When people read my book, listen to me in consultations, or attend my seminars, they are often skeptical of some of the things I recommend. In the end, because the method makes so much sense, they can’t help but come around; however, they may still feel resistance to doing what’s right and going all the way with the method.
I have spoken with many dog guardians in the last few months, both before the publication of my book and since. The method makes sense to people who are relieved to know that, finally, there is a different and truly helpful explanation for why they’re having issues and a way out of these issues. Yet, it is still very difficult to change, especially when the change involves working against notions that have become deeply ingrained in dog training culture.
Sometimes people want to be entirely convinced in their own minds before they dive in, and I can understand why. The changes are sweeping and they require counter-culture thinking, which can be very difficult.
This is why the Jerry Sternin quote above is so helpful. It validates the idea that changing our minds is harder than changing our behavior. Sternin advises us to “act our way into a new way of thinking” as opposed to “thinking our way into a new way of acting.”This means if you do the work of the Way of Life Method, gradually your thinking will catch up with your new habits. What tends to happen is that when my clients start to make changes, even simple changes, the dogs respond quickly, which motivates and encourages their humans. Their dogs are showing them that we’re on the right track, and this helps their minds completely adopt the program. One of the pillars of the method is the human’s mindset and relationship with their dog, and we want our mindset aligned in the direction of rearing sound, strong, and spirited dogs.