Are you ready to embrace the Siriusly SIMPLE System? Okay! Let’s do the prep work — not for your dog. For you.

To successfully use the Siriusly SIMPLE System, you must first commit to making these brain adjustments:

 – Dump your stories

 – Open your mind

 – Watch, listen and learn from your dog

 – Accept this is about CHOICE not FORCE

Hey, remember I said SIMPLE not easy! Here are some tips to accomplish each of these:

Dump your stories: Stories are the excuses we make for not giving our dogs the information they need to make a better choice. Stop making excuses! Every time, every single time your dog does something, and the words that come out of your mouth are along the lines of “Oh he’s just doing that because X,” immediately say, “Am I sure about that? How do I know that for sure? Could there be another explanation? What could that be?”

Open your mind: Admit that you -gasp- may not know everything there is to know about training a dog, and that possibly someone with more experience — say a progressive dog pro — might have some new information for you that could really help you out. That doesn’t involve things like yelling No or making up stories. Be willing to listen and try these new things.

Watch, listen and learn from your dog: I would bet my next paycheck (caught you! I’m retired) that you overlook and/or misinterpret about 90% of what your dog is trying to tell you. You think wagging tail always means happy dog. You think he looks “guilty” because he’s done something “bad.” You think when she is not reacting, that always means she is “fine.”

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Five cents, please.

Learn what you’re missing by picking up a dog body language sheet or book, or get my second book, I’ve Never Had a Dog Like This! and check out “Body Language Basics” and “The 5-minute Spy.”

Accept this is about CHOICE not FORCE: Which would make you happier, if I shoved you into a chair OR I asked you to sit on it? Duh, right? Force bad, choice good, yes?

Time to apply that same thinking to dogs. See, if dogs are intimidated (yep, that’s the right word for what you do when forcing) into sitting with snapping fingers, firm/harsh tones, and butt pushing, he is much less likely to want to do that again because the experience was NO GOOD FOR HIM. 

If however, he is played with, treats flying, and every time his butt contacts the floor a party erupts, he is going to be thrilled to do that thing again because IT STARTED A PARTY. And who doesn’t love a party?

If he chooses not to do that thing, one of two things is going on: 1) He doesn’t yet understand what started the party OR 2) the party wasn’t big enough, or enough to his liking. (Think dry kibble versus steak. Peas versus donuts. You get the idea.)

I hope that, as you read these points, you start thinking this advice sounds familiar, though not for training dogs. It sounds like something that you would apply or are applying to kids, or heck just about anyone you’re trying to communicate properly with, perhaps to teach something but absolutely to live harmoniously with. Common sense for people, right? 

Cool! You already know how to do this! Now you just have to apply it to dogs.

Next: Part Three — SIMPLE Teaching Sequence for Basic Skills