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  • John Whittaker

Dog Training by NDT: Foundational Freedom

There are few things more important than a solid foundation!

Freedom as a Foundation

Foundational freedom is a dog fully expressing their personality and seeing that expression in everything they do. In Naked Dog Training nothing happens without this freedom as a foundation.

The best way to understand foundational freedom is to look at dogs who exemplify freedom. Often dogs with high energy, and no control, are VERY free spirited. They live freedom, but it’s not useful. Their freedom without restraint typically wreaks havoc, often to the point of being rehomed unless changes are made. Most dog training centers which offer any degree of functional results will replace this free spirit with control. All-encompassing control, all of the time. Control, at the expense of freedom. We want that free-spirit (fully expressing their personality) but with impeccable manners and complete off-leash control.

Naked Dog Training: Getting Started

At Naked Dog Training we start with some fundamental manners: walk on a slack leash, change direction on command as well as only jump on command. These three simple boundaries can take an exuberant free-spirited dog and turn their world upside down. In their mind we’ve restricted their choice in movement. This is like restricting cell phone use of a teenager! Their world is over as they know it. Of course, it’s not really over, it only seems that way. In the case of dogs they need to learn they can choose to walk on our left side, right side, in front of us or behind just as long as the leash is slack. They still have choice of where they can move, just with some limitations. This is where their personality can return. Once we see a dog moving around us freely while fully expressing their personality, we know they’re ready to start learning formal exercises.

Bringing Freedom into Obedience

We then want to see a dog take this spirit of freedom (naturally expressing their personality) into everything they do. This means a dog expressing their personality and free spirit whether instructed to sit, down, stay, heel or come. This freedom must remain a part of everything they do. This is especially a challenge with dogs who naturally have lower energy levels and quieter personalities. Nevertheless, we bring out whatever personality a dog has within them.

Remember freedom is only the foundation. They bring freedom into every command and we then add pleasure. Tremendous pleasure. We do so in the form of food, tugs and what we call “love fests”. We want each exercise to be as exciting and pleasurable as possible.

Freedom: Our art Form

Control is easily achieved, and in record time, if we are willing to achieve it at the expense of a dog’s personality. Control with a free spirit takes time, often a lot of extra effort and a deep belief in the importance of dog’s fully expressing themselves. This is where for us dog training becomes an art form.

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