This is one of the most difficult disciplines for a human: to feel something in our hands and not respond to it with our hands.
– Karen Rohlf
It’s our predator instinct! This immediate reaction we have to cling to or grab something. Yank, tug, be rough. These things come easily to a predator.
These are also the very things we need to veer away from when dealing with any living being. How unpractical! Letting a rope simply slide through our hands in a moment of panic or fear is a talent that most of us have to consciously teach ourselves. Relax. Be as soft as possible and as firm as necessary when that’s called for.
If you’re working with an aggressive animal, or with any being who is in a state that could threaten your life, – protect your space. Do anything it takes! Then, when you know you’re safe, call on lightness. If there is a moment of resistance or you’re teaching someone a completely new concept, be patient. Don’t react with your hands, as Karen Rohlf mentioned above, and do not form heavy hands.
Work towards dealing with these moments by altering the way a situation is viewed. Our goal is to be 90% mental and only 10% physical when working with animals.