Cris grew up around dogs and studied veterinary medicine, but found out that dogs don’t love vets and medicine wasn’t my thing. So she became a trainer and discovered a different kind of relationship, one that was much more fulfilling for both the dogs and herself.
After many years, she found a way to work with dogs and people that builds better partnerships. Now she is devoted to training owners and professionals so they can enjoy working with dogs on the basis of care and respect, that benefits both parties.
She started adult training within the framework of development cooperation projects in the Dominican Republic followed by work throughout Latin America and Africa. She learnt the importance of collective knowledge building and creating a friendly environment that allows everyone to learn at their own pace.
Sei Thai as a strategy to reach out to each person in the most effective way
How to get your clients to follow your advice
DEALING WITH CLIENTS USING SEITAI ©2017 Dogsymposium Holland
Dr. Cris Carles
Dog trainers don’t train dogs, they train people. Veterinarian and dog trainer Cris Carles explains why: ‘Very often, the dog isn’t the problem. Every time you have a client and you analyze the whole picture, you will see that what the dog is doing, is what he is more sensible to do – within his options. These options are the life we give him. It’s all about what the clients can deal with and what they can’t. So, people very often are the problem.’
Cris is a vet and a dog trainer. She loves dogs, so she went to vet school first. But dogs don’t like vets. And Chris discovered medicine is not her thing. So she became a dog trainer. Becoming a dog trainer is a never ending story: there is always something new to learn and experience. Not only about dogs, but also about human behaviour. And probably in the future, science will prove us wrong in the way we approach dogs as we do now. Many people love dogs, but don’t know much about them. Instead of communicating with dogs, they scare them most of the time. And at some point most dog trainers did too, because they didn’t know better at first. But most people are nice people that love their dogs, and don’t know better. To be able to train these people, dog trainers need skills to persuade people to do what the dog needs:
- Understanding human nature
- Choosing the right approach to each person
- Effective communication
- Persuasion and empathy
Taiheki concept of body tendency
There are several theories to group people in different categories. Hippocrates, for instance, distinguishes the Sanguine, phlegmatic, Choleric and Melancholic type. Carl Jung and later Isabel Myers differentiate 16 personality types. William Mouton categorizes the DISC-Dominant, influential, Steady and Compliant type of people. Ernest Kretschmerand and Claudio Naranjo are the founders of the Enneagram, which distinguished 9 types. Cris Carles’ way of training people is based on the legacy of Haruchika Noguchi (1911-1976). He established the Taiheki concept of body tendency and was the founder and teacher of Seitai, the properly ordered body. Seitai helps us telling someone’s personality by assessing body shape and movement.
Five Seitai trends
Noguchi described 5 possible trends in the movement of people, which depend on the alignment of the body (CVP axis, craneal-vertebrae-pelvis) and how the weight is distributed on the feet:
Noguchi found that these movements were related to psychological aspects such as emotional or behavioural tendencies. We can move in all directions, but in each person a tendency of movement predominates and the rest are used less often. The Taiheki of a person is the combination of movements used more frequently. Usually one is the predominant one and the others we use to a lesser extent. By looking at the movement of the upper and lower half of the body, you can determine which type of people you are dealing with. But remember: there are no pure types, we all have a combination of trends, our Taiheki.
A dogs body is shaped according to the function of each different breed. It marks a dogs behaviour. With people it’s the same: the way you move gives a different feeling. We associate more than 70 nonverbal behaviours to people with high or low power and our perception might be influential in real-life interactions (Carney, Hall and Lavonia Smith LeBeau, 2005, Pennsylvania). For example: power posing for 1 minute rises testosterone and lowers cortisol. The postures cause not only the feeling of being powerful, but the physiological changes that allow a more powerful behaviour (Carney, Cuddy and Yap, 2010, Columbia & Harvard). But the way a person feels, is very often not what we see by looking at the body movement. During Chris’ workshop several participants got to experience this ‘mind blowing thing’. They were invited to move in the 5 Seitai trends of walking. If a trend doesn’t fit who you are, the body immediately shows. The body doesn’t lie. It’s just the way we are, as a client and as a dog trainer. In human communication a dog trainer not only has to investigate his client’s Seitai, but also needs to be aware of his own Taiheki – his own energy.
Vertical people are thinkers
Vertical people are ‘thinkers’. Their body is shaped like a lollipop. Vertical people have a skinny tall body that stands very erect. They have a big head and long face. The movement comes from the head, it’s stiff, like hanging from a thread. Vertical people need to think, evaluate, understand and explain the world with their own words. They can’t take action without having reasons that are good enough. They may be quiet, but have a high linguistic ability. Vertical people are good at constructing and telling logics. And have fear of not being right, fair and losing their reputation, credibility. Vertical people wear plain clothes.
