Respect the Fear, Change the Perception

We all have fears. Every single person has them, even the toughest of the tough and the baddest of the bad. We're supposed to have fears, it's what allows us as a species to survive. The problem is that many of us are mocked, or worse, for our fears, which only begets a higher level of fear or creates new ones. However, if we had the opportunity to work with someone we TRUST, who could TEACH us how to CHANGE our perception of what we fear, we could lessen or overcome that fear, thereby ENJOYING life even more.

So what does that have to do with dog training (or Canine Coaching as I call it)? EVERYTHING!! It seems that on top of the most ridiculous expectations we have for our companion dogs, like being perfectly polite, meeting and greeting every living thing with grace and diplomacy, being a friend to everyone no matter how poorly mannered or scary that person or animal is, reading our minds so they know what we mean and what we want whether we've said it or taught it or not, understanding perfectly what we say no matter the language or tone we've spoken to them in, basically expecting them to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (practically perfect in every way), we also demand that they NEVER be fearful of anything and if for some God forsaken reason they are, then they better get over it and right now! (enter Dominance theory, calm-submission, aversive methods, physical abuse, prong, choke and electronic collars, hollering, screaming, growling, throwing bean bags, hanging, "helicoptering," hitting, punching, flooding, etc.)

So tell me, how's that workin' out for you, huh? Not too much for your dog, either, I imagine. No kiddin' Sherlock, can't imagine why. Why is the simple question: because we're humans and we have a really hard time admitting to and dealing with our own fears let alone having a dog (or child) that shows fear. Darnit, having a scaredy dog (or child) makes us look bad! And with that, we've gotten right to the root of the problem: we've never learned how to RESPECT our own fears, have never TRUSTED anyone enough to allow them to TEACH us how to CHANGE our perceptions of what scares us so there's always something holding us back from ENJOYING our lives even more.

Whether an adult, child, dog, cat, or any other living species, fear is natural. We are all born with a baseline of fear (survival), are predisposed to others (nature) and accrue others through life experiences (nurture). There is only one way to learn from them and then deal with them: RESPECT the fear, CHANGE the perception. That means finding someone you can TRUST to help TEACH you how to CHANGE your fear and then ENJOY life. Do this for youself, for those you love, for your dog, cats, or whatever other animals you enjoy having as part of your life. Y'all will be better for it, believe you me. Amen.

 

 


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Positively Expert: Sam Wike

In addition to Sam’s work as a successful trainer and behavior consultant endorsed by Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training and the Best Friends Animal Society Community Training Partner Program, he is also a behavior consultant to the Monmouth County (NJ) SPCA and local rescue groups.


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