Inc, 2010