Perhaps it is a lack of social skills on my part? I don't know. I do know I make the mistake of trusting everyone and have been hurt more times than I care to remember. Regardless, I believe that all people are essentially good.
In this journey with my dogs I have been learning so much about myself. How do I react to stress? Why am I yelling at my dog? What is really going on? What are my perceptions?
My friend Cindy & I have been reading a book called "Nine Secrets of Perfect Horsemanship" by Don Blazer. This book is not just about Horsemanship - it is about life. The 'secrets' in this book can be translated to handling dogs and your everyday life. Last night we were talking about a situation with another person that has been particularly painful and frustrating for me. Cindy brought up several things from this book that I can apply to this situation. One that stuck in my mind:
Practice non-judgment: It is not for you to judge whether any thought or action is wrong or right, is good or bad, is joyous or sad. Every event will produce emotions. The emotion must be recognized, experienced and accepted, but not judged.
Each event simply "is." You must see it for that and nothing more.
Do not label, name or take a viewpoint about any event. View everything as simply an event from which to learn, the source of emotions to be experienced, a moment in the process of moving toward your perfection.
Our perception is our reality. As humans we judge. We judge ourselves, our dogs, other people & their behavior. Our perception of their behavior is a judgment of sorts.
I believe in communication to resolve conflict.. Communication between individuals helps breach any misunderstanding, overcome erroneous perceptions. The only way you can resolve something is to talk honestly and openly about something rather than stew on it. If you have perceived something incorrect - only through communication will you be able to understand the other person. Anything else is cruel and counter productive.
If your dog is on the field and does something wrong with the sheep - he is not doing it to hurt you, or be disobedient. He is only trying to please you. It is our perception of the situation that governs our reaction to it.
Perception is Reality
Dogs are not vindictive, they are honest. They do not spread hurtful gossip. Oppositional defiance is not in our dog's character. They do not lie, cheat or steal (unless it is a really yummy bone, then that is up for grabs)! If your dog loves you - he loves you. You dog does not suddenly change it's mind one day, and decide they don't like you anymore. People do. I have received more bites from people than I ever have from a dog.
Too often my experiences with people pollute work with my dogs.
When my dog ignores me on the field, grips, takes the wrong flank, or does something else to frustrate me I need to remember - It is, what it is. They are not deliberately trying to frustrate me.
Instead of reacting: 1. I need to think, act and move slowly, deliberately.
2. Shorten things up, make it smaller - closer so I can better help my dog succeed.
3. Most importantly: Make NO criticism of myself or my dog.
4. I need to accept myself and my dog without judgment.
It is, what it is.
Remember that saying we all learned in grade school "If you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME?" Many times on the field I am assuming my dog is being disobedient when she is not. My perception is clouded by my life experiences. I assume that my dog's behavior is similar to that of a person. How very wrong I am.
Dogs are not negative, or judgmental
They are joyful
A dog's happiness is effervescent
They experience every second of life
A dog is perfection exemplified
A dog can bring peace to a wounded soul
We can learn so much from life with a dog - if you listen with your heart.
You have the power within to accomplish anything and if you follow your heart you will always know the right thing to do. This, however, does not mean you will always enjoy perfect days, blue skies, bright sunshine and smiling faces. No, your destiny is to experience everything so you will recognize perfection.
To know joy, you must know sadness, to know winning, there must be losing. Peace is only possible if you know chaos and relief only comes after the pain.
~ Don Blazer