By Dale McCluskey
Mind & Body Kinetics - Relational Dog Training Guide 2014
“ If we put all our faith and trust in appearances we can be deceived “ Dale McCluskey
The issue of objectification is one of the central interpretive themes within this relational model. Within this interpretative script the reasons why so many dog owners feel blindsided by an aggressive incident which seems to come out of nowhere starts to make sense. The reason why so many feel frustrated by a lack of results using certain methodologies and ideologies becomes clear. Like the narcissist whose motives don't match the relational disconnect which can happen if we are putting all our truth and faith in appearances. The reason why a dog is following and clinging to one owner while avoiding others is relationally motivated. The co-dependent dynamic this creates makes it very problematic at the intervention level. While the ability to self evaluate ones own level of relational misalignment is possible it is very difficult based on the psychology involved and relational disconnect.
The parenting model helps build the bridge with understanding and gaining insight into these difficulties. The ability to discern the level to which the owner is being objectified comes from putting behavior within the proper relational context. By adding objectification into the equation one can see what certain methodologies fail to have the type of impact needed to make a difference. For example getting a dog to wait or controlling resources often does very little to decrease the level of objectification while increasing the level of relational change. This type of waiting game plays directly into the hands of the power holding dog who is very happy to keep their distance. This type of approach allows the dog to remain out of the zone of direct influence and continue to hold onto power and position. When viewing through the relational lens one can see the dog objectifying even as they are made to wait in a holding pattern by the owner. This is where a physical and relational disconnect can happen with methodologies which make a dog wait for food etc. This is where waiting offers the appearance of good behavior from the level of physical response but may not represent relational change is actually taking hold. To test if the physical response represents the same relationally bringing the dog within the follower script will provide the answer. This is why follower moments are critical to ensure everything is as it appears.
Once a dog has gained a high level of power they will start to even disengage away from the objectified owner. While the dog continues to objectify the empowering possessive attachment is traded as the dog is rejecting even the possibility of being brought under any meaningful influence. Within this scenario the owner is unable to get the dog to accept the leash or be directed. This situation becomes one of managing and controlling a situation which has reached the tipping point. The solution is for the owner to begin to enter the dog's area within a leadership state of mind with the intent of bringing the dog within the follower moment script. Once this level of relational misalignment has been reached the owner must totally change how they think. Often dogs which reach this level because the owner is unpacking highly emotional baggage into the relationship. This is when the owner sees the dog as a wounded child who is suffering from some sort of past emotional trauma. Reversing course is possible with the right attitude and game plan. As the owner begins to enter the dogs area with confident leadership energy it acts as a counter force which begins to allow the follower moment script to take hold.