How do you celebrate success and good behavior with your animals?
Celebrate. Call it my crazy Catholic upbringing, living too long in LA and doing moon rituals or my personal favorite after absolutely nothing, having a cupcake ceremony with friends (yes including a chant and dance) I love celebrating. That can be through clapping, saying hip hip hooray or really letting it rip.
Guess what, your animals feel that joy too. That joy can be in your life for something you’ve done or theirs. It can be over the fact that I vacuumed all the hay and dirt off the rug before a dinner party!! It can be over nothing…. Life can be like a Seinfeld episode, a show about nothing and yet brings such internal joy with all the complications with your animal companions.
Celebration is very important in training. In my new book, “Energy Healing for Animals” (Sounds True), we talk about the reward system – how it is much like the reward system for humans. If it feels good, we’ll repeat it. So, if a celebration ensues after doing something good, that makes the good behavior feel even better. The animals will want to do it again.
My Arabian mare, Gabrielle, from day one always did what I called the victory lap when she “got” a technique while riding. I had done that too with my gelding Rollie (no longer with us). It’s a loose rein glory moment. And, once we got it– we’ll get it again.
Celebration over even the tiniest things – like a sick cat drinking water on
it’s own or the puppy going potty outside is huge. It’s acknowledgment. It’s Gratitude. It’s saying we got it – we will so get this again, thank you. Wow, you are awesome. And we are awesome as a team, a herd, a pack, a flock or a pride.
For some, it may be a meaningful grooming after a great lesson or class, but make it meaningful, make no mistake, our animals love to party with us. And Party can be jumping up and down or sending pictures to friends through e-mail – but let them know how proud you are. See Video
And to conclude… Tip #10: Creating a Safe and Sacred Place