Anyone who has ever debugged a program knows that you tend to see what you expect. I’ve learned that lesson a dozen times, in a dozen ways.
A classic example is to ask someone to read the following illustration aloud (don’t over-think it but when you’re sure you’re done, see the answer here).
Today, I got smacked in the face with the power of expectations. One of the best dog trainers I ever met recently recommended a new kind of dog harness to us; saying “you never tug or pull the dog; you just walk and it makes it more comfortable for him to come with you than to do anything else.”
So, we plopped down our $20 for a Gentle Leader Easy Walk harness, and then it sat in the mudroom for three weeks before I finally got around to trying it. I put it on and – wow! what a difference. Just like Jen said, no pulling, no tugging, I didn’t have to “correct” him at all (I hate being corrected, myself). It was really quite impressive until I got home and took it off him and found I’d accidentally attached his lead to his traditional collar, and the new harness had not been at work at all.
Lesson learned? For about 5 minutes.