The 4 economies of commands
Shamanic dog training teaches right relationship, or ayni, which encourages us to contemplate the impact we have on our dogs’ lives; through our interactions, handling, teaching and direction. We can use the 4 economies of commands to evaluate the quality, quantity and necessity of the commands we use to communicate with our dogs.
1. Whenever possible, avoid commands and teach self-discipline
2. When speaking commands, speak on the out breath and with a soft belly
3. Get detailed and direct when choosing commands and their meaning
4. Show what you mean whenever needed
1. Whenever possible, avoid commands and teach self-discipline: your dog is capable of learning complex self-directed skills, which require no command or cue from you. For any situation that requires the same response every time, it is more efficient to teach your dog how to do it himself, rather needing to be told.
For example: if you want your dog to not pull on the leash every time you are walking together, it is more efficient to teach your dog the self-discipline of never pulling on the leash, without needing to be told.
2. When speaking commands, speak on the out breath and with a soft belly, inviting open listening and engagement. Commands uttered when holding the breath and with a hard belly can be sharp and create resistance, withdrawal or discomfort.
Try it: first speak a command on the out breath and with a soft belly, then speak a command when holding your breath and with a hard belly. Is there any difference in your dog’s response or connection?
3. Get detailed and direct when choosing commands and their meaning: create commands with more meaning and complexity than “sit”, “down” and “stay” to help your dog understand his environment and respond to situations with more mindfulness.
For example: the command “off the road” can mean walk on the place where the pavement becomes gravel.
4. Show what you mean whenever needed: quietly and clearly show your dog how to complete the request whenever she seems resistant, hesitant or confused.
For example: if your dog is not moving to the side of the road when you say "off the road", walk with her to the edge of the road to show her what you mean
Through right relationship, we learn about the impact our behaviours and interactions have on our dogs. Applying the 4 economies of commands, we ensure that our impact is as light, clear and kind as possible.
Tamryn Fudge is an animal communicator, dog trainer and shamanic practitioner and student. She offers shamanic dog training to help you and your dog get closer and love deeper - for aggression and behaviour problems, everyday learning and puppy teaching. Group and private sessions available.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 250-573-1744
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