A Coercion-free New Year

First I wish a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you and your family. 2010 is almost behind us and a whole new year stretches in front of us. Traditionally this is a time for reflection so I would like to return to a subject that keeps surfacing as I travel around speaking to groups of other bird enthusiasts and also presenting our Free-flight shows. How poorly people treat … people.

As many of you know behavior science presents us with a chest full of tools and leaves the individual to choose the right tool for the job. I have written in the past about making the right ethical choice from the array of tools available to us and encouraged you to follow the principle encapsulated by Dr Susan Friedman … “Most Positive, Least Intrusive.”

The good news is that the number of people writing about and applying this principle with their animals is growing daily. I read articles across the spectrum of animal training and although their authors may not be using Dr Susan’s phrase in their writings the theme is there for all to see.  This is encouraging and reinforcing to see.

However, while human-animal relationships appear to be gaining ground in the application of this principle it appears that human-human relationships make little or no progress. It never ceases to surprise me to see one of my respected professional animal training colleagues apply this principle almost seamlessly with their animal collections and then moments later coerce a co-worker. Let us make 2011 the year we all apply the same coercion-free techniques to our animals and our friends, family, colleagues, and yes … the young woman at the checkout desk with 20 people in line!

Soar into 2011 and make your life a coercion free zone.


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