Part 2 - #2: Do you treat them like a pal?
This is a situation that may be confused with partnership. The difference is - the line between leader and follower is confused for both you and your pet. You want to be their friend instead of their leader. But as I said yesterday, what animals truly want is your leadership. A well balanced leader brings out the best in everyone. Leadership is not bossing and bullying them around from a mutual state of fear. Aggression is to challenge those that come to do harm to the pack, the herd, the family. Whether the threat is within the species or outside of it. It is a challenge to fight for the top position and the safety of the pack, herd or family they protect. Domestic animals who are shown (usually quite by accident) that their size, their teeth, their claws or their demeanor give them the upper hand with humans can prove devastating to everyone's safety. He who backs off first is the loser. So how do you become the balanced leader and not the pal? Especially if you have already created it as such?
Take care of yourself.
Yes, take care of yourself. This is the FIRST and most important thing you need to do or start doing. The leader takes care of themselves first. By doing so, you are able to take care of your family, et al., in a more stable, successful way.Exercise, eat healthy meals that nourish your body (You make sure that your children and pets are eating a balanced mean but do you do that for yourself?)Schedule time for yourself to relax. Whether relaxing is taking a nap without noise all around you. Going for a walk in the woods. Go out and do photography. Take a yoga class, run. Get a massage or have a Bars® session.
Do something that quiets your mind and brings you space. This brings you to a different energetic level. One of being balanced. Calm. Allowance. It removes reactivity from your repertoire.When you are taking care of yourself, you are balanced, what you will and won't allow will shift and change. Your energy (that everyone perceives, from your husband or wife, your children or your dog or horse) is different. It's not frenzied, rushed or unstable. Everyone feels it and can see it in you, even if they can't identify it. They can sense it and it will change their energy too.
Choose what you expect from your pet.
Whether it's keeping space between you and your horse when you walk or work with your horse. Or that Fido will be calm and quiet when you are ready to take them out the door for a walk or a ride in the car, etc. Choose only ONE THING that you will work on with them.
This is the next most important thing after taking care of yourself...
Make sure you have the TIME to spend working with your dog, horse, cat, bird. You cannot ever try to reset your boundaries when you have limited amount of time to accomplish it. That just sets you up for failure. It may take you all of 5 minutes. It may take you an hour the first time, or even longer. But you cannot be rushed. If you start to become annoyed, bored or frustrated. Take some deep breaths while keeping your eyes closed. Bring yourself back to where you were grounded, expansive and focused.
Don't take advice while you are working with your pet.
This is time for you to reset the boundaries. Many a well-meaning barn person or child or husband or wife tries to throw their penny in your change purse. Thank them for offering but you would like them to go about their business.
Once you get the behavior you are asking for...PRAISE AND QUIT!
QUIT, QUIT, QUIT, QUIT, QUIT!!! I cannot say this enough. Stop when you receive what you have asked for (or more than you asked for).
Don't keep doing it over and over again. It will only destroy the moment you worked for. Praise them and be proud of yourself too! Then take your dog for the walk or take your horse for a ride or whatever the 'treat' is.
Are you wondering what Bars sessions are? Email Deb at email@example.com with the Subject line "I want my Bars run!"
Question? Email Deb directly at firstname.lastname@example.org