With every case that I am called too, I am both challenged and excited. Challenged, in that I make an effort not to know what the case is about and even if the owner tells me over the phone before hand, I make an effort to wipe it out of my mind. This is important to help me stay in the moment and not create pre-conceptions about what the dog has done or will do. Dogs live in the moment, they don’t premeditate their actions. I’m excited, as every case I am called to is unique, yes, the behaviour may be different but the dog and the owner is unique and therefore I have an opportunity to learn something new, reflect on something new and thereby make a difference in that person’s life, my own and the ones around us.
What I do with clients is rehabilitate dogs but train people. I coach my clients. In order to do this I immerse myself into dogs, their psychology, their insights as well as of the human. By doing this enables me to really learn, gain confidence and master the transformation process. It’s the same as learning a language, you did learn it by learning it’s principles, you learnt it by getting into it and doing it so often that it then became real and part of your being.
When I get the call from a client asking me to train their dog, or they say,” I’m going out over the weekend can you come in and fix my dog”, or “I don’t need to change, the dog must change or else it is going to get kicked out or put down”. I respond by saying “I don’t do that, but we can work together to rehabilitate your dog”. When I walk through the front door, they point to their dog and say “there is the problem and beast etc….” and I just guide the owner to the couch and sit down and I become the how and why guy for the next 30-90 min. I make an effort to know why it is they do what they do, what is their motive for action to get this result in their dog? What is it that drives them personally in their lives today, not ten years ago. This is often asked when they tell me that their previous dogs were amazing when they were growing up but this one is just different and I help them reflect that they are not running the same daily pattern in the lives today as they were years ago in raising a dog.
It is from my understanding that the internal invisible force for internal drive activate is the most important thing in the session. It is my job to help the client transform using this drive. If the drive is not strong enough, then the change in the client cannot occur in order for them to transform their dog. Thereby, I use the owner’s emotion as their greatest drive. Most of my clients are of great minds and all of them are able to think. With their minds they are able to rationalize anything, they can make anything happen. Some philosophers state that we all work for our own self-interest but this goes out the window when emotion plays into the picture. During a session a client would parrot back to me on all the dog training and life concepts that they have learnt and I let me go on, but in the end I focus back to their emotions in order to find out what drives them. This question process helps us explore where they are “today” in that session. Why? Firstly, this enables the client to contribute more to the rehabilitation process and secondly, so that they can understand themselves and their dogs more and appreciate their balance needs more. This process helps the owner create connections that will help stop some of the challenges that they are facing with their dog on a daily basis. The great theme with the development of the human to become a Calm Assertive Pack Leader is that they are able to evolve into effective leaders that have the ability to consistently motivate themselves with the discipline to maintain the feeling, state and energy of a Calm Assertive Leader, because they will then understand the invisible forces that shape them and the behaviour that is exhibited around them.
I have had an obsession for the last 26 years of my life, and that is how can one improve the efficiency and quality of people’s lives with the synchronicity of mother nature? What makes the difference in the dog owner’s performance because that is what I need to do? I have to produce results with their dog NOW!
That is what I have been doing with cases day after day. I get the phone call when the owner says my dog is set to be put down tomorrow can you help, or my dog is barking obsessively and I’m about to be kicked out of my complex, or my dog has such extreme separation anxiety that I can’t go out on a date on the weekends and have been single for the last 2 years as a result, or my child has be bitten in the face by my dog, is he a man eater? So when I get there, I have to produce a result right there, right now or else nothing matters. I get the call of two dogs killing each other and their next encounter could be one of the dog’s last. In all my time of doing this work I have never failed to deliver results. To date and thank the universe, I still hold a 100% success rate in rehabilitating dog psychological behavioural problems. It doesn’t mean that I might not have it some day, but I have not failed yet and the reason is that I have an understanding of the dog’s needs and a meeting of them. These needs is what I train clients about, it’s what I share with humans in my talks.
When I am confronted with a case, I focus on how do I get a change out of the dog? I look at what can the dog do to contribute and do something beyond it’s current state? This resultant is divided into two things:
- The scientific resultant, of where I take the invisible and make it visible (with the human for the dog, seeing is believing) , telling the owner that a calm submissive state in the dog can be achieved, that the dog can be walked with just a finger or two on the lead and then making it happen. All at the same time by not hitting, kicking, screaming, shouting or yelling commands at the dog.
- The second thing is the recipe of fulfilment to help keep that dog in it’s calm submissive and balanced state for the rest of it’s life. The scientific part is easy, you look at the protocol or manual and follow step1, 2, 3 etc….and you get the result. Once you know the game, you just up the confidence. However, when it comes to fulfilment, that’s an art, it’s a discipline. The reason is that it’s about appreciation and contribution. You can only feel so much by yourself.
