Who Should You Learn From?

"It's a long road to wisdom it's a short road to being ignored." - The Lumineers.

This quote is one of my favorites and has left a lasting impression on me when I first heard it years ago. 

Over the last few years, social media and the internet as a whole have made it challenging to decipher good information from, well... bullshit! With all due respect. 

In this current state of computer programmer dog training, it's important to finely hone your bullshit ninja sword to meticulously carve your way through the weeds to find the gems. Marketing done well is powerful but, from what I see daily, I find it quite troublesome. Dog walkers teaching training, dog bloggers teaching dog park skills, and - have you been to the vet in the past few years? Try getting advice there. Everyone has opinions but I'd rather listen to the facts. And facts are created over time. 

I was studying with a world-class photographer the other day. This guy gets tens of thousands of dollars to travel all around the world shooting some of the most amazing people and locations. He said something that was powerful to me: "I can teach you everything you need to learn in a day. The problem is it will take you 10 years to master it. It's not knowing it's doing." 

That being said, I don't want to waste ten years doing it wrong, so I'd rather start slow and move fast later. Long game!

So here it goes: if I were Gary now talking to Gary 11 years ago, here are a few things I would want myself to know. My Uncle Gary has a famous saying in his line of work: "The Learning Curve Is Powerful." 

The mind-heart-body connection. Things happen for dogs in that order. A thought occurs, the heart races, the body responds the way it feels genetically and from learned experiences. So, you have to work that way to help the dog. If you make the rookie error of trying to control the mind through the body, you will have years of anguish ahead. Mind, body, then spirit. 

Don't be emotionally dependent on tools, techniques, or methodologies. 

It's important to discuss things with people who aren't like you. Don't just say you are open-minded, prove it. People who think differently than you have lots to teach - good and bad. I can remember vividly watching a trainer once and thinking: I'll never do that. I learned a lot that day from being open-minded and observing. When you talk, you say what you already know. When you listen, you learn. Don't be intimidated by other points of view. Be inspired to keep learning, articulating your message, and listen to their motivations and journey.  

Don't let fear of the unknown stunt your growth. Don't be scared to say something doesn't make sense. Don't be scared to say it's not working if you think you are doing it right. The search for a better way is more important to the end goal then the short term discomfort of your peer's opinions. 

Don't let ego control your actions. If something isn't working, rather then drawing a line in the sand and holding your ground be willing to explore alternatives to get the results you are looking for. People often fear their clients will be upset. Were you upset when your newest car increased its safety features? Of course not. People enjoy innovation. Use your constant interest to help and share to create a family of dog owners, not just quick money grabs. They might tell you that you're crazy, then they later they will ask how you did it.  Ego off.

Let dogs experience consequences. Discipline is important. If you touch the stove and it's hot, you got disciplined. How else will you know what hot is? You can only teach when there is an error. Many people avoid letting things happen because it causes them emotional responses they are trying to avoid. Consequences are important to learning.

Nature had a plan before human interference. What would that dog have been if no one confused them? Did nature make the dog in front of you, or was it learned from its environment? That's an important place to start. 

Wisdom only comes in one way - TIME. Remember the quote above. Enjoy what the journey has to offer. The ups and downs get easier to digest. Trying to move fast disrespects the craft. In other cultures, people spend generations and generations perfecting a particular skill.

Stay in your lane. Don't be blinded by people who recite something from a social media post someone else said, from an interview that wasn't even about the topic they are referencing. Don't compare your backstage to someone else's spotlight. That's one of the dangers of the filtered world we live in.

Be true to you, stay your path, and as my friend Teresa says: 


Off the Chain Resources

Check out Isabel, the sweetest Rottie on the planet, share a walk and what works for her

: I received lots of requests about how to add a donation button to Facebook, so I made a free video you can check out HERE

A short video: My belief in the importance of self awareness and it's role in the journey of dog ownership. 

: I often get asked what equipment I use to shoot and edit my videos on youtube. Obviously live videos are on my phone but here is everything else I use including iMovie to edit. 

: In 2018 I will be raising the price of my ebook to $79, so if you have been on the fence, please hit reply and ask all the questions you have. I'd love to answer them

Video: Why I Go Live. My Dog's Can't Embarrass Me. 

Head Rubs and Belly Scratches