Even though I am use to being the last call from dog owners and use to working with the "toughest cases," I am getting called in sooner and sooner lately. Over the past few months I have even gotten to work with humans who are looking to get their first dog or who want to add another dog into their family. I go over what they want as far as energy level, look and age of dog and what fits in their home and lifestyle best. I have recently had a few boarders and fosters in my home straight from the shelter and/or rescue that were candidates and the potential adopters came and just walked the dog a few times a week, the right way from the beginning.
Most importantly they bonded on an instinctual level with trust and understanding as oppose to an emotional or empathetic level of feeling sorry for. I even allowed a car ride with the dog and human if the stars aligned that day. Then I take the dog to clients home, here and there, to have the human walk dog over there with me at first, then I stay back so it is just them, then I leave with the dog, so the dog will connect everything themselves in a positive manner, so any upcoming changes will just flow into their routine. Taking the time and breaking 3 steps into 9+ steps for the dogs, and humans, to adjust and trust to make sure it is all an amazing fit so the seed planted in the beginning is the strongest and the roots are most set in place in the right way and the dog realizes there is no difference with what they learned with me and what they are going to continue to practice to grow away from me.
There has been a few moments when I realized these owners are going to have such amazing dogs and a balanced home from the beginning, that I almost felt a hint of jealousy. Mainly because I had no one and there was no real resources available when I first got dogs, and learning the hard way was the normal. But everything happens for a reason and I am doing what I am doing because of my experiences and seeing the incredible lack of clarity in the world. It is also not about me, it is about what I can personally provide to others so the "normal" in the world can grow and grow in a positive direction and then they can become ambassadors for whatever breed of dog they have and lifestyle they live.
Dog Trainers: You are doing great things, you are building relationships that dog owners need in a positive manner, power and respect to you.
There is far too much daily arguments and miscommunication in dog related posts from breeding, rescuing, training, differences in breeds, etc. So much of the time it either starts or ends with emotion and the whole, “There is no one way that works for everyone.” Fact of the matter, there absolutely is, “One way that works for everyone." It may look different and be applied different for some, it may need to be fine tuned a little here and there by raising or lowering certain things, but the answer is balance.
There has been a huge shift in the dog world in the attempt to create better dog owners the past few years. Obedience and training has evolved and is moving in a forward direction, which is great.
I am seeing more and more people using the term balanced training. I have recently mentored one person as such after I noticed they were reusing my words incorrectly on social media solely because they did not have a full understanding. Balance is not something that can be trained. In reality, the labeled term of balanced training is just obedience with less humanizing of the dog, which is fine, but the label could be misleading to most.
Balance is created, it is learned and practiced with awareness to then be maintained. Dog psychology and creating balance in others has actually very little to do with dogs.
I get asked all the time, "What is your method and technique?" Once I hear that, I first get the person asking to eventually ask me what they really want to know, which is the first step in communication, which is what I teach, not train. They understandably ask because of previous experiences, but I am not going to dive into human psychology in this post.
I will give everyone this free sample: YOU are the method. How YOU do what YOU do and why YOU do it IS the method. I do not push my own agenda on anyone mainly because I do not care what you do because it is none of my business and I do not force anything on anyone. If one wants to be the best at what they do, I can certainly get them there, once they tell me what it is they do want. No one can force a square peg into a round hole, but we can smooth off the edges until the perception of all is on the same page.
As far as techniques go, I have the responsibility to first make sure someone is technical before giving them the techniques and the how to accomplish things. Since the words we use become the actions we choose, I cannot give someone the know how until their foundation is solid. I do not teach people or dogs impulse control, I teach them which impulse is positive and desired. I do not teach anyone or dog recall, I provide the environment in which they learn, and if they fall off track, I help them back on track. I do not redirect people or dogs, I provide them with what they need to learn. I do not desensitize, I make others realize they are understood, safe and protected.
For anyone ready to reach the next level, contact me via the MENTORSHIP portion of TaoOfBalace.com or email me at BenDunham@TaoOfBalance.com
I'm sharing this with the intention of awareness and to use this as an opportunity to provide others in similar situation with the peace, education and strength. After visiting three separate specialists with Boss and having a wide range of tests and X-rays, it is confirmed that he has a mass cell tumor in his chest and two little ones on stomach and leg. Surgery to remove them is first choice along with exploring more holistic ways with my hemopet, that also saved Molly's life, and will do everything I can to create a few more comfortable years so Boss and I can influence more packs, help more dogs and owners and visit more places to continue to make positive differences.
The news did hit me hard and having to "life coach" myself over and over again has taught me a lot. Crying is not going to help him and going to a dark place will not help him. I also understand dogs do not need the two parent dynamic, but feeling guilty for never having a strong balanced female presence, for more than a couple months, in Boss' life will not help either. Boss is the seed of a positive root that has already effected 100,000s of people in a positive manner, soon to be in the millions. He represents the acceptance, patience, forgiveness, love and the ultimate live in the moment that I preach about. His legacy of what is possible, especially in the breed stereotype and the rescue dog aspect, will live on with dogs and their owners for a very long time. Many dogs have turned their lives around after learning from Boss’ example. Even with people who were afraid of his look or size at first, or who have never met a pit bull before, then to discover the calm and balance that comes with Boss' lead is always a great moment that I want to spread more and more.
This happening at a time where I am donating much time and resources to others in need has lead me to temporarily reach out for help. My vets have cut me some deals but the long-term holistic plan, for right now, is more than I can afford right now. My goal of paying it forward as soon as the situation shifts will take place.