067Most of the people in my life know about the fitness journey I started a couple of years ago.  I started by working out at a gym, then hired a personal trainer.  After I moved back to Rochester, I was looking for something to get me motivated to keep pushing myself.  That’s when I found a CrossFit gym.  This isn’t you’re average run of the mill Bali Fitness gym.  No, this is a gym where you go to sweat, work your tail off, compete against teammates and cheer them on all at the same time.

This past week I did something that I NEVER in a millions years thought I would be able to do.  I climbed to the top of a 20 ft rope.  Let me explain why this is was so monumental for me.  I’m scared of heights.  No change that, I’m terrified of heights. On my first attempt at climbing the rope, my feet were about 3 feet off the ground and I panicked.  So how did I overcome my fear?  I kept practicing.  Everyday when I got the the gym I practiced climbing the rope, and each day I got a little closer to my goal.  When I finally got to the top of the rope, I came back down and then climbed up again, this time faster and with less fear.

Now I’m sure you’re sitting there wondering what in the world does Annalissa’s personal workout program have to do with dog training?  Well, a lot actually!

015Every time I’m working with a dog, I’m asking them to give a little bit more than they did the last time.  Posing new challenges to your dog helps them build confidence and trust in your leadership.  The first time you ask your dog to do something he has never done before, he may balk and try to refuse.  However, once you show him that he CAN perform the task at hand, he will do it so much more willingly the next time.   In many of my training programs I implement confidence building exercises.  For example, we will go to the local playground and walk across the bridges, go through the tunnels and climb the stairs. On many pieces of playground equipment you can see the ground, which may be scary for some dogs, the bridges can swing and the plastic tunnels may sound and feel weird to your dog.  So how do you help your dog with these challenges?  Go with him, encourage him and don’t give up.  If you give up, it will re-enforce the fear for your dog as well as allow him to question your leadership.
So my advice for you?  Go out and find new challenges for your dog.  Whether is taking them to the local play ground, climbing a riser of bleachers or using fallen trees on your hike as a jumping poles, go out and have some fun.  Your dog will thank you.


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