If a dog trainer wants to persuade vertical people to do something, for instance use of a harness or let their dog sniff, be aware that verticals care about ideas, data and technical information. They like to think, weigh and make the correct decision. Give them information, such as: criteria for choosing the right harness, advantages and disadvantages of different types of brands (dogs health, price, durability). And let them decide by themselves that following your advice is the more sensible thing to do.
Frontal people are doers
Frontal people are ‘doers’. Their body is shaped like a marathon runner. It’s fibrous and athletic. Frontal people have a robust neck that projects forward. The body is inverted triangle-shaped due to the narrow hips and broad shoulders. The movement comes from the shoulders: leaning forward, neck stretching out, in a hurry. They move a lot, can’t stand still. Frontal people have a desire to do something practical. They speak using many verbs, may not listen or get impatient. Frontal people have fear of not having a plan and wasting time. They wear comfortable clothes.
If a dog trainer wants to persuade vertical people to do something, for instance use of a harness or let their dog sniff, be aware that frontals like to do things, have a plan, obtain results. They care about useful, practical things. Tell them what type of harness they have to get, where to buy it and why it is more comfortable. Give them something to do and show this is practical for them.
Lateral people are emotionals
Lateral people are ‘emotionals’. Their body is curve-shaped, the abdomen stands out. Lateral people have a small head, slender neck and dropped shoulders. Their movement comes from the ribs. They walk like a penguin: bending knees, elbows go from side to side. Lateral people have a desire to communicate, be liked by others and be pleasant. They talk a lot, emotionally and mention lots of details. Sometimes they are fussy, and can go from euphoria to depression. Lateral people have fear of being alone, being vulgar or being ignored. They wear fashionable clothes.
If a dog trainer wants to persuade laterals to do something, for instance use of a harness or let their dog sniff, be aware that lateral people care about emotions, relationships, details and having fun. They don’t like to be left aside, and care about what people think about them. Tell them that a collar is choking their dog, and this is not the ideal relationship. Point out that harnesses are available in beautiful patterns and colours. Listen and give them attention, take care of their emotions.
Call them regularly and make the training and your relationship fun and enjoyable.
Rotatory people are ‘warriors’. They have a strong muscular body and look impressive. Rotatory people have big hips and a short strong neck. Their movement comes from the hips. The buttocks sway because each shoulder is being drawn forward together with the opposite hip. Rotatory people are rotating like a warrior. They may take your space, touch you, push you. Rotatory people have a desire to fight and win. They want to have the best, the newest. Rotatory people speak with a strong low voice and are often willing to argue. They have fear of losing, not having power, energy, health.
If a dog trainer wants to persuade rotatories to do something, for instance use of a harness or let their dog sniff, be aware that rotatories want to feel strong, healthy and have a desire to defend themselves and their families. They want to fight and win, and protect their clan against enemies. Tell them that a harness does not restrain the dog. It’s comfortable and makes movement easy for the dog; he is ready to react. A harness is the best, the newest. Your dog becomes more clever, ready for action, self-confident, more powerful.
Central people are care givers
Central people are ‘care givers’. Their body shape is rounded, compact, dense and wide. Central people have big and wide hips with protruding buttocks. The cervical curve is very pronounced. Their head is small, and the neck sinks into the trunk (like a turtle drawing its head into its shell). Central people move like they don’t touch the floor. They are floating, not moving the trunk or hips, central people only move their legs.
There are two types of personality: open and closed. Open centrals have feet that point outward (supports weight inside). They are communicative, friendly and are very good listeners. The open central people love everybody and like to take care of others. Closed centrals have feet that point inward (supports weight out). They are quiet, often unnoticed. It may look like they are listening, but mostly they are lost in their own world. The closed central people love and take care of their own people and friends.
If a dog trainer wants to persuade centrals to do something, for instance use of a harness or let their dog sniff, be aware that they like to take care, create harmony and make people happy. They love, spoil and protect their dogs and family. Tell them a harness is better for their dog’s health, is more comfortable and secure. Following your advice means taking better care of their dog.
Human interaction in dog families
Often the whole family is involved in a dog’s problem behaviour. Families mostly have the same bodies and energy, but each individual is different. You have to find the intersection between what needs to be done to solve the problem, what each of them is able to do better at and how to persuade them using your Seitai knowledge. It’s just of matter of who can do what.
In advance, prepare a list of the most common advices, such as: importance of sniffing, using a harness, stop throwing a ball or stick, use a long leash, walk slowly, don’t use a crate, don’t talk too much, stop hugging or touch the face of your dog, etcetera. Prepare an approach for each Seitai type of person.
Remember your clients are not professionals, they don’t know as much as you do about dogs. Don’t give too much information and be aware of your own Taiheki. Know from where you are talking, speak to your client from who you are and change the way you speak if necessary for the client’s Seitai. Your advice will be the same, but the way you approach your client can be totally different. Using the Seitai knowledge is all about learning how to persuade people to do best for their dogs.
© Images: Cris Carles