The title of this post is an idea put forth by the great Stephen Covey. He talks about it in terms of how we, as people, relate to one another. The gist is that how we see ourselves, others, and the world in general greatly affects what actions we take in our lives, particularly in times of conflict. This, in turn, affects the result that we're left with as a consequence of those actions, or what we get.
I think the point he was trying to make was that we all have biases and preconceived ideas. It's just the way it is. But, if we learn to be mindful of and recognize them, we open ourselves up to new ways of thinking, new paradigms. Then, as a result, what we get from the world can also change.
That's all well and good, but what's this got to do with dog training??
Well... a lot!
Many people find themselves not only struggling with their dogs, they feel stuck too. Hopeless, even. Too many times to count I've spoken with owners who are convinced of what their dog can, and can't, do.
My dog can't relax. Or walk well on a leash. Or go to the park. Or come when I call. The list goes on.
I don't blame the owners. After all, there's A LOT of mixed information out there. Nor do I deny that dogs do have limitations. Not every dog can perform at the highest of levels, especially if they've got years of anxiety or aggression to work past.
But, maybe if we change the way we SEE our dogs and their behaviors, we might change what we DO, or our approach. If Mr. Covey is right, this should change what we GET.
So, if you're struggling, maybe take a look at what beliefs you can change. Can you open yourself up to a new training method? A new way of relating to your dog? A new way of thinking about how your dog fits into your life, or what their needs are? How about what your needs are?
These are just a few examples, and they might not be right for you or your dog. But, they also might be worth examining, just in case.
Here's what I do know: your dog can change, because you can change. Your dog can learn a new way of being, because you can learn a new way of seeing them. And it's all downhill from there.