Does NLP work with dogs?

Linda Seren

Canine Behaviourist and Trainer

NLP & Colour Practitioner

At first glance, no. How could it? But then as a dog behaviourist and trainer rarely do I work with the dog itself; it’s far more about training the owners! So let’s dig a little deeper..

I educate people to understand their dog’s perspective and ‘speak’ canine to promote better interaction and deepen their co-operative bond. Naturally the dogs are already fluent in their own language ☺

Early on I believed I was simply a translator and while that’s true in part, I desired ways to improve my human to human verbal communication skills. Even further, to better read body language (largely how a dog communicates by the way) and understand subconscious patterning as I ask the owners to drive a behavioural change in themselves in order to change their dog’s.

Enter NLP…

I was fortunate to discover this exciting topic a few years ago and qualified as a Practitioner on the stunning island of Tinos, tutored by the equally stunning Eleni Sarantinou and Florence Madden.

Since then I have applied NLP techniques during consultations such as matching & mirroring to create Rapport plus the use of Metaphor. This enables the client to alter their subconscious patterns of behaviour and try something new.

For example, imagine a Sergeant-Major type, barking orders at his dog and getting no response or at best, a reluctant creature slinking toward him. I might suggest he request the dog to ‘come’ to him without using words. Once he’d finished stuttering at my absurd idea he might just give it a go. He would have to use eye contact and body language to covey his message, therefore potentially creating a new neuron pathway as the conscious minds explores a different approach. By asking the right questions we really can appropriate change and release conditioned habits.

It may be that this imaginary client has limiting beliefs about himself relating to insecurity and compensates for this in his manner and tone of communication. Regardless of why though, humans may be bluffed by a ‘commanding tone and appearance’ but not dogs! If communication is not coming from a place of quiet authority they instinctively sense this is not a convincing leader after all.

Most people adore their dogs and it is my goal to help them build wonderfully lasting relationships through respect and co-operation. As Stephen R. Covey said

‘Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication’.

So, by ‘speaking’ to dogs using our bodies and eyes minus a lot of the verbal, we are in fact mirroring, thus creating Rapport and ‘developing a climate of trust’ – evidence perhaps then that NLP does work with dogs after all!

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