What is Mindfulness, and What Does it Have to do With My Dog?
Deborah Hughes, founder of Mindful Dog Training has been a dog and horse person from early on. She realized that she was comfortable and happy when in their presence, and that working with them was rewarding.
Many years later, she had a Scottish Deerhound named Chance she wanted to do Competition Obedience with. Chance fought her every step of the way, and finally the trainer deemed him "dominant", and told her to use a prong collar on him. So she did. It caused him a good deal of pain, and while Chance would follow through on commands, he did so with no joy - only to escape a big pinch to the neck. Eventually, she gave up on competing with him, tossed the prong collar, and decided to find a better way. She worked as a veterinary technician for many years, and also worked in shelters. She attended workshops with many trainers, and began to develop Mindful Training.
Mindful Training is about being in the present moment.While dogs are always in that moment, we humans tend to get stuck in the past, or caught up in future plans. Your dog can sense when you're not connected, and that makes training become an exercise in who's in charge, not a mutual exercise in learning new skills. In Mindful Training, you learn to become aware of your dog's body language, style of communication, and what its' motivators are. You, on the other hand, are in the present, focused and relaxed - and you and your dog will often leave a training session feeling energized and positive.