So often I have or have seen people become frustrated when in relationship with an animal. Today I had a discussion with a trainer who was experiencing a relationship "breakdown" with a young female dolphin. When I asked her why, she had a few statements to share which reminded me of faults I have made. They included - 'she is being naughty', 'she knows what to do and just doesn't do it', 'I feel her getting frustrated then I become frurstrated'. All the statements are based on a belief system that the trainer as about the animal. We discussed the relationship at length, and the trainer was humble as we broke down the scenario. Eventually she realised that perhaps all her concerns were projections, and possibly, not even the truth. She came to the conclusion that she was expecting the dolphin to know what to do, and was actually not sure that this was the truth. She decided that it was quite possible that she was not communicating effectively with the dolpin. She also did not realise that regression is a natural part of learning.
When we have choice in any scenario, we will always try all sorts of things around that choice until we settle on the fact that choosing something - usually another's bidding - is the most effective course of action - then we have finally learned the lesson. Why should it be any different for an animal.
The dolphin example is not alone. Consider people yelling at their dogs as their dogs bark, out of control. Consider that the dog may just be hearing the yelling as the human joining in the frenzy of noise. Consider the horse that refuses to let the stable door close. Is he being naughty, or does he just want to look out for his best interests - have freedom of the pasture so he can graze all night. The stable simply has not been effectively communicated as an effective alternative.
There are always two sides to the story. The animal's side is usually the fault of the person trying to manage that animal. The animal's natural history is often a part of the confusing story.