Questions for a Dog Trainer

My quest is to collect and share practices that promote equanimity, compassion, and awareness in ourselves as well as to collect stories of how our dogs have contributed to or required of us our growth in these areas.

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  1. What inspired you to want to train dogs? How long have you been training? How did you get started?
  2. Do you have any practices you are willing to share for promoting peace in your training work and daily life with dogs?
  3. Do you have any stories of extraordinary dogs?
  4. Do you have any stories of extraordinary lessons in peace – equanimity, compassion, or awareness?
  5. Are there still times in which the everyday stresses of life get in the way of peace and calm presence in your work with dogs? If so, what do you do at these times?
  6. What gets on your nerves most? How do you deal with it?
  7. In training, we speak of a threshold for reactivity or fear, below which we want to work with our dogs and above which our dogs have little capacity for learning. Above their thresholds dogs’ brains are a flood of chemicals and instincts that hijack control. When we get angry or upset, a similar process takes hold in our brains, how can we ensure we are working below our own thresholds for anger or overwhelm? What can we do to calm ourselves down when we cross it?
  8. What can we do to raise our thresholds?
  9. Can you think back to a time when you first started training, was your threshold for overwhelm, anxiety, or anger lower or higher? (with people and/or dogs)
  10. In what ways does the calm presence of dog training inform other areas of your life?