The Power of Your Mind in Dog Training

By Robert Forto

Next  week we will have an encore airing of one of most popular shows, Mind-Body Dog Training on the Dog Works radio. If you want to change the way your dog performs this is something you will not want to miss.

Think about it, you are about to head into the ring for a big obedience match or a conformation show. Of course you are nervous. You have worked so hard for this big day. Up until now you and your dog have been in perfect synchronicity. Haven’t you? You have done your pre-game prep and you are up next.

Then something catches your dogs eye and your whole dog training world comes crumbling down. Your dog gets spooked, you tense up and your dog pulls away. Your run in the ring ends in chaos and you are disqualified. Something you have worked so hard on for the past two years: all of those individual lessons with your private trainer, the perfect pick of the litter puppy, all that money, gone in an instant!

What if you could change that just by harnessing the power of your mind? No, I am not talking about some freakish mind over matter, late night TV infomercial garbage. I am talking about a centuries old process known as Neuro Linguistic Programing (NLP). In a sense it is a model of how we communicate and our personality. While this process has been around for centuries, the NLP model was developed in the 1970’s by Richard Bandler, John Grinder and others. This model explains how we process the information that comes from our outside world. Their belief is “the map is not the territory.” And so the internal representations that we make about an outside event are not necessarily the event itself.

Makes sense doesn’t it? Even in dog training we can use this process to make you and your dog the the best team in the world. Even if you don’t compete and just have a “lazy mutt” that likes to play fetch in the back yard.

You see, Dr. Robert Forto is a practitioner of NLP, and his training school, Denver Dog Works has a motto: We have the best and train the best. By employing the processes of NLP in our training programs we too can make your dog one of the best too. This is cutting edge training in the dog training world. Nobody does this and that is why they can not hold claim to our title.

Do you want to see how it works? Here’s how. Typically what happen is that there is an external event (your dog getting spooked in the ring) an we then run that event though our internal processing. We then make an Internal Representation (I/R) of that event. That I/R of the event combines with a physiology and that creates a state. “State” refers to our emotional state–a happy state, a sad state, a motivated state, or in our case with our dog in the ring, and anxious state. Our I/R includes our internal pictures, sounds and dialogue and our feelings (for example, whether we feel anxious and challenged in our dog’s training and performance). A given state is the result of the combination of an internal representations and a physiology. So what happens is that an event comes through our sensory input channels which I can teach you in NLP training and training your dog to be the best.

After the event becomes an I/R it is how our mind processes this information and the outcome that is achieved. We use filters in our mind to accomplish this and this is where the real power of NLP comes into play. For example I am just going to talk about one: Beliefs. Beliefs are generalizations about how our world is. One of the important elements in the NLP model is to find out a persons beliefs about a particular behavior we are trying to model. Richard Bandler says “Beliefs are those things we can’t get around.” Beliefs are the presuppositions that we have about the way of the world us that we either create or deny personal power to us. So beliefs are essentially our on/off switch for our ability to do anything in the world. In our dog training example. Make you and your dog the best dog team ever! Wouldn’t that be great? Go into the ring and get a qualifying score every time? Heck yes it would!

So if you would like to find out more about mind-body dog training, I highly encourage you to give us a call. We truly to have the best and train the rest. Do you want to win too? Yes you do!

Citation: The Accelerated NLP Practitioner Certification Training Manual


Robert Forto is the host of The Dog Works Radio Show and is the training director of Alaska Dog Works. Robert Forto can be reached through his website at