Monday, 14 October 2019

What blind men and an elephant can tell us about living with Laird

In the last blog, I told you about Laird accidentally grabbing my hand (thinking it was part of a food wrapper) and struggling to let go. My hand was sore and a little swollen afterwards, but nothing more.

Our brains love to jump to conclusions, it's so much more comforting (and often efficient) to make an assumption rather than collecting yet more information.


Yet as the parable of the six blind men and an elephant shows, if we only have part of the picture we might make some pretty huge mistakes.

Here's what might have happened if I took the situation with Laird on face value, with a "dominance lens":

  • Laird is unwilling to give things up to me
  • He is stubborn, and does not respect me
  • Laird should have given the wrapper to me, and by refusing to let go of my hand it meant......

and so on...

Stepping back a little, and looking at the whole elephant (situation)

  • Laird was tired, so unlikely to be thinking clearly
  • The kitchen was dark enough it would be hard to see my hand underneath (!) the wrapper (and his beard)
  • On later examination, Laird had a claw split right down to the quick which probably happened on our afternoon walk, pain is well known to decrease tolerance and increase the chance of using an aggressive strategy
  • Laird has NEVER acted in this way before, or since
  • Laird has a history of struggling to give things up especially if he might be able to eat them

Did I have a dangerously dominant dog?

Or a grumpy, tired adolescent dog who was in pain and hasn't entirely learned to surrender treasure...

I hope you can see how badly this could have gone for Laird and I if I acted on that first set of assumptions!

A wee challenge for you
  1. Notice the next time your dog does something that you don't like, or find annoying
  2. And ask yourself why it might be happening?
  3. Don't use labels as 'reasons' (stubborn, stupid, doesn't listen)
  4. Do step back and look at the whole elephant....

I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts, and of course you're welcome to post in our FaceBook group with your examples or questions.

Happy thinking!

Morag, the Collie Girls and the Big Yin



(Freya and Laird showing off their new jumpers from Boo Woo)





Choose a Challenge for your Dog this weekend!


Unusually we have a couple of spaces left on some of our weekend activity workshops, up for grabs to the quickest fingers and keenest dogs.

Click the links for more information and book your space.

Saturday 19th October 13:30- 16:30
Parkour Progressions for Sensitive Dogs (S Rated for dogs that struggle around people/dogs)
PawPark, Sand Hutton

Parkour Progressions (S Rated)
 
Saturday 19th October 13:30- 16:30
That's not a sheep! Herding Dog Games
PawPark, Sand Hutton

Herding Dog Games

Sunday 20th October 09:30-12:30
Salvage Seekers -teach your dog to find your keys!
Sand Hutton Village Hall, just outside York

Salvage Seekers Book Here

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