The number one thing that both humans and animals need, above all else, is to feel safe.
While it may seem obvious that everyone wants to be safe, to survive, often that’s not something we offer our animals. Humans will give themselves a safety net of money. We lock our doors at night, make sure we have insurance to protect us from our mistakes, and install a smoke detector or two in our homes.
All this shows is our basic need and want to survive and feel safe. Being, or at least feeling, safe is the highest possible motivator for humans and animals – especially prey animals like horses.
Knowing this and taking a look at how we work with our animals, it becomes obvious that, as humans, we don’t always teach things that are essential to animals. For example, something that will keep, or cause them to feel, safe. Instead, we ask them for things and rarely give anything back in return – all purely selfish.
Most of the time, humans will train animals to do things because we want something: help at work (at a ranch, for example), to win a competition, impress some friends, and the list goes on. What are we offering our animal in return? What reason do they have them to offer so much of themselves up for us? Often times what we ask of our animals not only doesn’t cause them to feel safe, but usually puts them in some form of danger.
We tell our animals to do things because we tell them to, we’re their alpha, we’re the ones who feed them and provide water… But If we take the time to form a relationship, instead, what our animal partner will offer us will exceed your wildest expectations. What the two, or more, of you will be able to achieve will bring the best feeling in the world to your heart, because they will be working with you willingly and actually enjoy doing it. Eventually, they will even look forward to working, and playing, with you!
If respect is what you want, then show some respect to your horse or dog, or what ever animal you find yourself with. Don’t force them to do whatever it is you want at that moment. We, as humans, have the advantage here, but don’t over-use your power. You’ll find that your animal will get fed-up, just like you would be in their situation.
Treat them as you wish to be treated and remember that they want the same feeling of safety that you do!