There is a lot of talk these days about dog training. So, what is training? Here’s a part of my personal story, and I’ll show you how this relates to your dog.
A few years back, my feet started hurting. It got to the point that by the end of 2015, I was having trouble walking. My hands hurt, ankles hurt, hips hurt, wrists hurt… and my feet hurt. I knew something was wrong, beyond the normal pain I would get from miles and miles of wilderness hiking. I wasn’t recovering any more. I started having trouble working, as well. I would go to appointments and try to sit as much as possible. I did the work even though I was in serious pain.
So, I went to a podiatrist. I had always been healthy, not going to a doctor since I was a teenager, it was a new experience with the health care world. After an exam and x-rays, he said my second metatarsals in both feet were riddled with microfractures. Rented a bone stimulator, like a tens unit, which healed the bones, but the pain didn’t go away. I then went to my doctor, and the blood work revealed I had developed rheumatoid arthritis. Probably triggered from the stress of my failed marriage, according to my doctor. Had my 5 minute pity party as I drove away… I knew I couldn’t dwell on what I had just found out and go on. Prayed about it, asked others to pray about it, as well. That didn’t mean I wasn’t scared. I had read what might happen after that appointment, and for the first time in my life, I would wake up in the middle of the night in fear. Not fun.
I’m not a quitter, so I got to work. I started reading everything I could find. I began specific physical therapy 3 times a week at Evo Ultrafit (thank you, Jay Schroeder), began to take prescription drugs, and supplements. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I started going into the gym to do an extremely hard workout. A proper hard workout tells your body, “hey, you need to fix yourself.” Every morning, and before bed, I started taking a medley of anti-inflammatory supplements. I watched what I ate. I watched how much sleep I got. I worked out at home on most of my off days. I worked to have a positive mental attitude. I’ve become regimented. I don’t want to end up in a wheel chair.
I could only work half days that first year. Tired, stressed, in pain. I tried hiking, but it hurt too much. I had a hard time sleeping, tossing and turning in pain. I developed an irregular heart beat. I developed eczema. My blood pressure was through the roof. I had to work through all of that. I had to start to TRAIN through all of that. I had to use what I knew about training and stress reduction in dogs and apply it to myself.
I was in less pain, but still had trouble walking the second year. My doctor told me he didn’t want me hiking. I haven’t hiked in a year. I’m on a minimal drug plan, at my request. The doctor says I’m one of his most compliant patients, so I do all I’m supposed to do: diet, exercise, drugs, supplements, rest, etc.
I’m now into almost my third year. I’ve driven the blood factors down low. At my last appointment, my rheumatologist said I might be in remission… either because I’m “lucky”, or because I’m “doing a really good job” of taking care of myself. I think it is the latter. Remission is quite rare. We might start weaning off the drug later this year if the blood work keeps coming back as normal. Yet, my feet still hurt, possibly because of earlier damage. I’m still working on that daily.
Thus, I have been in training to make myself well for 3 years. Daily, hourly. Disciplined. Focused. Working.
So, what does this have to do with dog training? Plenty. If you set a goal, that you want your dog trained, then you either get in there and do it, with full commitment, or you will never have the kind of trained dog that you said you wanted. It takes time, effort, a plan, a goal, and so forth. You have to teach skills, and you have to minimize stress and fear.
I know how to train, so I do it to myself every day. I show my students how to train, because a lot of people need a coach along the way. I have my coaches… friends, prayer warriors in my family, doctors, physical therapist, and so on. It is a team effort either way. So, when you think of training, it isn’t some pet store class. It is training. All in, full effort, and then you’ll see amazing results out of yourself and your dog. I’ll be right there alongside you to help you get there.