It seems there is a lot of talk about Life Skills lately. According to a recent TV advert, even Banks think they are a good thing. But what are they?
In a nutshell, Life Skills are the behaviours we all need to help us cope with working, playing and living harmoniously as individuals and in families, groups, communities and our world.
For instance, this blog looks very different to the one I wrote first but lost just as I was about to hit the 'post' button, when my computer decided to update without warning!
The Life Skills of Frustration Tolerance, Self-Control and Managing Disappointment were very much, though unconsciously called upon as I realised that my writing had simply disappeared. Having at other times in my life experienced frustration and learned to deal with it, I knew what it felt like and was better able to cope with it in this situation.
I was also able to exhibit a certain amount of self-control. I won't pretend I didn't allow a small naughty word to slip out under my breath, but that's all it was. I didn't shout out a torrent of expletives and bash up my computer. Once again, having in many other and different situations experienced what it's like to practice self-control, I know how to 'do it' at a time when my emotions were running high.
Certainly, there was also an element of disappointment which needed managing, another Life Skill which helps us to view things differently when things don't go our way. I was able to turn the 'problem' into a challenge and start writing again.
Possessing Life Skills doesn't mean we never experience the emotions that arise when we're faced with things that challenge us, but it does mean that we learn to cope with life's challenges better. Life Skills make us more resilient.
What does all this have to do with dogs?
I've recently returned from The Puppy Conference, three days of listening, talking and hearing about puppies. Amongst the many excellent speakers were two people I greatly admire in the world of puppy education. Dr Helen Zulch who devised the concept of teaching Life Skills to puppies, taught at the University of Lincoln Animal Behaviour Dept and Sian Ryan (TV series Me and My Dog) who has further developed Dr Zulch's concept by incorporating real life scenarios into Puppy Life Skills education. These are the concepts we follow at Four Paws Body & Mind.
Much is expected of our dogs, we all want our dogs to be well behaved and to fit into a multitude of different lifestyles depending on what we do for work and relaxation. It might surprise you to know that many of the Life Skills we teach puppies and dogs are the same as those we humans need, such as frustration tolerance, self-control and managing disappointment!
In our classes and training packages, dogs and owners learn how Life Skills that they have learned in calm training sessions, transfer into real life situations, helping dogs to make good choices and cope better when they are situations they might find challenging, such as visiting the vet, having to settle down in the pub or café or when visitors call at the house. Without talking too much science (which is important by the way), teaching Life Skills for Puppies and Dogs makes them more resilient, better able to make good choices and develops the behaviours that enable them to effectively cope with the challenges of living in 'our world'.
And its not just the dogs who learn, owners learn how dogs communicate their feelings and when someone understands their dog better, they can build a stronger bond and enjoy the time they spend together. So why not take a look?
Bookings are now being taken for Puppy Life Skills Classes starting in March-Wednesday evenings 6pm in Freshwater and April-Friday evenings 6pm in Arreton.
Also available: 1-2-1 Life Skills training packages for puppies and adult dogs.
Please call: 07487 273580 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org