Can you imagine, I know this is going to be hard but bear with me, can you even begin to imagine if we applied our positive reinforcement training to people with the same fervor as we do with our horses?
I’m not talking about TAG teaching or other purposely applied principles of teaching.
Instead, what if in our everyday interactions we remembered that rewards work better than aversives and that kindness is always the answer?
In real life it can be a little easier.
If we have to see a person in person every day we remember to be polite, most of the time. It would be embarrassing to have to look someone in the eye the next day after telling them everything they are doing is wrong.
On a computer we sit in solitude critiquing some stranger online that we will never have to interact with in person so we tell them enthusiastically every little thing they may be doing wrong. We take glee in being catty and mean. Differences that may not make that big of a difference if we knew the person, well, personally become arguments, battles of right vs wrong.
If we did that in horse training we would be earing our horses down and spurring them to a stand still. They might eventually stop bucking but they wouldn’t be convinced our way was right and they wouldn’t want anything to do with us ever again.
Instead, with our horses, we reward the good and ignore the unwanted, knowing that behaviors that are rewarded will be repeated while those that don’t gain anything will fade away.
What if the next time you saw someone being brave enough to share a video on Facebook instead of tearing apart the things that are so dreadfully wrong, or at least not exactly the way you would have done it, you looked for one thing that was good. Even if that is how nice it is that you kept that ride short!
Would the person notice what they are doing that is good? Would they seek more compliments?
The one things that’s guaranteed is that they wont change the things we don’t like because we attack and demean them. Nobodies mind has ever been changed that way. It is far more likely to cause them to dig in and refuse to consider another way. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/…/5-step-recipe-opening-peo…)
People are willing to consider new ideas from people they can relate to. People who are kind and have said nice things.
I’m not saying that we should ignore blatant abuse or starvation.
Not that being mean to those people online will help either. Most rescues will tell you the how hard it is for them, and what great pains they go to, to be polite to a person with starving animals in their pasture in order to get those animals out safely. It works far better than telling them what they really think.
So what do we do when we see wrong? If we never let people know there is another way how will anyone learn better?
Wrongs, real, hurtful wrongs, should be righted. We should fight hard to defend the ones who can’t defend themselves, to speak up for those with no voice.
Helping out at rescues, offering assistance, kindly, teaching, helping, all things done in kindness, might be ways to get started.
Bad mouthing and demeaning others online will never truly help solve any problem.
- The Show Experience