Avoiding Stupidity


Relax — Ryder is already laughing!

It’s a good idea when training your dog to avoid stupidity. Gets you in trouble every time!

Okay, stop laughing. I’m serious! What do I mean by stupidity? I have two definitions.

1. Stupidity is not being prepared.

2. Stupidity is continuing to do something that didn’t work before, in the hopes that this time the outcome might be different.

First of all, about being prepared.

Some surprises I like. My husband giving me flowers for example.

But there are a lot of surprises that I don’t care for. Like opening up my bank account and discovering that the $500.- check that I forgot to write down has now posted. Or missing the next plane because the arriving Air Force One has closed my airport down.

Then there’s doggy surprises. Like arriving at a show and realizing that I have left home the one toy that my show dog truly loves (think “Busy Bee” from Best In Show). Not so much fun.

But realistically, though I can rail at the extreme unfairness of it all I cannot entirely prevent this sort of surprise, because it is caused by two things I can’t eliminate entirely:

1. At some point I will screw up.

2. Life happens.

So I try always to be prepared with a Plan B. Some fall back I can do if my premier idea doesn’t go as I’d hoped. Like who knew that my dog who loved that toy would also perform for the chicken hot dogs I had also brought — but he did.

On the other hand, other things apply to the second definition of stupidity. For example, when a puppy isn’t becoming potty trained no matter what I do, I know that there must be something else going on.

If you are working with your dog on some training activity and you aren’t getting anywhere in a reasonable period of time, you need to change tactics. Do this in a two step approach.

1. Look back at the original book or text where you got the training idea. The question to ask yourself is: “Am I doing this right?” (The answer can be embarrassing. See #1 above.)

b. If you were doing things correctly, it’s time to change gears.

If you don’t know what to do in training your dog and can’t get a good answer, ask me. I’ll help you find something that works. The answer is often simpler than you think.

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