This is a short one.
You know my dogs – Vinny (LBE) and Moxie (RBE)… well, as I’m sitting here writing bunches of stuff, something interesting happened. Being about fifteen weeks old, Moxie is teething like crazy and when she plays with us those little points are really sharp!
So, as she was biting me (playing affectionately of course!), I started to think about why she keeps doing this even though I’ve tried to tell her not to (for some weeks now).
Wake up call… because if you are truly effective, something should have improved!
I thought about her doganality and changed my approach. When she chewed on my fingers and it didn’t hurt, I said nothing, stayed neutral. But when she took it a little further and bit a little too hard, I yelped.
Amazing! She did it three times, testing I think. And then she looked at me, and just stopped, came over and licked me and moments later crawled behind my laptop and curled up between my calves.
RB animals / humans really don’t want to hurt people (not saying that LB’s do, please don’t read that into it!) So instead of reacting and disciplining when you feel attacked, maybe just letting them know it hurt (without blame or counter attack) will bring some balance and understanding. Or not! You have to be prepared for the opposite reaction and then examine what you did and how you did it!
It makes me think of that amazing book I recommend– Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. If you haven’t read it, get it! Huge stuff resonates in a big way in how we approach horsemanship. The key is to understand and express your feelings and not expect the other to change. And when you can truly do that, “it”, “life”, “experience” changes.