If you work with people to train their dogs, it’s inevitable that you eventually are going to run someone who just doesn’t seem to want to do what you are suggesting. Sometimes it’s because they have a prior belief about training and – like all of us – they look for evidence that supports their beliefs and reject or ignore anything that doesn’t. So be prepared to leave some leave-behind materials with several links to credible third-party information. ScienceDirect provides access to over 2000 academic science and medical journals and is a good place to start.
But sometimes people just do not seem motivated. There could be any number of reasons, but in many cases there they stem from a more unconscious factor. In our previous article we discuss psychological reactance and how it can undermine client compliance to a dog training or behavior program. In the next series of articles we outline a process that can help with that.
Before you start this process it would be good to get your client’s permission to ask these questions. You can be completely transparent about why you are taking your clients through the process. It will not effect the outcome.
Step 1: Reestablish your client’s freedom.
Remind your clients that they don’t need to do anything that you tell them. And truth be told, they don’t. You know they are free to accept what you say or reject it even if there are consequences. Communicate that. Of course, you believe in what you are teaching them, but ultimately the choice is theirs.
You may worry that giving permission to reject what you have to say will let them off the hook and they won’t do anything. The truth is if they really don’t want to do it, they won’t. No amount of convincing will change people who do not want to do it. The thing is, you could just as likely push them into refusal simply by trying so hard to convince them they should. If anything this process can uncover whether this is a real concern and then you might be able to work out a different solution.
You may also think there is no need to do this step because you are not intimidating and certainly will never push anyone into doing anything they don’t want to do. However, most of us come with baggage that is carried over from somewhere else, whether it is pressures in the family, from friends or in the workplace. The benefit of giving them their freedom, or reminding them they have freedom here is that they will feel less threatened. The result is that they are more open to truly considering what you have to say, instead of thinking how they can’t do it or how overwhelming it may be.
You can read more about how to restore people’s autonomy here: Instant Influence: How to Get Anyone to Do Anything–Fast
If you want to learn more, check out Instant Influence: How to Get Anyone to Do Anything–Fast. Panatlon discusses in much more detail the language that can help or undermine motivation, how to influence people who don’t want to change, how to identify change and when to move on, how to make an action plan, as well as a whole lot of suggestion on how to deal with various responses.
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