When I work with my dog (and horse) students these days, there’s a lot of talk about ‘positive’ methods of training.
In dog training, there has been a shift away from using aversive methods of training and punishment, to allowing the dog to learn, helping them understand better and rewarding what they do well. There’s an encouraging focus on their strengths and needs, on providing an environment that they can cope with. If you’re reading this, you’re probably well versed in positive training as it pertains to dog training.
But let’s go further-
Do you really believe in positive training?
Are you sure?
(This is an exercise for you to join in- I really want you to be answering me here)
Now you’ve answered, let’s go back a step:
What About You?
SO you believe in positive training for the dog, and you remember the reason/s you just gave for that?
Now let’s come up the leash and look at you.
- How do you treat yourself?
- Are you consistent with that ‘positive training’ belief when it comes to yourself?
- Or do you mentally leash-whip or e-shock yourself when you get something wrong?
- How’s your patience and compassion for yourself when you’re struggling or feeling overwhelmed?
Just as we know our dogs can’t learn well when they’re stressed out, so we too cannot hope to learn as well when we’re hyper-aroused and doing a good impression of a rabbit-in-headlights.
Positive Training at the Human End of the Leash
I KNOW a lot of you can see the value and worth in your dogs, and you’re SQUIRMING at the idea of being that compassionate to yourself, but you know what? YOU have intrinsic worth. Just as you don’t need to know the life history of a dog to know that it doesn’t deserve to be harshly treated, so you too deserve to be treated with AT LEAST the same love and compassion- regardless of anything you’ve ever done/not done, achieved/not achieved.
I invite you to explore how you might be kinder to yourself by applying some of the same skills to yourself as you use when training your dog.
And in case some mental gremlin is saying:
‘but if you go easy on yourself, you’ll slack on your goals, you’ll not achieve as much, you’ll NEVER get there…‘
…well have a look at many of the top handlers who use positive methods and are gathering up the medals and titles nicely…
…it doesn’t seem to have slowed them down, does it?
Treating yourself to POSITIVE methods- setting yourself up to try things, to improve incrementally (and that’s ok), not setting outrageous goals that set yourself up for failure when you’re not ready for them, letting it go when things go wrong because it’s just part of learning, heck- rewarding yourself when things go right… what would it change if you were to take a positive training approach with yourself?
Share your thoughts below- oh and don’t forget to share this with your friends who might be interested!
For more on this and to learn how to begin being a more positive ‘trainer’ to yourself, join one of Dr. Kathrine’s courses or to join the waiting list for her ultimate positive-training community, Mental Mastery, click this link: LEARN MORE