I was listening to a short podcast with Seth Freeman on negotiation — “be hard on the problem, soft on the person” — and there was a moment that I just had to grab and share with you.
There’s a myth that without trust we can’t negotiate. But that’s not true, Freeman argues, because we often need to negotiate with people we can’t trust, such as enemies in war when we sue for peace. So we use trust mechanisms, to bridge a trust gap. And Freeman talked about meeting at a dance the woman who would become his wife.
How is it possible that I could go up to a woman who didn’t know me at all, in the middle of Manhattan, in the evening, put my arm around her and hold her close to me for ten minutes, without her spraying Mace in my face? And the answer is we had a trust mechanism present for us, and that was dance steps.
THIS. THIS. This is why we train routines and patterns and silly little games like targeting, so that our behavior is predictable rather than frightening.
So when my vet needs to check my dog’s eye or take a temperature or something, and my dog hasn’t got any kind of trusting relationship with someone he’s barely met, the situation isn’t hopeless! We can just use a trust mechanism, which might be a targeting routine or something else we’ve trained, which informs the dog that this isn’t an attack, this is a pattern that he already knows and can trust.
Can you think of trust mechanisms in your training, or even in your daily life?