An Upward Dog is a dog that feels secure, engaged, resilient, curious, balanced and loves to learn.
Dogs have many needs, surprisingly similar to our own. They are emotional beings, with their own reasons for feeling insecure and fearful or trusting and relaxed. Just like humans, each dog is different, especially in what makes them "tick" -- their preferences for foods or touch may vary, different phobias, different energy levels, motivations and sensory thresholds. Yet generally their needs are similar on a basic level: They require balance in their lives physically, mentally and emotionally with exercise, good nutrition, companionship, mental stimulation, living in a low-stress, encouraging environment and refreshing sleep. Understanding your dog's needs, personality, drives and motivations are the first key steps in learning how to train and care for your dog.
We know that domesticated dogs are wired to be connected to other dogs and to humans. They know how to communicate with both species -- an amazing phenomenon! They are also wired to form groups, walk great distances and solve problems in their daily lives for survival. When we bring them into our homes, we lovingly eliminate much of their struggles, and enable them to live less stressful lives -- and this can be a great thing. But there is a flip side. Being cooped up inside all day, not getting to use their minds to solve problems and being limited to a couple of walks today (or sadly, not at all in neglectful homes), dogs are left bored, lonely and often feel frustrated and stagnated. These feelings can lead to behaviors that create problems in the home. But if you start early when they are a puppy, you can avoid many of these issues by using preventative training and teach them right from the start.
If you've adopted an older or or your changes its suddenly, training can eliminate some of these issues. Sometimes you are challenged by genetics (perhaps high strung or have intense drives), and sometimes issues arise out of their needs not getting met (like needing to burrow or dig to release energy and having no where to funnel that drive). I will help you determine whether or not the issues stem from emotional imbalances, and then create a plan that addresses the issues. A plan usually includes exercise, nutrition, mental stimulation or relaxation, and of course, training so that your dog can be on its way to being a secure Upward Dog.