I want to take a second and answer a question that I get often and it’s based on Simon Sinek book Start with Why. The question really is “why do you need a trainer or behaviorist to help you.” It’s a really important question and this graph will help explain why it is important.
On one side we have the “challenge.” Ten represents that it’s nearly impossible. On the bottom we have “skill.” Ten represents that you know your 10,000 hours and are a complete expert.
Let's say where we're working with you and your dog on a “sit” and for a lot of people, they've seen a “sit” done and they kind of know how it
it works and of course a dog already knows how to sit so it's pretty easy. The skill level is pretty high and, for most of you, you know the challenge is pretty low because you've seen it taught and your dog does it already so you end up on the graph at a high skill and small challenge.
When we have something much more challenging, like aggression in dogs, it's a serious problem. The challenge is very high. Most people have an aggressive dog, most have never dealt with it before. They don't know how to deal with it so their skill is probably very low. What happens when you have something that's too big of a challenge and you don't have the skill? What happens is there's a lot of anxiety and there's a lot of overwhelm and when you have these two things going on what usually happens…you quit!
On the opposite end, we have the “sit.” When your skill is high and the challenge is low, what usually occurs is boredom. When you're bored and your dog is bored. What happens…you quit!
What's important about these two areas is when you're living with anxiety and overwhelm, you can't do it for long because it is very difficult. What I see many times is when you're anxious and overwhelmed for too long, you feel like you have to get rid of your dog.
When you bored, and you quit, you basically say to yourself “I'll live with it.” Living with low skill or small fixable behavior can go on for years.
My job is to assess your “human” ability, and also assess your dog's ability and aptitude, to learn. When we're working together, I can help place you at a point your skill and the challenge “live” within a channel.
When your dog's ready and when you're ready to increase the challenge and when you're ready and your dog's ready to increase your skill, we move through a channel that one psychologist called the “Zone of Proximal Development” and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “The Flow Channel.”
When you match the skill and the challenge. You are not going too fast, you’re not increasing the challenge too quickly and the skill you're learning is not beyond what you were able to do.
What happens…you WON’T QUIT.