Sit! Sit, sit, sit! Sammie-watch! Sammie, Sammie, Sammie watch, Sammie watch, Sammie WATCH! Buster Come! Come here Buster! I said Buster come, come here, come here now…BUSTER! Sigh, I can’t tell you how many times I have encountered these scenarios! People need to master “the art of creating space for a response.” In short, I have become more observant in how people communicate.
As a dog trainer, I notice how difficult it is for people to economize words when they are working with their pup and give them a chance to respond. Subsequently, people make the false assumption that their dog did not hear or understand them. So they continue to repeat a cue and often raise their voice. The puppy is listening to words that may not have meaning for them in the moment. They are looking at the context of the environment to see if they can draw upon similar past experiences. They are watching body language. For this reason, they are trying to process multiple bits of information and make a determination of what they are supposed to do next.
If you are working on a new skill in an environment with no distractions, have positioned your body correctly, and have been able to lure or reward the desired response in the past, all you need to do is say the cue and then be quiet. Watch your dog as he/she begins to actually think and give them a chance to respond. The dog is just as aware as you are that nothing is happening. Generally, they will offer some behavior, giving you an opportunity to respond with feedback. If they earned a reward for a correct response, you will see the space between cue and response decrease immediately. However, if they did not earn a reward, you need to evaluate how you are communicating and teaching and try an alternative strategy.
Speak Human to Human
For the most part, I notice the same thing happens in human to human communication. People have opinions and thoughts which they project into the world based on their paradigm (operating system). Moreover, my observation is that people react too quickly to information. Particularly, even before they have a chance to process and create a thoughtful response, they immediately retort or “bite back” with harsh words or communicate defensively. Given that no two people see the world 100% the same, it would be reasonable to expect that conversations would uncover differences. I believe people want to do good, do the right things, and have their voices heard. To be heard, we have to listen. Pause for a moment – allow others to take things in. Therefore, when we create space for thinking before reacting, it transcends into more productive communication.
Finally, as dog lovers, we are intentional in our desire to build a bond with our dogs built on trust and mutual respect. They always deliver. Imagine if we extended the same intent to all humans.
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-Author of Fur Covered Wisdom (International #1 Best Selling Book on Amazon)
-Woman of the Year (2017)- Women In the Pet Industry Network
-Top 25 Woman of Influence in the Pet Industry, PetAge Magazine (2015) ccc