Are you a control freak? Do you train to control or do you do it because it is where there is an excuse not to be in control? (-:
Imagine that lion trainer forcing that circus lion into the corner with a whip and a chair. Days of old. Imagine that dog being yanked into position using a choke chain. Hearts are cold.Imagine the horse being spurred into a gallop and bitted into a stop. Souls are sold.
These used to be accepted training methods. In some instances, they still may be practised.
These are not what we consider training at all. True training is something much more harmonious. We have all dreamed of being Dr Doolittle. Of talking to animals. Truth be told – it’s possible. Using true training.
I love it when I hear new information about animal training. When I am challenged to think in new ways. I love to be challenged. And I really love it when I notice that I am being challenged because then I know that objectivity is heading into the space. Being challenged means that we are looking at it – more and more – from the animal’s point of view.
It is truly exciting when we learn to train for the first time. Problem is, that most of us are taught to look at things from our point of view. And this is vital. Unless we know what tools we are applying, we are uncertain of what we are doing. For example, negative reinforcement is not when the animal moves away from us. It is when we move away from the animal. If we think it is them doing the moving – then it is them doing the training. Communication blurs. Responses become reactive.Having said that – it should be us doing the training yes. But it cannot happen if we are not aware. Look. See. What is happening? – not just in if they are sitting or touching the ball or laying out the way you want them to, but – how is their attitude? Are they anxious in that pose? Complacent? Are they thinking, or are you doing the thinking for them? When we start to see this – the countenance – then things get real. Then we have relationship!!
And when things get real, they get wonderful. Because when we see this, we are starting to see the training from the animal’s point of view. We are starting to let them choose their responses and we are simply guiding the process.
A good trainer is not a doer. It is a guide. Stepping aside and letting them move and choose – choose to be in relationship with a gem of a guide – who is having as much fun as they are.
PS. Caution. This does not mean do whatever and hope for the best. All the lessons we learned are still valid. Step by step. Going back a step when things get unclear. Focussing on what we want. Etc etc.