The Connection Summit
Prioritizing the human-canine relationship for successful behavior change
The human-canine bond
You love your dog, and truly, she loves you. Your relationship is important, and it can be strained when behavior issues present themselves. You’re not alone if you’ve ever felt frustrated, embarrassed, isolated, or worried that the issues with your beloved dog might not resolve. That’s why you might place pressure on yourself to “fix” your best friend or punish out her behavior. This framework can place additional strain on the human-canine bond, so we want to offer another point of view.
- "Fixing the dog" to getting curious about why the behavior is taking place.
- Blaming ourselves for our dog's behavior to noticing how the environment also plays a role.
- Getting embarrassed and going down a shame spiral when our dog makes a "bad" choice to extending grace and kindness to both of you.
- Framing the challenges with our dogs as a burden to framing it as an opportunity for awareness, relationship development, and personal growth.
Let's start a paradigm shift!
In our 3-part LIVE webinar series, Sarah Stremming of Cognitive Canine and Marissa Martino of Paws & Reward share what they have learned from the experiences with their own dogs and their work with clients. They share how our behavior and emotional state can have a positive or negative impact on our dog’s behavior and relationship, and what to do about it. When we practice observing, accepting, and shifting our own behavioral patterns with our dogs, all of our relationships have the possibility of including more connection.
- Week #1: Shifting our mindset and focusing on the relationship
- Week #2: Sarah's Four Steps to Behavioral Wellness
- Week #3: Marissa's Six Relationship-building Principles
Marissa’s approach catalyzed a paradigm shift, challenging me to reconsider what it means to have a relationship with my dog. In talking with other pet parents, it seems like people think training is imparting a set of rules that the dog follows in order to make life easier for the pet parents. I used to think of my dog purely in the service of my own needs, which meant that when he misbehaved he was thwarting me, instead of recognizing him as his own being with his own needs and desires separate from mine. This mindset shift really helped me to view the relationship more as a dance and less as a dictatorship.
- Noelle & Finn
In working with Sarah, I have learned principles of sound behavioral science and worked to master clean training mechanics. I have learned that meeting my dog’s needs is the first step to solving any behavioral challenge. Sarah is very professionally skilled in all of these areas, but where I believe she stands apart from other trainers is her ability to empathize with the human side of the “problem.” For me, information and skill were never going to be enough. I needed a trainer that could help me become the person my dog needed me to be so that our relationship could heal. Sarah helped me take one step at a time, never overwhelming me with more than I could face, and ingeniously giving me little projects to peel away the layers of frustration, anger, and guilt. Even though we were working remotely, she was incredibly intuitive about asking questions and conveying words of wisdom to keep us heading in the right direction. Slowly, Eva and I began to trust each other and one day I realized we had turned a corner and would make it together. I still sometimes wonder what I got myself into with this dog, but I now enjoy a wonderful relationship with her and look forward to the journey we are on together. I am embracing the ways I am learning to stretch and grow because of her. I know we wouldn’t be where we are today without Sarah’s guidance.
- Tara & Eva