The Mindful Dog’s training program is rooted in the belief that, through training, we can teach our dogs to become more mindful. A mindful dog tends to be happier, less impulsive, more thoughtful, better able to handle stress, and more fun to live with! As with mindfulness, the essence of good dog training lies in the art of attention. But teaching dogs to have better control over their attention invariably means that we must become more mindful ourselves. Just like us, dogs have to learn to pause and think, instead of behaving reactively and impulsively.
I believe in a Positive Reinforcement-based, whole dog approach to training. Rather than simply teaching dogs what we DON’T want them to do, good training should teach dogs what we DO want them to do instead. My training methods utilize findings from behavioral science and learning theory about how best to motivate dogs during training. I also believe in trying to understand the dog’s perspective as much as possible. Practical, lasting behavior change doesn’t happen with a “quick fix” approach to training. It happens when we look at a dog’s life as a whole, and strive to meet a dog’s needs for instinctual fulfillment, physical exercise, cognitive enrichment, and social fulfillment.
My approach to training involves hard work, but it’s also fun, and you’ll get out of it what you put into it. It is my hope that you and your dog will emerge from this experience with a closer bond and an improved ability to understand each other, armed with a practical set of commands and skills that will make life easier for both of you.
Mary Simon’s path to becoming a dog trainer began when she adopted a 4-month-old lab/heeler mix from a local animal shelter. When he began to exhibit fearful, reactive behavior, she sought help from John Imler of Top Dog Training. It was there that she discovered the joys of dog training. After starting and running her own dog walking company (Outdoor Dog Adventures) for nearly 2 years, Mary yearned to pass on her knowledge of dog behavior to others, and finally decided to pursue training full-time. She completed a dog training apprenticeship with professional dog trainer John Imler before launching her own company, The Mindful Dog. She has a BA in psychology, and worked as a counselor for people with severe OCD prior to pursuing work with dogs. Mary lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts with her standard poodle, Winston; her lab/heeler mix, Wyatt; her rabbit, Walter; and her husband, Theo. In her free time, Mary enjoys meditating, hiking, being near the ocean, gardening, and making art.