Five things that dog training taught me about weight loss…
- Dog training is not about the dog. It is about the human. Dogs don’t need to be trained, we humans do! As we worked with our great dog trainer, we practiced, practiced, practiced. We bought special supplies, made sure we had the right equipment on hand, and did our assigned homework. Every day. It was the most important thing in our life, since we were interested in supporting our dog’s change process. Dogs learn well – so do humans. We can absolutely lose weight if we make sure we have the right equipment on hand, do our homework assigned by our human weight loss “trainer” (contact me for a quote), buy special supplies of food, and practice, practice practice. Losing weight is learned behavior. We absolutely can be trained!
- Dog training works best if you don’t use food as a reward. Dogs can learn things in the short term with treats; long term we create food motivated monsters! Never use food as a reward. For us, that is obvious. Think of all the times we say, “I had a hard day, I deserve a treat.” Hmmmm. Sounds like we are creating a monster? Anyone know this one?
- Dog training is about practice, practice, practice. Learning new skills requires repetition. We are animals, just like dogs. We require repetition in order to learn new skills. Want to lose weight? Give yourself every opportunity to practice your new skills. For example, our dog trainer had us do two sessions every day, twenty minutes each, for each dog. That was four twenty minute sessions every day for two months. WHEW! After two months, what did we get? Perfect dogs! Was it the trainer, the training, or the dog? Or the combination? It was amazing to get such great results. Want to lose weight? How about two sessions a day, 20 minutes every day of practice? Making new, fresh, healthy food. Shopping for food. Researching recipes. Healthful restaurants. Walking. Practice, practice, practice!
- Dog training is about calm, assertive energy. There is no room in dog training for fear, violence, or aggression. This just produces fearful or aggressive dogs. Calm and assertive energy creates respect and adoration. After two months, our dogs (who were pretty good to begin with) ADORE US. They listen, they are well behaved, and do great on leash (most of the time!) Losing weight is also about calm, assertive energy. Calmness and mindfulness inspire regulated blood sugar, and promote digestion and ease. Assertion is necessary when confronted with those people, places and things that sabotage our progress. Be a food whisperer!!
- Dog training is about forgiveness.
Forget about all the things that your dog did wrong. It doesn’t matter, since every walk, every training activity, every day with your dog is a new one. Does your dog chase bunnies? Forget it, forgive your dog, and move on. Don’t flinch every time you see a bunny! Just use your calm, assertive energy and move forward. Losing weight is about forgiveness, too. Sustainable weight loss takes time, patience and practice. We will succeed only if we can find the capacity to forgive ourselves for each slip, lapse of judgment, or any time we turn toward food and away from ourselves. Be dog like. Forgive, learn, and move on.
Need a weight whisperer to help you on your journey? Contact me. With nearly 30 years experience helping people of all ages lose weight and improve health, I know what works. I can’t wait to hear from you!