04 June 2009

Living in the Moment

What if we actually did live in the moment when training our animals? I think it would offer us more freedom to be aware of what our companions have to offer us. We would be aware of what was being offered to us and move away from always looking at what is wrong with a performance.

I saw a study where children hear the word "no" over 400 times per day. I also read where humans hear the word "no" 1500 times more than the word "Yes" and people wonder about insecurity. Does this negativity carry over into training animals? Absolutely it does. Now imagine freeing yourself from the constraints of "No" and actually living in the moment. (I'm sounding a little like Cesar Millan, but he does have merit telling people to live in the now.)

If we really lived in the moment, we would realise that life comes through the body. We would pay attention to how we worked around animals and each other to keep them even and balanced.

By living right now, you would be able to see when your trainee needs a little, help, support or direction to help make them more successful. This also means you'll be able to tell when something is going well and should be rewarded. Think of improving weaker areas while building on strengths. You are there to help attain goals, not put up roadblocks.

As you are training, remember that the performance is not going to be perfect. You are there to strive toward a goal and work toward getting the team work developed. Pay attention to what is happening and be ready to help the movement to the goal rather than hinder the performance.

What about those times you know you are on the verge of getting it right? Do you allow it to happen or do you find yourself interfering and getting in the way? For years, my mother has told us, "Patience is a virtue." That is true in so many places and especially in training animals. Are you being patient and waiting for the most opportune moment for learning to occur?

Do you have a goal in mind when you are training. Do you know where you want to end up and how you plan to direct and attain that goal? Remember you are working with another living being and trying to guide your team to a good relationship. Work with the innate natural tendencies of your animal and then put that to work for both of you.

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