The Commonsense Dog

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We’ve discussed the importance of balanced energy in training, but people may still be confused about why being mindful of energy is important, so let’s see if I can clarify.

Imagine that your home is a pool of water, and the ultimate goal with this pool of water is to keep it as clear as possible. No debris, no algae, no dirt, no coloring. Just crystal-clear water. When the water is clear, the house is calm and balanced.

Now, let’s say that one of your dogs goes crazy every time the ice cream truck passes the front window. He barks nonstop for 20 minutes and chases it from window to window. That dog’s energy is frantic, and he just released one drop of dye into your pool of water.

Because dye diffuses in water, that dye does not simply stay near the dog who added it to your pool, but instead it becomes part of the entire pool and touches everything in it.

Now the dog who was sleeping peacefully in the corner has been touched by the dye and starts to bark and chase as well. This dog adds its own drop of dye to the pool.

Once that drop diffuses, the dog in the backyard races through the dog door and joins the other two dogs. He drops his own drop of dye.

We now have a colored pool of water from three simple drops of dye. This coloring could take hours to clear up, and the longer it lingers, the more our dogs get accustomed to living in a pool of dye.

Our dog’s energy is not the only energy to be mindful of. Our energy also plays a major role in our pool clarity. If our dogs are chasing the ice cream truck from window to window, and we in turn start chasing our dogs from window to window in a frantic attempt to stop them, we add our own dye to the pool. We now have four drops in the pool, and with each new drop, the concentration gets stronger.

Eventually we get to a point where things spiral out of control. The dogs get into a fight, or we trip over the rug, or someone gets loose and runs down the street. And the whole process started with one drop of dye.

Frantic, anxious, fearful, and excited energy bleeds. If we allow one dog to act frantic, the others will soon follow. If we allow these behaviors to become a habit, then the energy in your home becomes much harder to restore to a calm and balanced state.

Don’t wait for the pool to become completely colored before you address the problem. As soon as the energy changes from balanced to unbalanced, take action and help your dog get back into a calm state.

Leaving a leash on your dogs (no loops and no knots that they can get caught on) while they are home is a great way to control the energy in your home. Never leave a leash on an unattended dog, but if you are home and supervising, you can use the leash to help give your dogs direction when they struggle, and hopefully avoid any drops of dye in your pool.

Happy training!

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