This last point is greatly illustrated to clients when I help them reflect on the differences in a dog’s life from that of one following a homeless person or that of a dog living in a mansion. The dog living in the mansion has received everything. The best organic beef or Woolies chicken, the most expensive toys, a dog house, a dog walker, a pool, all the resources: the vet, dog trainer or pet store say that you need for your dog. You gave them love, you gave them joy, you were there to comfort them and all those dogs are experiencing behavioural issues or going in and out of dog training classes, instructors, vets, shelters and then the worse case, to sleep. But then you see a dog following a homeless person. This dog may be skinny, it may have some ticks and fleas, it may have a scar here or there, it may have some bad teeth, but those are the dogs that are following a human that is living off the street, those are the dogs that do not have a lead on them, those are the dogs that are not barking obsessively, those are the dogs that are not chasing cars, or attacking other dogs or people, those are the dogs that are psychologically balanced. I then get the client’s to ask themselves, what is it that shapes those dogs into a balanced state?
Today’s human society has developed a therapy culture. The mindset that we live in the past, most humans believe that their biography is their destiny, that their past equals their future. Yes it does if you live it. But what humans know and what they know intellectually, because they can know something intellectually and not use it, what I remind clients is that their decision to react, their decision to maintain the discipline of balance with their dog is the ultimate power and force. So when client’s tell me that they tried to walk their dog or they tried to stop the dogs from fighting, that they have failed to achieve the desired result. I then ask them, why didn’t you achieve the result? When I asked them why they failed to achieve, they would answer, that they didn’t have the time, the money, the knowledge, the physical strength, the management. What all these points have in common, is a claim by the person to missing resources. These claims may be accurate, the owner may not have the time, the money, the physical strength …. but that is not the defining factor. The defining factor is not Resources, it’s Resourcefulness. This is demonstrated with clients and their dogs that by changing their emotion, by changing their state of being, they are able to see how they were able to overcome and change their dog’s behavioural issue, be it the couch or bed issues, the walk or taking a toy from their dog. That they were able to win their life back and be able to proudly say that they are no longer their dog’s “bitch”. But intellect and words are easier said than done. Humans can have emotions that will block their ability to achieve the desired success with their dog, therefore it becomes my job and the dog’s job to coach them into a different emotional state in order to achieve. So emotion and energy state is key. If the owner can achieve the right emotion and state, then they can achieve the desired outcome with their dog. Therefore with clients I have to be creative enough, playful enough, and when you have that, you can get through to anyone. So clients that don’t have enough money to buy a new treadmill for their dog, if they are creative and resourceful enough, they find a way. When your vet or dog trainer tells you that your dog is un-trainable or that you can’t have two females or two males under the same roof, that is a limit resource but the resourcefulness that I develop with clients is what overcomes that limiting resource. So, what attributes make up resourcefulness?
When it comes to rehabilitating your dog, your decision determines the destiny of your dog.
Step 1: You have to decide what you are going to focus on? Are you going to focus on fulfilling your dog’s psychological needs on a daily basis or are you going to hope that it will go away and just worry about feeding the dog and then wonder how it is possible that your dog developed these issues. Therefore, whatever you focus on must develop meaning, it must develop emotion, it is the emotion that is going to get you out of bed in the morning to take your dog for that walk/run/stroll/bike ride/rollerblade in order to attain balance for both. That decision that you make will affect your life, it will affect your set of beliefs, it will in the end affect your culture and the culture of those around you. So what is that shapes Me, that shapes the dog owner, two invisible forces:
The state and being of the person. Everyone has the capacity to change their energy and emotional state, be it from a “what a stupid mistake that was” to a “yes that was me walking my dog in dog training and he was amazing”. It was the owner’s ability, it was their state that changed. So in order to help them attain that state we break it down to what is your target? Do not confuse target with your desire and goal, anybody can have a desire or goal and say”nah….whatever”. Therefore it’s needs that humans have and that need is to transform the relationship that you have with your dog. The second thing after you know the target it is the understanding and resolving the belief systems associated with that target/needs. In order to help clients attain this need I provide them with the following in a session:
- Certainty – with certainty they get confidence to walk their dog without being pulled down the street.
- Uncertainty – if there was always total certainty, people reach a state of boredom and therefore the uncertainty creates variety and new opportunities to show your dog that you are it’s reliable calm assertive pack leader. Therefore, you and your dog need surprises and everybody likes surprises? Wrong, humans like the surprises that they want, the surprises that you don’t want you call problems or issues but you need them. The variety and uncertainty is important. Watching a movie that you have seen before is super boring.
- Significance – your dog will help you feel important, unique. I order to feel significant you require connection and love. Dogs are cool like this as you can leave for 5 min and come back and they are excited like you have been gone for 6 months when you get back.
- You must change, grow and transform – If you are not growing you are dying. The reason we grow as a human is because we have something to give of value.
- Contribute beyond yourself – the secret to living is about giving. Your dog gives you an opportunity to grow everyday, to spend and share time with yourself/your spouse/your kids or your family as you walk the dog together. When you see that calling in your dog to help you grow and transform, you will then start to grow and transform those around you.
- A game plan / map – you have to have a strategy and map that is going to lead you to the target that you have set for you and your dog.
So when is it that people really change? Mainly when they face death, the death of their dog being put down or the death of the relationship with their dog because it has to be given away or death of the dog being locked in the back yard and left to die because I fear for my kids or guests. This reality is a powerful leverage to helping people change.