Using NLP with Animals - NLP Article by Jonathan Altfeld

I used to own a German Shepherd (Zoe), and I frequently explored how much NLP-based behaviors and actions affected her. And NLP works wonders with dogs! For example, after returning home from a long trip, when it would normally have taken her 30-60 minutes to calm down after seeing me, I found I was easily able to pace & lead Zoe into a sleep state within 10 minutes of my arriving home from the airport. And there are lots of other opportunities.

Just as classical conditioning can help a dog to learn that a word is associated with an action or an object, we think of an NLP anchor as some stimuli/stimulus which is associated with a response of some kind. So just as we teach a dog how to "sit", we teach our brains how to repeat a response through an NLP anchor. It's the same thing, basically, at that level.

It turns out that not only are dogs good at learning new tasks or actions, while you give the command or associated-word, but they're extremely good at associating words with actions they already do. Much like, e.g., when they stretch in the morning. As Zoe was growing up, before I knew about NLP, I played this sort of 'trick' on her:

As we were waking up, I'd wait until she showed signs of going into a stretch, and I'd go, "Zoe, Streeeeeeettttttchhhhhh" until she was done, and then I'd close the word "stretch" off. 3-5 times later, I could say "streeeeeetch" in the morning -before- she showed her usual indicators of heading into the stretch, and sure enough, that induced the stretch.

I was once asked whether or not NLP could be used to help heal injured dogs. To frame the possibilities in NLP terms, you'll have to judge what's possible for your own animals, based on the natural extension of movements an injured animal is already doing. But it might be useful to anchor the current level of movement, and then carefully escalate their frequency (and of course, the animal's flexibility as well) by firing the NLP anchor more & more frequently! For safety's sake, I'd really want to be as sure as possible, first, that the dog was ready to begin extending its range of potential movement.


Jonathan Altfeld

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