Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Natural Way Philosophy is Born

I've been wondering what's going to make my training system unique.  So far, I've just been parroting what I've heard.  The only improvement I can offer is that I am sometimes able to use my above-average communication skills to convey something better than it was originally.

What have I come up with?  A Native American influence.  I'm calling it The Natural Way Philosophy.  Some may say I'm going to sound sort of nutty... but that's OK.  I finally found like I've found something that is unique, useful, and makes sense. I've finally found myself as a dog trainer.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.
"A fight is going on inside me." he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil -- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good -- he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
This same fight is going on inside you --
and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then

asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
~Native American Proverb

Every time I read an American Indian proverb [or quote] like that, it shoots right through me, straight to my heart.  I am left pondering all the different metaphors the story or quote contains, coming up with so much wisdom, I get this rush of exhilaration.  Usually, these inspirational words of wisdom are very short, sweet, and to the point.  I want to incorporate such brilliance into my training method.

I have begun to focus on a combination of what many would consider relationship-based training with progressive-reinforcement and clicker training.  However, I have a whole new attitude.  I would never have achieved this blissful state of awareness had I not endeavored to incorporate the Native American-isms into my training style.

Dolce feels it.  I can tell.  For example:  We went for a 5.6 mile walk this afternoon.  At every single stop light where we had to wait for the crosswalk signal, I asked him to sit.  He sat as soon as he heard me over the traffic noise, and I pet him.  I verbally praised him.  I gave him his favorite neck scritches.  You know what he did?  He gave me a big smile as if to say, "Yeah, Mom.  This is how it's supposed to work."  Did he ever have an auto-sit at the crosswalk today?  Nope.  Did I mind?  Nope.  He did what I asked, and I was pleased.  He was pleased that I was pleased.  This is how training should work.

I've completely revamped my Granted Wishes K9 website to reflect this change discovery I've made.  I feel very proud of it.  The day after I made the changes, I got a new client.  These changes affect so much more than just my dog training.  It's helping my life.


  1. Like the way the American Indians viewed the way we live with our enviroment and each other. Something I think the Western way has forgotten or never learned.

    Any way I could convince you to come up north to the Fall Greyhound Specialty(Greyhound Club of Northern California) in October in Pleasanton? I would like to meet you.


    1. Helen, as tempted and honored as I am by your invite, now really is not a good time... I'm starting a new job at a private school, my eldest greyhound's health is failing, and I really can't afford any additional travel right now. I'm assuming this sort of thing is repeated, and perhaps I could attend next year? I am a huge admirer of yours, and would love the chance to meet you, too, when the circumstances are right.

      And I agree, the Western way could definitely learn a thing or two from American Indian philosophies.

  2. Yes the specialty is every fall in October.

    It is a great show with lots going on. I am trying to push the club to have a rescue parade where people could show off their rescue dog and the announcer tell the dogs story. Then owner and dog would get a special ribbon.
    However it takes a while to push through new ideas.

    I understand about the new job/finance thing- affects us all.

    But when you have time would love to have you be part of the greyhound world here. We have members from as far away as San Diego/LA/Seattle Wash etc.
    It is mostly show and obedience but I would like to find a place for the rescue dogs as well.