I was at a work training the other day. It was called “Developing and Implementing an Outward Mindset.” If you have have an opportunity to go to this training, GO! There are also three books – all by The Arbinger Institute – available on Amazon that also explain the material.
At the end of class, the instructor showed us this video. Take a moment to watch it.
I found this concept compelling for a number of reasons. First, it shows change is hard. Second, it shows that practice is critical! Lastly, it shows how easy it is to fall back into your old habits.
So what does this have to do with dog training? Everything! This is applicable to you and your dog. If it took 8 months for an adult human to relearn something, imagine how hard it is for a creature that may not even understand what the end goal is. Take reactivity for example. Your dog has been barking at other dogs for years and years. This is not something that can be fixed in a one-hour session. It takes months of practicing every single day. We are helping the dog re-write their mental algorithms (the computer nerd in me loves this analogy).
Not only that, but you’re re-writing your own mental algorithms at the exact same time.
I would encourage you to keep the Backwards Bicycle in mind as you work on changing and improving your dogs’ behaviors. When they revert back to their old behaviors, it is not because they are dominant, stubborn, or stupid. It’s because their brain is literally wired that way. We are trying to change the wiring. The only “cure” is conscientious, deliberate practice.
What do you think? Do you find yourself getting frustrated when you or your dog revert back into the old routines? Does the backwards bicycle help reframe the problem?