All dogs have read Carl Rogers – Anonymous
Dogs have an inspiring presence and an ability to provide and teach love, unconditional positive regard, non-judgmental interaction, and empathy.
Dogs don’t care if you are old, or young, sick in body, or what you look like…they don’t let us feel different…they don’t care about your colour, your speech or if you are rich or poor, or where you come from. We benefit from their inherent kindness…our presence is all that matters to a dog.
Dogs live in the present moment and bring themselves into relationships authentically. They are highly attuned to human emotions and challenge us to stay congruent with our feelings when relating with them. In return, they offer us non-judgemental, honest feedback and teach us to be more aware of the connections between our mind, body, and emotions. Working with a dog promotes experiential learning and they become a mirror for our behaviour.
We all have our own personal life experience, which is unique to us. Our own worldviews, opinions and judgements have ultimately created the character that we are today. To have a sense or to even try to understand anyone else’s life experience is to see it through the lens of our own perspective; to make judgements based on our own experiences. Intruding our assumptions, opinions, or experiences would be overlaying our stuff on others. Humans come with an agenda, the dog doesn’t hence the mirror.
Given that dogs don’t speak human and only 7% of communication is verbal, people are able to concentrate on how they can use their body language to communicate, influence, build rapport and lead effectively.
In the same manner that young humans show empathy and understanding of the emotions of others, so do dogs. They can often reveal things about us that we are not consciously aware of and respond instinctively to the emotions of those around them. Working with such a beautiful, sentient being will allow you to tap into your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours.
Empirical research has found that human interaction with dogs can have positive physical results, such as decrease heart rate, decrease blood pressure, decrease stress, and can have a calming effect on participants. In addition, when people spend time around animals they report experiencing more positive self-esteem, empowerment, patience and trust.
We have found that this experiential learning experience has a very powerful impact on course participants and is an effective method for:
- Teaching teamwork, communication and leadership
- Helping individuals step out of their comfort zone, increasing confidence and self-esteem
- Improving relationships with loved ones and colleagues
- Providing a safe environment in which to address emotional roadblocks
- Developing new ways of interacting socially
- Providing challenging, fun and effective coaching
You will be surprised what a dog can teach you about yourself, things that you may not even be aware of! This is the beauty of animal assisted experiential learning – the dog is a powerful facilitator who quietly and without judgement, becomes our mirror.