Curb the Chaos

During these unprecedented times in our lives, we are faced with unimaginable challenges, to no fault of our own. To overcome these challenges, we must dig deep and find the strength and courage to move forward.

Humans are social creatures, so “social” or “physical” distancing is difficult and feels abnormal. However, physical distancing is necessary as we fight this highly contagious coronavirus. As we take necessary precautions and physically distance from each other, we should not lose connection with each other. And we should not lose connection with ourselves.

To stay connected with others, we are encouraged to use technology. (If they could, our social doggy friends would definitely use technology to bark with their buddies.) To stay connected with ourselves, we are reminded to focus on our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. We need to remain strong and stick together, even though we cannot touch each other.

We had the great fortune to hear Dr. Sue Varna, CBT Psychiatry, speak about mental health during times of crisis. Below is a link to Dr. Varna’s explanation of the “4-Ms” in mental health: mindfulness, movement, mastery and meaningful engagement.

MSNBC – Dr Sue Varna

In the spirit of the 4-Ms of mental health, we will focus on calming the chaos in our lives during these uncertain times. Our goal is to provide feel-good stories through all types of online resources, all of which can be shared with your loved ones, especially your pups.

We have so much at our fingertips. And while our fingertips are prohibited from touching others, all-hands-on dog petting and loving are highly encouraged. If you have the great fortune to have a beloved pup, you are blessed to have your very own mental health therapy dog right at your fingertips. And if you don’t, now might be the best time to adopt. Dogs save lives.

~ For the Love of Dogs ~

Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper, author and certified professional dog trainer with Lucky Dog Training Asheville. Please follow us on Instagram @TrainingLuckyDogs and @KyloRenPup. Please contact us for more information at TrainingLuckyDogs@gmail.com or call us at 828-423-9635.

Insight in 2020

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2020. The start of a new year is a time for reflections and resolutions. Why? Many want to make a fresh start and possibly change for the better, in some way or other. They want to improve themselves, often times seeking good health and happiness. BTW, we highly encourage including your pup in the quest for better health and happiness (see Source of Motivation below).

Hindsight is 20/20

New year resolutions often fail, which is curious. The human species is ego-centric in nature, so this should be an easy task. However, resolutions are not easy to keep. In fact, most fail at or even totally forget their resolutions. Why? The small, baby steps needed to successfully achieve a specific goal are often not part of the plan. A successful strategy is always based on taking small, baby steps.

Hindsight Foresight Insight

Successful achievement of goals requires a combination of hindsight, foresight and insight. Success is achieved when we learn from the past (Hindsight) to plan for the future (Foresight) and develop the right strategies to take appropriate action now (Insight). We live in the present – the Now. Insight is our ability to connect our past lessons to our future dreams and develop the best plan of action – a strategy for success.

Hindsight – Lessons from the Past

Hindsight is the ability to understand something only after it has occurred. You know the old adage – Hindsight is 20/20. It allows us to not only recognize past mistakes, but also learn from these mistakes. Hindsight is the ability to recognize and learn from past mistakes. Remember, mistakes are not failures; they are opportunities for growth. Recognizing and learning from mistakes allows for better decision-making strategies in the future.

Foresight – Plans for the Future

Foresight is the ability to correctly predict what will happen in the future. Foresight allows for developing plans of action needed to achieve certain goals. Hindsight allows for recognizing and understanding obstacles. It also allows for plans to overcome any future obstacles to success.

Insight – Actions in the Present

Insight is the ability to recognize and understand all the small steps needed to achieve a big goal. It allows us to piece everything together (past failures and triumphs) to successfully achieve a desired goal. Insight recognizes the small, baby steps that are the foundation to a viable plan of action.

Plan of Action – Baby Steps

Do you want to be a happier, healthier you in 2020? Do you want shed extra pounds? Build strength? Increase your cardio endurance? If so, start with little baby steps to get started and stay motivated. Break down your workout routines into something that is attainable. Recognize the baby steps you can take to be successful each and every day.

Example of Baby Step Approach

If you want to increase your cardio endurance, don’t expect to run 3-miles on the first day, especially if you do not run at all. That is a recipe for certain failure. Instead, start with small increments (baby steps) to ensure your success. For example, start with a 5-minute walk/run. You should be successful on day one and know that you can easily increase your endurance over 5 minutes. Maybe add an additional minute each day to push yourself. Use a workout app to track your progress. Continue increasing your time walking/running until you reach your own personal limit.

