DO YOU REALLY LOVE YOUR DOG?Feb 07, 2023
What would your answer be, if you asked yourself…
- How much do I LOVE my dog?
- How much do I LOVE them ONLY when they’re doing things I like?
- How much do I LOVE them for who they really are - not just who I want them to be?
(oh, and just for fun - try this a second time, switching ‘dog’ to ‘kid’!!!)
#1 is easy to answer - A solid LOADS.
But #2 & 3? Hmmm. A bit more tricky.
Seeing and accepting your dog for who they REALLY are, and then loving them for exactly that isn’t always easy - but it certainly makes for a much better relationship.
< ENTER CONFIRMATION BIAS >
AKA the scientific term for ‘seek and you shall find’.
Basically, if we believe something to be true, let’s say “Ug. My dog is so naughty”, our brains are literally wired to find evidence to support that. We actually go looking for ways to prove ourselves right. SO (and here’s where it gets crazy cool!)… using that very same protocol, we can literally rewire our brains - by telling ourselves a different version of the exact same thing.
Case in point:
My dog Zig is OBSESSED with little critters: squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits.
Ask him the question: Fast and furry?
He always answers: Yes, please!
As a dog trainer (and just human, to be fair) it drove me nuts. If I’m honest, I did NOT love him when he was at the window, squealing at the top of his lungs, desperate to chase the acrobatic rodent, merrily doing backflips between trees. I really wanted Zig to be a different kind of dog from who he really was and we were C.L.A.S.H.I.N.G. big time!!
So, I flipped my script on its head.
I reminded myself that he’s 50% terrier - hunting little furries is exactly what he was bred to do. It’s in his DNA. Then I gave myself a new mantra:
MY DOG IS DOING EXACTLY WHAT HE'S WIRED TO DO
...and he’s AWESOME at it! ❤️
And it changed everything.
I could actually LOVE him, while he was doing things that I didn’t love. Not only that, the confirmation bias kicked in BIG TIME. This new way of looking at him just highlighted ALL the other ways he brought joy to my life, AND helped me seek out new ways, too.
So, if you find yourself losing your rag with your dog more often than you’re sending them love beams - give it a shot. It works wonders… with kids, too!
Now I’m back to the drawing board with my (I–just-figured-out-how-to-open-the-pedal-bin-and-steal-the-trash) teen pup, Juice.
Dog give me strength.
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