This is really cool and revealing. Take this little test, don’t cheat and read ahead or it will not work. Just do it. Get yourself a piece of paper and a pen put it beside your computer before you start now read only the next paragraph, take the experiment and then read only the next paragraph before you start writing.
Look around the room you are sitting in right now and pick out everything you see that is brown. Take 30 seconds to take it all in, and memorize everything you can spy that is brown. Look up and look down, don’t miss a single brown thing, hurry you only have 30 seconds.
Now take you paper and pen in hand and write down everything you can recall in the room that was red. Do it with your eyes closed and don’t peak around the room again before you do. Do it now.
Okay, experiment over. I hope you really tried it, it is way cool. When you were trying to recall your red items you likely called things that were pink or even orange as “red”. The same for the items you labeled “brown,” I bet some of them were actually beige or even grey.
The reason is this; what you tell your mind to focus on it will. In the absence of what you are looking for, your subconscious mind will conjure up anything that resembles what you desire and label it as true content for yourself.
This is so true in not just dog training but in life as well. Someone may overhear an innocent conversation at ringside and then twist it nto a malicious half truth that can potentially harm reputations or worse yet relationships. This happens all the time, it is human nature but it really can be damaging. Please look hard for that half full glass it may be there if look hard enough. Remember your perception may not be the rest of the world’s reality!
No, I am not writing this because I feel I have been “wronged” or misrepresented, this post is in response to a few events that I have witnessed recently. For those who may have being a victim let me share with you how I deal with it when these things do happen to me.
Gratitude. When I look back on my past and the lessons that broken trusts or lost friendships have taught me, it is that of gratitude. Now when I hear the gossip (which I do try to avoid) I load myself up on a good dose of all of the things and people in my life for which I am grateful. As hooky as that may sound it freakin’ works amazing, go ahead and try it, for no reason at all. As Tony Robbins says it is all about changing your state. Replace “hurt” with “grateful”.
I make a living evaluating behaviours. Hence I need to weigh good responses against what I view as bad. I am judging. I judge student’s handling choices and tell them when they could been doing better. I judge my dog’s responses and withhold reinforcement to let them know when they have failed. If you are like me, being in a position where you are constantly having to pass judgement, you too may need to be reminded to not judge that which is not dog training related.
It is an awesome feeling to know your journey has taken you on the correct path for your life, but it is quite another to believe that only one correct path exists for everyone.
Okay, lets bring this back to dog training. Yes our dogs will make mistakes. The key is to not make a big deal about those mistakes. Ignore the bad and look for more of the good that you can reinforce. In the absence of worthwhile behaviour, create some. I don’t mean feed “pink” when you are really trying to shape “red”. Keep your criteria clear, that is important however if your dog doesn’t seem to be getting anything right by your standards, it may be time to re-evaluate your training plan.
You do have a training plan don’t you?
Set the dog up for success. I don’t mean lure him in order to create success, I mean eliminate environmental distractions in order to minimize the choices your dog must go through as he tries to decide which path is the correct one.
Look for the good ignore the bad, it is a good mantra not just for dog training but for life.
Today I am stacking my gratitude. I am grateful for my faith, for John, my family, my friends, my four amazing dogs and for my new friend Ken who took this awesome shot (and many more) of Encore and Feature when we were out west recently.