Thanks for agreeing to take part in my little experiment!
There is just one easy question and no personal information will be taken, not even your name.
Scroll down to begin. Good luck…
Scroll down to reveal the initial results and what it all means!
Thank for to everyone that let me experiment on them with my naughty quiz!
So here’s what it was all about! If you got the question wrong, then you are in good company – 89% of those that took part chose 2 as their answer. But this wasn’t a test of intelligence or memory, it was a demonstration of how your mind works.
When I placed a time limit on the answer I forced your reactive brain to take charge and answer the question. Your reactive brain isn’t very thorough. It makes a lot of assumptions and is quick to make decisions – it’s ok, it’s meant to. Your reactive brain is there to keep you alive – not analyse data! So when you read the question your brain skipped over some, or probably most, of the information given. It drew a quick conclusion which made you pick answer 2.
I wonder how many of you re-read the question after the time was up and realised what the correct answer was? By this time, the urgency had gone and your thinking brain had taken over. It is much slower and more methodical than your reactive brain. Your thinking brain gathered ALL the information that was offered, analysed it carefully, and probably come to a different conclusion!
So how does this apply to dog behaviour?
Your dog has a reactive brain and a thinking brain too. When his reactive brain gets switched on, he, like you, will not be rationalising the situation. He will not be taking in all the information available, instead his brain will make quick decisions based on very little information.
People often ask me to explain the bizarre things their dogs do when they are reactive, and this is it! There is no rational explanation, it doesn’t have to make sense!
I got you to switch on your reactive brain by adding a sense of urgency. But lots of things can trigger it like hunger, anxiety, fear, needing the toilet, bad news, a perceived threat, pain, a sudden noise, being half asleep, having a ball thrown to you, and so much more!
Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night, panic stricken at the sight of the creature from Alien standing in the corner of the room. Only to realise, a few moments later, it was just your dressing gown hanging weirdly on the back of the door? That’s your reactive brain, it was triggered by being half asleep. It made a snap decision and initiated your fight/flight instinct. If it had been right, it might have saved your life – which is what it’s for. In reality, you put the dressing gown there before you went to bed and your thinking brain was able to figure that out.
Back to “the question”…
If I had asked you to take your time over it, I’ll bet more of you would have answered the question differently. You would have probably noticed that I had mentioned Moses instead of Noah. And, you would probably have known that Moses didn’t have an Arc, and if he did, he certainly didn’t march any animals onto it, two by two, or otherwise!!
So when working on reactive behaviour, you can see why the emphasis is on keeping the thinking brain switched on, and the reactive brain switched off. This way he’ll make better decisions by himself. Trying to work with a dog that is already triggered would be like trying to negotiate with a toddler! Much better to keep them out of that zone so they can learn what you want them to do.
Thanks for taking part and helping me demonstrate how the reactive brain works. Hopefully, anyone with a reactive dog will have a little more sympathy for the illogical things they get up to – and us too!
And, sorry to 89% that cursed me when they realised what I’d done!
How can I help you with your dogs behaviour training?
Private Dog Behaviour Consultations are currently available in the Dundee area and beyond. If you are looking for help solving your dogs behaviour and training problems, then please get in touch!