I ask everyone when they are training their dogs to ask this simple question “What is in your control and what is outside of your control?” Focus on what you can control.
In Conscious Living by Gay Hendricks, Gay states ” The secret of happiness is knowing that there are some things you can control and some things you cannot.” He also speaks from personal experience “…Rather than wishing I felt some other way, rather than wanting my whole life to be different. I could let go of my control and accept it as it was. As I dropped my resistance. I felt a rush of energy course through me. What probably happened was that all the misery turned to light and energy, just with my turning my mental nozzle from ‘Resist’ to ‘Accept.’ My inner feeling turned to pure ecstasy-wave after wave of it-and it lasted for three days!”
As I read this last night, I began to realize the universe is entirely connected. Every concept applies to dog training. I let go of the uncontrollable…” Seik, my dog, runs off in the mountains and doesn’t stay by me anymore.” I then focused on what I can control. I can train him more on his recall and I can choose what I use as a reward.
So I took off and made my way to Herman Franks dog park (a fenced dog park across from Liberty Park). I went there late at night around 7PM so that the park would be practically empty. At first he just ran off and ignored me. I ignored this (something outside of my control). When he finally decided to voluntarily come to me (check-in) I treated him heavily with peanut butter and then I released him. Over a matter of few minutes he barely wanted to leave me. He would ran off and then come back. I was even able to switch his treats back to his kibble (his dinner). He even came 100% of the time when I called him!
This morning we enjoyed a beautiful hike in the mountains. Since I cannot control if he runs off, of course I hiked with him on leash. Hiking on leash is in my control. I even brought a long line and we began and ended the hike with Seiki walking on his long line.
On the long line, I rewarded his check-ins heavily and eventually he was having so much fun being around me that he barely left. We worked on his recall as well and he came 100% of the time. He needed some prompts of encouragement a few times (a smell distraction). Practice is the key here
As I focus on what I can control with Seiki eventually he will be off leash in the mountains with excellent check-ins and a great recall!
Four Legged Scholars, Johanna Teresi