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The cars of the future are getting ever closer to becoming reality (this will get to dogs, do don’t worry). Cars can now park themselves with the push of a button. We have cars that will maintain a speed even if we get closer to the bumper of another vehicle. We have cars that will tell us when someone is in our blindspot so we no longer have to physically turn our heads to look. We even having something called accident prevention where a car will slam on our breaks FOR US to avoid a collision—can’t see that going wrong. Really, the only thing that’s left is for us to get into a car and say our destination and have it drive us there, which every day Google gets ever closer to making a reality. By the way, we’ve had this technology for a century or so now… it’s called a cab.
But, what happens when it all breaks down?
These days, a stick shift car is an anti-theft device. The amount of people that can actually drive a manual transsmition vehicle is getting staggeringly low and even top car manufacturers are slowly phasing out the production of the stick.
So on the day where we have a malfunction in our computer systems, what happens? When our radar cruse control fails and we rear-end the car in front of us on the highway or worse yet, when we have to park our own vehicles. Parallel parking is like a magic trick now if you can do it without computer assistance.
We are creating a generation of complacent drivers who need to devote less and less mindfulness to the act of driving because some computer system is trusted to make sure we don’t make stupid mistakes. All of a sudden those luxuries won’t be afforded to us anymore and one day all the central systems will go down for 20 minutes… and all hell will break loose on the road
This eBook is short, cheap and action packed with great information and useful techniques to help you achieve calmness with your dog. Small adjustments to how you do every day activities such as walking, playing and even talking can make the big difference between adrenalized and calm. Enter your email below for your FREE preview.
Are You In Accident Prevention Mode With Your Dog?
With all of these increases in technology in our cars making it less and less necessary for us to focus on something that should require conscious thought, I can’t help but see the leash the same way. Our dogs are being handled in such a way that they think “wow, this thing is great, I don’t have to pay attention to my human at all and it makes sure I don’t get into trouble. If they don’t like something, they can just stop me or hold me back but if I really want it, I can just overpower it”. Tell me that doesn’t sound exactly like radar cruise control.
Over reliance on the leash as a management tool is letting your dog know there is absolutely no reason to pay attention to you. This over reliance is caused by never releasing leash pressure so your dog is not required to pay attention to his movements or what is going on around him. He is not accountable for his actions because his accident prevention system will make sure he doesn’t get into hot water
a great example of this is when your dog really wants to sniff something while you’re standing still. He’ll start pulling like crazy to get to the thing he wants to smell and the vast majority of humans let the tight leash move them—certainly not out of necessity to move based on some of the dogs I’ve seen do this—to whatever their dog wants to sniff. As one of my mentors Chad Mackin says, your dog is learning that pressure is the gas pedal rather than a break pedal.
Try this the next time you’re out with your dog. Stand still on a grassy patch and let your dog pull into the leash, but this time instead of letting him pull you to the thing he really wants to smell, anchor yourself down and refuse to be moved. Then, when your dog relaxes and gives to your pressure a little bit, you’re going to take the rest off by moving your hands toward your dog in a dramatic release in pressure. Be ready though, because at first, he won’t see the release as anything other than a change to get to the thing again. However, within a few seconds and reps of releasing pressure, you’ll notice that your dog isn’t paying a ton of attention to the thing that he was almost ready to pull you down over.
Horse Trainer Buck Brannaman on “the release”
By releasing pressure, it puts some accountability back on the dog. Certainly not a lot, but some. We can do the same thing by learning how to move our dogs around with leash pressure. By releasing pressure when the dog is moving in the direction that we want and by applying it when he’s not, the dog learns to think through the pressure and figure out how to manipulate it—what makes it come on, what makes it go away. I do this with clients through the application of leash handling drills such as the ones below
An Example of Leash Handling Drills
We are creating a generation of complacent dogs because we’re giving them no reason to pay attention to us. The above applications might be to complex; so here is the dirt simple test you can do with your dog to ALLOW him to show you how smart he is. Put him on a six-foot slip lead, grab the loop at the end ONLY (no removing slack—give him or her the WHOLE LEASH), anchor that end to your stomach and start walking. When the get out in front of you, make a sudden turn in the other direction and let them feel the end of the line. Do that a few times. What you’ll see is by the 3rd or 4th turn, your dog is right beside you and paying attention to you. Why? Because the economics have changed. You’re no longer feeding them useless information and instead giving them accountability on the leash. You’ll see how smart your dog is because he’ll quickly see that if he pays attention to you, that doesn’t happen anymore. No big deal, right? The circumstances just weren’t there before now to convince him that it was necessary.
Technology is a wonderful thing, but just like anything else in life—to much of a good thing is no good. Will I ever buy a car that has all the gadgets that I mentioned? Maybe. There’s a strong possibility that I’ll always have a family vehicle, and that one is going to be the one with all the bells and whistles. But when I really want the experience of driving—my ’67 Shelby Mustang will be the car I go to… well, when I can afford it. In short, let your dog drive the Mustang and learn the essentials… then give him the bells and whistles if you wish.
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