I had a moment of clarity today! Karma is operant conditioning. If you smile at someone, then they will most likely smile back. The positive effect will increase your desire to smile more often. If you thank your spouse with a big hug for taking out the trash, then they will most likely take the trash out more often and more willingly. If you say something mean to someone, they will probably not want to be around you. If you tell your dog, "Good wait!" for sitting patiently for his food bowl, and then put the food bowl down and tell him that he can eat it, then your dog will continue to sit nicely and patiently for his food. If you give your dog belly rubs every time you walk in the door, your dog will continue to roll over for his Buddha belly rub when you come home instead of jumping on you.
Karma, according to Buddhist philosophy, means that all actions- past, present and future- are all interrelated and connected by the law of cause and effect. Karma literally means action in Sanskrit and action is created by good thoughts that result in good intentions, that create positive outcomes. Being able to think, speak and act in a positive way requires skill and practice. Unskilled thoughts, words and actions result in more negative outcomes. With training, mindfulness and consciousness, a person can practice good Karma and more positivity, happiness and ease will follow the person on their path towards enlightenment.
Dog training is Karma in action. A good trainer is constantly present, in the moment, and understands that the law of cause and effect is constantly in action. People and dogs are constantly understanding life through the way that they operate on their environment and vice versa. If this happens, then that happens. Being mindful of every interaction with your dog takes training and discipline so that you are aware of all the ways that you are increasing or decreasing your dog's behaviors. For instance, when potty training a puppy, you may be unaware that you are "training" your puppy to pee in the house because you haven't been giving your puppy enough attention for going potty outside. If you are ignoring the good behavior of peeing outside, but giving lots of negative attention to your puppy for going inside, you are being "unskilled" in your mindfulness of your puppy's actions. You are creating bad Karma by thinking, speaking and acting too much when your puppy is doing something wrong. Create good Karma by being constantly conscious of your puppy's good behavior and you will increase the likelihood that your puppy will continue to grow up into a good, well-trained dog.
A lot of dogs are not "Zen" dogs because so much attention is placed on hyperactive, attention-seeking behavior. Raising a puppy is not the easiest job and requires a lot of intention and action. A puppy with the crazies requires a lot of attention, but as soon as the puppy passes out for a nap or is just laying around peacefully, the owner feels like he's finally off the hook and doesn't need to give him any more attention. However, when your puppy or dog is just laying on the floor being mellow, it's the most important time to give your dog a kind word and a loving pat. You must see your dog as a mellow, calm dog, then you must look for the behaviors you desire and reward them with lots of praise and attention. If you want your puppy to be a Zen dog, you must see it, believe it, act upon it and be grateful for the moments of calm and tranquility that you wish to share with your puppy. You will create good Karma, peace and balance within yourself and your puppy by being mindful of positive behaviors and experiences. Open your eyes, your heart and your mind to be a positively good dog owner with good Karma and a good dog.