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Dog Trainers are Jedi Masters

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Anyone who has ever seen the movie Star Wars has seen one of the cooler aspects of using the force and that is the Jedi mind tricks. All the Jedi have to do is wave their hand and suddenly they get their way and the unknowing person does it as if it was their own idea. Pretty cool, huh? Even though Jedi carry lightsabers that can slice someone in half, you never see them pull out the weapons and hold it in a threatening way to these people to get their will and bidding. No, instead they use their Jedi mind tricks. Now, you may see a Sith Lord (a.k.a. bad guys) use those tactics, electrocution, choking, physical pain (not unlike some "trainers" out there, but we won't get into that), but that is not the way of the Jedi.

So, how are dog trainers like Jedi, you may ask? Believe it or not, without the use of the force, you can use similar Jedi mind tricks on your dog without the use of intimidation, threats or pain to get your dog to do what you want, and the dog will act as if it was their idea and their choice. One game I love to teach people to play with their dogs involves impulse control. The first game of this is holding out a handful of yummy treats in front of your dog and the dog on its own has to look away from these yummy treats. The crazier part for people to fathom is that we don't tell the dog to do anything; the dog chooses on its own to ignore its own desires. Pretty cool, right? No, we don't teach this by waving our hand in front of the dog and saying "you don't want these treats". Instead, we do the other Jedi mind trick silently. We teach the dog that in order to get what it wants, it has to withhold from temptation and act like it doesn't want that desire anymore, and maybe the dog will get what it wanted all along if it does that. Yeah, that is definitely an abstract concept to teach animals with supposedly a "weaker mind". But guess what, dogs learn it all the time and they enjoy these Jedi mind trick games. What's even cooler is when you apply this simple impulse control game to other areas that dogs tend to have issues in. And again, we don't wave our hand and say "No, you don't want this burger that fell off the grill. No, you don't want to go see that dog. No, you don't want to jump up on Aunt Lynn." You Jedi mind trick them by teaching them to control their urges and desires and maybe they will get rewarded with that desire, sometimes they won't. For example, you may not reward the dog for not pulling to other dogs, by then getting to say "hello" to every dog thereafter. But you may use play sessions or treats as a reward. And the dog will still think it was his/her own idea, which is a successful Jedi mind trick.

The other way you Jedi mind trick is by controlling the motivations for dogs and using them at appropriate times. One concept is the Premack Principle, also known affectionately as Gramma's Law: if you eat your veggies, you can have dessert. So if your dog is not recalling to you because they want to play with all their dog friends, you use Premack to help you Jedi mind trick. You start by having the dog recall to you from very short distances with a leash dangling off in case they decide to bolt with their buddies around, don't let them play yet though, and after a few repetitions, then you let them go out to play. They had to do their recalls in order to earn the reward of playing with friends. We Jedi mind tricked the dogs that coming to us is really their idea and doing that is what gets them to play with their friends. Motivation is the key to getting a dog that chooses to work with you and when you hold the right motivation, whether it be a treat, toy, yourself, or the opportunity for fun elsewhere, you can get the dog to do what you want and the dog will think it was his/her idea. Again, pretty cool.

So, how do you learn this power? Work with a certified positive-reinforcement or science-based dog trainer. Someone who stays updated on current methods of dog training does not need to use pain or intimidation to convince dogs to listen. They can rely on their big, powerful brains to Jedi mind trick the dogs to doing what you want. That being said, this is not "dog whispering" and anyone calling themselves a "dog whisperer" is out of the question; definitely not a Jedi. Don't train under a Sith either. If they rely on choke collars, prong collars, or shock collars, they rely on pain, fear, and intimidation to try to get their way. If you want to look like Palpatine (all crazy and disfigured with a hint of evil), go ahead, but definitely not advised. If you have already started learning techniques from the dark side, don't worry, the light side would love to take you in and teach you the real ways of the Dog Jedi. It definitely is a transition when you cross-over, but if you go all-in and really learn the how and why of dog training, you can get the Jedi mind trick effect with your dog too and your dog will enjoy this way of learning much better. So, come on my young Padawans, it is time to learn the way of the Dog Trainer Jedi!

#animalbonding #ethology #dogtrainers #relationships

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