Relationship

Men are not such ‘bonga fish’ that can’t be bent

Men are not such ‘bonga fish’ that can’t be bent

It is a fact that the average man has irritating habits that put your back up and make you feel like climbing the wall in frustration. Habits like leaving the toilet seat up with his wee all over it; hanging out with his mate most of his spare time or snoring.

The good news is that he is just as vulnerable as that dog of yours. Remember how long it took you to train the dog to eat off your palm? Well, you can do the same thing with your bloke!

According to the writer, Amy Sutherland: “Men have a lot in common with wild animals such as dolphins, hyenas, and baboons.

You can, therefore, domesticate your other half by using the same methods deployed to train these animals to perform tricks.” She said she made her discovery while researching a book about a school for animal trainers.

She spent a number of months at Moorpark College in California watching students learn how to train baboons to skateboard, elephants to paint, and dolphins to flip.

She had found herself constantly moaning at her husband for throwing dirty clothes on the floor, leaving used tissues around, and always being late. According to her, “It hit me that these techniques might work on that stubborn but lovable husband of mine.

“The main lesson I learnt is that I should reward behaviour that I like and ignore behaviour I don’t. Seeing my husband as a dolphin in need of training, I thanked him whenever he threw even one shirt into the linen basket instead of pestering him about his clothes lying around.

The more I praised him, the tidier he became. And, when he misbehaved, I simply withdrew my attention”.

But could it work on your partner too? UK dog trainer, Anni Clayton believes it can. She says: “Humans and animals learn in the same way. When I’m training a dog and he does something right, I make a clicking sound. He learns it’s always the same sound and it means a reward is coming.

With my husband, I don’t have to use a sound. I indicate a dirt sock, he moves it and I reward him with a big smile.

“When an animal is good you usually reward them with food. If your husband clears the table after dinner, your good humour is his reward. Another technique I learned from the animal trainers is known as “teaching an incompatible behaviour”.

This means teaching your man to do something else in place of whatever it is he usually does that bothers you. I came up with things for my husband to do that stopped him from getting in my way when I cooked.

To lure him away from the stove, I piled up cheese for him to grate at the other end of the kitchen or any other simple chores.

“I began to analyse him as if I was an exotic animal trainer. Trainers learn all they can about species, from anatomy to social structure. They try to understand how it thinks. Does it like to be part of a herd or is it a loner?

“I decided that my husband was both a loner and an alpha male. So, hierarchy mattered, but being in a group wasn’t so important. Skiing came naturally to him but being on time didn’t. After two years of animal training, my marriage has fewer ups and downs and my husband is more loveable.

“Thinking of him as an exotic animal makes it easier to accept his faults. So, a pile of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor is just a pile of dirty clothes  – not a sign that he doesn’t care enough about me”.

But, she warns, there is some behaviour that you can’t train out of your husband. “You can’t stop a badger from digging and you can’t stop my husband from losing his wallet and keys”.

Vanguard News Nigeria



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