More Lies.

Yesterday I said I was attending a two-day obedience seminar.

I lied.

I walked out.

I am incapable of silent complicity when things are simply not okay.

Let me be clear — different opinions are valuable! My concerns were not about different opinions.

In my world, hitting dogs to teach behavior is not okay. I am not alone in thinking that — see, for example, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s Position Statement about punishment by clicking HERE

I want to be respectful and thoughtful about what I say about that whole misadventure. Therefore, I won’t say much now because I am still processing.

But I left that seminar heartsick and angry, and reminded that the sport of obedience has a ways to go.

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A Training Challenge/A Human Challenge

A friend sent me this quote a few months ago…

Only when a mosquito lands on your testicles do you truly learn to solve a problem without violence.png

Violence is a loaded word. Nobody wants to say their dog training involves violence. The term, however, is defined as actions that are designed to hurt.

Humans are Story Tellers. We are masterful weavers of narratives that match what we want to believe about ourselves and others. We use words to create realities that allow us to exist with dissonance, that tension between things that do not fit or match each other.

I am a nice person who is good to my dog AND I hurt my dog when training.”

How can those things all be true?

When tension exists, we rewrite the story to make it all somehow fit together. Actually, we say, those things do not hurt the dog or we create justifications about not having a choice or the nature of the dog or so on and so forth.

So many excuses. So many justifications. So much cruelty.

Hey Sparkle — does a prong collar hurt?

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Hey, Sparkle — would you mind if I just shocked you a bit when you don’t do what I want?

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Hey Sparkle — how would you feel if I choke you to tell you I did not like something? The blood will come back to your brain eventually.

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If you woke up tomorrow and were incapable of doing anything the dog found unpleasant or discouraging in training — what would be different?

If you could not yell or say harsh words or choke, pinch, shock or strike a dog — what would you do instead?

You would think creatively about how to achieve desired results in new ways. In other words, you would simply train your dog.

I challenge you to do that — to imagine you are no longer capable of training a dog in ways that are hurtful or discouraging.

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Never, ever mistake a forgiving nature as permission to hurt another.