Biological Fulfillment; Fight the Resistance
In the dog world, the term biological fulfillment is being tossed around like candy free falling from a busted open piñata on a Fourth of July backyard party. More and more articles and Facebook posts are flooded with the general overabundance of the word, and it seems as though the concept is starting to be applied to things that the definition doesn't necessary fit. It's become quite the "fad" lately.......and that sucks. Don't get me wrong, I am so excited to see that this idea has become more popular and well received by everyone, but I am slightly bummed about the misused application to anything and everything.
With my CRT program, biological fulfillment is a benefit for the troubled dogs that I tend to work with. I've seen resistance training do wonders for dogs with behavior problems. But, why? Everyone immediately says biological fulfillment--and they are correct to some degree. Ask them what that word means---and now only a handful can give you a answer. A lot of people try to summarize the idea of fulfillment and say " well my dog needs a job" or "Fido needs to work and this provides an outlet". I disagree with the exact literal meaning of this. Your dogs weren't put on this earth to entertain a career for which they get paid in kibble. I believe your dogs aren't meant to be lazy overweight couch potatoes whose only purpose is to sit in a purse or serve as an accent to a European imported rug. If left to their own, they'd cover hundreds of miles with a nice social group. They would hunt vermin, frolic and chase one another when they stopped to take a break. The scents of nature would carry their curiosity for miles. How much of that do we actually allow them to do?
Obviously, we can't let them roam the neighborhoods or trot through downtown city streets. We find activities that act as surrogacy to the meet the needs of the dog. Part of this, is finding WHAT fulfills your dog--and that is an individualized process. One dog may not find scent work satisfying, yet another loves to herd sheep or smell for rats in hidden tubes. We try to fulfill their biological needs---but we must first even determine their needs. Not the activities we want them to enjoy. Physical fatigue is not the same as fulfillment. Expending all of a dog’s energy will not make them satisfied for the long term. CRT is a form of low impact exercise...and I don't know about you but exercising makes me tired....yet it isn't WHY I do it every day. I don't advocate for people doing CRT to use it as a method to tire your dog out, and then watch his troublesome problems disappear. That isn't satisfying any biological need.
If you read this far and thought "great, I knew that, thanks Ashley"...... that's awesome! Some of you may be finding this brand new information or just clarifying an idea you were unsure of. But I bet when I say my Canine Resistance Training (CRT) training program has biologically fulfilled troubled dogs--you either think that's a lie or are left wanting to know more. Either way--- read on.
Ever remember hearing about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? If you have, you will begin to see where this unfolds. The hierarchy isn't thrown around the dog world (as it should be) so much as it is in college level psychology courses. The application is what is important however, and every being can be applied to this chart. Fur or no fur. The bottom of the pyramid is self explanatory. In fact, you can receive cruelty charges based on the lack of those physical needs. It is the same for children and neglecting their basic needs. There are councils in legislative bodies who continue to govern and strive for animal betterment. Easy, simple.... still not "biological fulfillment".
Move up a couple of levels and we get to the top where it says " self esteem" and "self actualization". Let's focus there. Behavior cases range from severe aggression to super timid, and varying degrees in between. Each dog is individual and his or her specific biological needs are different. The fearful dogs gain self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment little by little, and begin their adventure on becoming the best version of themselves. People tend to understand the concept there when it comes to fearful or shy dogs and how CRT can cause overall increase in confidence. But, the reactive dogs are often left with few activities that fulfill them internally. We frown upon our canine friends willing to bark, bite and lunge at other people, dogs, or even bikes (and with good reason). We fight with them however; we add tools to correct the nuisances in hopes to “fix” them. Some dogs are built with a higher propensity for conflict, whether it be caused by circumstances or genetics. If you haven’t checked out Jay Jack and his Next Level Dogs blog about conflict, be sure to do so.
Canine Resistance Training-CRT provides a place to put their frustration they have been harboring, while fulfilling their need for conflict. Their self esteem derives from their desire to overcome the conflict, or in their case (the resistance). I put a Nietzsche quote on my CRT website not just as a metaphor, but because fighting the resistance is fulfilling. The sense of accomplishment felt when put against a challenge only gets us higher in the hierarchy of needs. Dogs who have a desire for conflict--need it in their lives. If you don't give it to them, they will find it....somehow and somewhere. Now, I am not saying you should allow your 80lb lab mix to chase and terrorize the neighbor's yorkie...... that's irresponsible and stupid. But, recognizing that your dog has these unfulfilled desires and acknowledging a proper place for them--that's in your dog's best interest.
Read the following quote (maybe three or four times):
“Happiness is the feeling that power increases--that resistance is being overcome”—Friedrich Nietzsche
Biological Fulfillment is overused too often. Knowing what it is, what it is not, and how to apply it to your dogs is crucial. My CRT program is not just a way to exercise your dogs and a way for their body’s to grow stronger, but also a way to fulfill their internal desires. Self-actualization is the sense of masterful and empowerment, but we can’t have those things for our dogs unless we allow them to become. We must accept them, begin to appreciate them for what they are and help them fulfill their goals. You'll probably see the phrase Fight the Resistance at some point if you work with me or are doing any CRT work. I put it on t-shirts, post it to social media, and make mention of it whenever possible. The nature of the training that the dogs do, it's easy to figure out---the idea that self actualization and betterment occur with resistance; Canine Resistance Training is fulfillment at it’s finest.