Perfect Accidents!

Sometimes we get asked to do something and we just have no… clue… what to do.

This happens to animals all the time! It almost never doesn’t happen! They don’t understand our spoken word (besides the words we’ve taught them) and our body language is much different than theirs. So most the time it’s sort of a shot in the dark for them. Maybe she means… this. Or this. I’ll just do that. Or this.

Sometimes they’re right, sometimes not. What I find important is for us to make it as easy for them to understand as possible. A good step in the right direction would be to reward your animal even if they did the right thing by accident. As humans, and as predators, we have this natural instinct to control. It might be frustrating to realize that your animal unintentionally did the right thing. We could feel the need to repeat it until the animal does it perfectly right when we ask.

The key is to catch that moment when your animal is thinking: She could mean… thisAnd really, really reward them when they’re going in the right direction! And that could mean you’re rewarding an accident on their part as they unintentionally did what you asked for. Magic. Couldn’t be easier. I’ve had this before: I was riding with someone and they turned left so beautifully: I saw absolutely no cue coming from the rider and the horse did it willingly and with grace. The rider frowned. What’s the matter, that looked beautiful! I said. My friend, the rider, told me that she was thinking about turning left at some point but had not given her horse any cues yet. She was disappointed because her horse had gone to the left without her asking him to. She felt he might have been “disobeying” in some way. But… the way I see it: it was perfect! Her horse was so in-sync with her thoughts and subconscious cues that he even responded to those.

It was a mistake, but it was a beautiful one. Our animals should get the utmost amount of praise for trying that hard and trying to be “one” with us, even if they make some “mistakes” along the way. 🙂


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