A difference of opinion

Dog lovers congregating on the beach in Connecticut. 

Opinion:  a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.  A personal view, attitude or appraisal.

The world of dogs is a controversial subject.  Depending on what is being talked about things can get pretty heated.  Bring up nutrition, vaccinations, rescue vs. breeder or many other things and people can go from very friendly to angry in a matter of moments.   We love our dogs don't we?   I love a good canine conversation.  I like to keep an open mind and take in what others have to say.  That is unless what they are spouting is utter nonsense; but even then I try to exit the discussion politely.  It is wonderful to see passion for dogs but if you really want to share you must learn how to deliver a message so that people want to listen.

I have been a dog trainer for a very long time.  Being a positive trainer is often questioned.  I remember one woman in a group class years and years ago asking "can't I just hit her?"  This was about her dog jumping and she had decided that hitting and kicking was the way to go.  She was an angry woman and sent me a red email (she had made the background red) letting me know that she was not returning to the class and wanted her money back.  The red email pretty much summed up the woman in general.  She was angry, thought she had the only opinion worth listening to and everyone else was pretty much a fool.  There is no conversing with people like this, so try to just walk away in this sort of situation.

Over the years I have learned how I best deliver a message so that an owner will understand and not become angry.  If I tell someone that they are an idiot and doing everything wrong they are just going to shut me out right?  You must use, kindness, tact and have a sharing of knowledge attitude.  Not I'm right and you are wrong.   Of course I can always learn more improved and better ways; you never stop learning.  Dog behavior is not a science; each one is different and each guardian is different.  So the approach is different for every one.

I have often been asked to teach children that they are going to be bitten.  When I arrive the Mother is telling the child that if they continue doing what they are doing that the dog will bite them.  This is probably true so I set to explain to the child and the mother what needs to be done.  I have sat at a kitchen table with a crying Mother more than once as the lack of supervision sinks in.  I make it very easy to ask questions and have an open discussion.  If they have a difference of opinion we discuss it.  There are times when I give way to the owners opinion and we work around that.  After all it is their dog, their house and their child.

This blog is my opinion; feel free to give me yours, but do not tell me that I am wrong or stupid.  I love nothing more than learning new things but when someone attacks an opinion in an angry manner; all learning ceases.  I share what I want and what I feel is important for others to know in the world of dogs.  Having just been through the puppy stage gave me a great wealth of "what I was going through" to share with you all.  Even if it was something very little (because Elsa is perfect) I shared.  Wink, wink.

Sharing knowledge is never a waste of time.  Perhaps the knowledge may fall upon deaf ears; but just maybe some of it will sink in.  My biggest goal is to get people thinking.  Don't just do because it has been done the same way for years.  Think, ask questions and research.  There are two types of people; thinkers and non thinkers.  Question everything, ask and listen.  But in the end it is your dog and you will do what you feel right for you and your dog; but don't just do, think.