Sometimes we want or need our companion animal to do a certain thing or alter or change a particular behavior.
We often forget, however, that our pet has free will just like we do. He is also intelligent and has his own ideas, thoughts and feelings about the things in his life. When working with our pet, it is best that we understand and take this into consideration.
As the old saying goes, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." Which is another way of saying that you are more likely to achieve your desired result when you use kindness than if you are demanding. When we want to work something out with our partner, child or someone we work with, the communication usually goes much more smoothly when we approach the person with appreciation and respect. This is true with our animal companions, too.
What do you do when you want to work with your animal to bring about a change? Here are my three tips - the honey as it were! - for working more successfully with your pet.
1. Appreciate: Express your appreciation to your pet for simply being who he is. Let him know that you appreciate that he is in your life. We all like to be seen and appreciated, and your pet does, too. Do this often with your animal, especially in your quiet moments together. Let him know that you appreciate him!
2. Thank: Next thank him for things that he is already doing that you enjoy and appreciate. For example:
You fill in the above with the things that you are thankful to your pet for. When you acknowledge your pet this way he feels appreciated for who he is right now, in this moment, just as he is.
3. Ask: Now you can ask him for what you want. If you would like a new behavior from him be sure to also tell him why you would like him to go beyond where he is right now. Phrase it as a question, which respects that your animal has free will. For example:
This way of communicating with your animal invites him to deepen his relationship with you while reinforcing how much you believe in him. As you see him taking steps forward towards the new behavior you are asking of him be sure to thank him and, no matter how small, acknowledge his efforts.
Hi, I'm Clare...
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