Your Dog Doesn’t Care
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Your dog doesn't care about your feelings or what's going on in your life. Let me explain. I'll start by saying, yes I've seen support dogs and pets be cognizant of someone's emotions and well-being. This blog will probably feel like I'm systematically dissmantling that belief but I'm not. These animals are intelligent and have shocking levels of emotional IQ at times. What I'm talking about is specific to the sport of stock dogs. I've said it before, you can't hold grudges against you dog. They don't understand grudges and it leaves them confused by your cruelty. When I said that, I was talking about holding grudges against a dogs previous mistake. Yet that is only an aspect. In the training pen, your dog doesn't care if you had a bad day. They don't care that you got fired, dumped, robbed or whatever the case may be. Yet so many of us will take out our external vexations on things that weren't involved and don't deserve it. We've all done it. Snapping at your spouse because your boss has been difficult. Flipping someone off in traffic because you got in an argument with a parent earlier that day. The list of examples goes on. Now your friends and family may understand and forgive you but your dog simply won't. They weren't the reason that you had a bad day and even if they were, the training and the task comes first. The problem that is immediately in front of you is all that matters. That's how your dog looks at it and that's how you should to. I think it may be one of the reasons that this sport can be so addicting. Training is much like meditating, clearing your mind of thought and emotion except what the task presents. If you can't clear your mind, don't bother training until you do. But you better come back. Just as your dog doesn't care and doesn't deserve your external frustration; they don't care that you're busy. You can't blame a dog for lack of progress if you can't commit to the time it takes to train them. It's ok to be busy but that dog won't get trained and that's on you. They don't think "hey I finally am in the training pen, I better learn lots while I still can". Training dogs takes consistent, persistent effort. So you can't be as steady as you can be in your behaviour and you have to train them regularly. It's the only way for them to improve.