You can teach an old dog new tricks.


This is a picture of my dog, Bear. He was on holidays at his favourite beach wading to me during an early morning rock pool walk. He is a real champ and gives me heaps of pleasure. Of course, there were some behaviours that I didn’t like and got frustrated with, but I dismissed them as his personality.
Until one day he chased a young beach runner, pushed him to the ground and gave him a nip.
This was not a good day.

Action
As a proud father (funny how we associate with animals) I got over my denial Bear was still a good dog and enrolled in some “one on one” behaviour management – for both owner and dog.
What happened next was the steepest learning curve for me and most effective for dog.
In 2 hours, I was amazed to discover three things.

Solution
Firstly, for the last 6 years he has been the leader of the pack, encouraged by my interaction.
Secondly, due to this relationship imbalance, my communication had been ineffective, hence his dominating behaviour.
Thirdly, his diet compounded his erratic behaviour.
The behaviouralist gave me logical reasoning for his behaviour which resonated with me immediately and then advised alternative communication techniques.
I was keen to learn, practice and embed these techniques.
Guess what? The simple change of
1. stance when addressing him,
2. consistent language,
3. dietary (from dry food to raw chicken frame, gross)
worked a treat.

Bear is more relaxed now that he knows where he sits in the pack and what his role is.

Reflection
However, from this event, there was a greater “light bulb moment” for me.
Why do we wait for a situation to escalate before we commit to change?

We know smoking can cause cancer. Yet it is not until the doctor diagnoses us with the disease, is when we give up. (Note – congratulations to all those ex-smokers who saw the light early)
It took Bear to nip a child before I no longer accepted his dominant behaviour. I woke up to the fact that our relationship was not all rosy and was the motivation for my change.

– What are the small frustrations that you currently accept that if you changed, would make your life just that bit better?
Why not make a simple decision to take action now, rather than wait for the inevitable later?

Must go now as I am of the beach with Bear, with me as the leader and him as second in charge.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.”

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