Your dog can only change if you change

Bastian Relationship, Thoughts

Hi, everyone. This is Bastian from TheK9Way. The topic of today’s video is your dog can only change if you change. I remember a few years ago I went to a week long dog listening course in Australia. And one of the participants made a remark or asked a question why are there no dogs in the room? There were about 15 people but not one dog. The trainer said something along the lines of, well the dogs already know this material. And that is really true. It is usually us that doesn’t know how to communicate well. We can change, we can learn a new language, which is pretty much what we need to do if we want to be clear to our dogs because most people try to communicate the human way – a lot of talking, a lot of emotions – and expect the dogs to understand, which is unfortunately not happening.

Dogs learn based on their environment. They learn what works, what doesn’t work. Which behavior serves them, which behavior gets them what they want. And what do I need to do in order to avoid certain things? That’s all based on feedback from the environment. They also learn where they stand based on the feedback from the environment. And we as the owners, or you as the owner of your dog, you are the biggest feedback or the biggest part of that environment, hence you also shape the behaviors of your dog based on what you do. Because the dog is basically learning based on your response, based on your feedback. Hence it’s really important that we know what we’re actually doing and what we’re communicating or more specifically, what the dog is understanding from our communication. That’s the crucial part.

This means that if we want lasting change in the dog, we need to change the way we communicate. We need to change our ways, our behavior because at the end of the day, it’s not about what the dog does. A lot of my clients worry about what’s happening for the dog. How can I change this? It’s not the dog’s behavior that matters, it’s our response. How much do we get sucked in? How much do we get pulled off our center? Because if that happens, the dog just learns that I just made this happen. And that again, that by itself reinforces the behavior and sets other dynamics into place as well.

So I guess it comes down to if we want change, we have to lead. It won’t be the dog who initiates change. If you want change, you have to do it. And that’s actually quite a beautiful thing because it basically means that we have to step up and that we need to take the responsibility into our own hands to create the relationship we want with our dog. And it also is true for the rest of our lives. We want change in our jobs, if we want change in our love relationships or our friendships, it’s actually us. I have to do something else if I want a different result. If I keep on doing the same thing and expect a different result, it’s not smart and pretty futile. And that’s really what we focus on whenever we work with clients. It’s changing the client’s behavior and educating the clients and teaching them a new language and teaching them new skills. And obviously what I am doing now, explaining why and the reasons behind it. That’s really crucial.
I hope this short video was informative and you got something from it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask and have a great day. Thanks a lot.

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