And How Does That Make You Feel?

A great article by Deb Jones, PhD. I have taken many classes from  Dr. Jones, including the one she is teaching right now referenced in this article. Always eye-opening and inspiring, here is a quote from the article:  “Behaviors and skills cannot be separated from emotions. In fact, we are building emotional associations every single time we train our dogs. It’s just that most people don’t realize it, or don’t realize how powerful it is, so they don’t give it enough attention and consideration.”

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And How Does That Make You Feel?

By Deborah Jones, Ph.D.

The phrase “and how does that make you feel?” is pretty much a stereotypic response that you’d expect from a therapist.  But as a dog trainer you probably don’t use that phrase very often.  It’s particularly unlikely you’d address it to your dog.  But that’s exactly what we should be doing; keeping a close eye not only on what our dogs are doing, but more importantly, on how they are feeling.

Dog trainers spend countless hours working on training specific and precise behaviors.  They obsess endlessly over small details, plan out session after session, and troubleshoot solutions when problems arise.  They understand and implement training plans based on operant conditioning principles, splitting behaviors into small parts and providing appropriate reinforcement.  And yet, for all that care and attention, things still go wrong.  The dog doesn’t learn the desired behavior…

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