Recipe for Success

By using baby steps, you will allow yourself to succeed. Maybe the most you can ever do is a 15-minute cardio walk each day. If so, focus on your daily successes! At the end of the year, you can look at the big picture. Your 15-minute workout will result in exercising for over 90 hours in the 2020! That is a huge accomplishment for someone who wasn’t working out at all. And, just imagine if you exercise walk more than 15-minutes a day. Great success!

Source of Motivation

If you need some outside motivation to keep you going day after day, look no farther than your faithful doggy companion. They love and benefit from your daily, 15-minute workouts. They will be healthier and happier! Maybe that is your ultimate goal, but your dog makes your walks/runs incredibly unpleasant. They have no leash skills and yank you every which way. If so, we would love to help you turn your leash-pulling dog into your best workout partner ever. And, your dog will become an outstanding source of motivation to keep you healthier and happier each and every year.

Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper, author and certified professional dog trainer with Lucky Dog Training Asheville. Please follow us on Instagram @TrainingLuckyDogs and @KyloRenPup. Please contact us for more information at TrainingLuckyDogs@gmail.com or call us at 828-423-9635.

 

Canine Good Citizen

What is a Canine Good Citizen? Is your dog a Canine Good Citizen? Every domestic dog, from family pet to working dog, should be good citizens of the community. At the very least, dogs should not make an unnecessary fuss of any kind, especially in public places. They should be quiet and not invade the space of others. They should exhibit self-control and stay “out of trouble”. They should be friendly to all others. Dogs should always be next to their human partners or under their watchful eyes. This is the image of a Canine Good Citizen. Continue reading

Puppy Training 101

Why Train Your Puppy

Are you planning to get a puppy soon? How exciting! Do you already have a new puppy? Congratulations! Puppies are wonderful beings that come in relatively small packages. However, puppies grow up very, very quickly – right before your eyes at lightening speed. Continue reading

Science of Dog Training Video

Evolutionary Approach to Dog Training

To truly understand dogs and how to train them, it is important to think outside the Skinner Box. Of course, a clear understanding and proper applications of Learning Theory is fundamental to sound dog training. However, psychology is NOT the only scientific field that applies to dog training. Far from it. Continue reading

Science of Dog Training

As a scientist, I find myself in the curious culture that revolves around pet dogs. I hear “science-based dog training” and am mystified by the context it’s used. The term “science”, which is a very broad, all-encompassing term, has been misappropriated to represent a very narrow training approach. In the pet dog training culture, “science-based dog training” is synonymous with “positive reinforcement training”. This is not accurate in so many ways and creates confusion and frustration for everyone, especially for our sweet little dogs. Continue reading

What is Science-Based Dog Training?

The Sciences

A very popular term inserted in many dog training claims is “science-based dog training”. The best dog training approach to help dogs become the dog of your dreams should be science-based. But, an important question to ask is “Which sciences are included in science-based dog training?” Does it really matter? Most definitely. Best training practices are supported by solid scientific research. Continue reading

Science-Based Dog Training

Lecture at Asheville-Buncombe Technical College

This Friday, 20 October 2017, Dr. K will discuss science-based dog training approaches. Being a science-based approach is a claim of many dog training philosophies. However, exactly which science ? Is the training approach based solely on psychology and learning behavior? What about biology? What about physics? Continue reading

Healing & Heeling the Dog Within

Asheville, NC is a bastion of alternative practices and ideas. To add to this vibrant alternative community, a local veterinarian and a biologist/dog trainer are joining forces to present Healing & Heeling the Dog Within, a series of educational talks on a favorite topic of many – DOGS! Continue reading

New Leash on Life – Asheville

In late May 2017, two very lucky dogs started the New Leash on Life (NLOL) program near Asheville, NC.  The pups have been in training for a little over one month and their progress is already obvious. Before describing their training progress, the doggy participants in the NLOL program have changed. Originally, the program included Mocha and Anna White. However, Anna White was replaced with another dog – his name is Diesel. Continue reading