A good friend asked me a simple but profound question, which was a huge aha moment for me…. the simplicity of the question gave me so much clarity and hit me like a sledgehammer….
I am currently working on a few big projects, which are challenging me for several reasons. It’s moments like this that make you doubt yourself and what you are doing. You question whether what you are doing is going to work, whether you are going to make it, whether you will achieve your goals or fall flat on your face. I had this same series of thoughts when ever I changed jobs, or even when I had a totally career change. This is part of the excitement of being out of your comfort zone. But can also be daunting and overwhelming.
This is a natural part of any change, growth and development as an individual.
The question was simple. ‘Why?’
‘Why’ are you doing….. You can fill in the blank with whatever issue your are currently struggling with….
The ‘why’ can be applicable to those of us that compete in dog sports, or simply your dog having a behavioural issue or your own ‘why’ you are doing something.
There is so many variations of the why.
‘Why is my dog chasing bikes?’
‘Why does my dog keep making mistakes in competition?
‘Why does my dog knock poles?’
‘Why does my dog react to other dog’
‘Why does my dog break stays’
‘Why am I out in the rain, training when other people are in the the dry and warmth ;)’
The list is endless….
But the ‘why’ often provides the answer and solution to any problem.
The ‘why’ might be simple, and staring you in the face. But sometimes the ‘why’ may take soul searching and work.
Identifying ‘why’ is sometimes the hardest part. It has been for me of late.
Identifying the ‘why’ means cutting through all the extra stuff, all the nonsense and getting down to the real issue. In dog training terms, this means dealing with the cause and not the symptoms.
Often the symptom is the ‘easier’ issue to deal with because its the most obvious issue. The dog that has a behavioural issue, it is the ‘easier’ resolution to deal with the symptom. The dog that lunges out, stopping the lunging is only half the solution. Stopping the lunging doesn’t deal with the ‘why’. The why, may take more work to resolve, it may take a more holistic resolution. The why may be because the dog is scared or fearful. It may need counter conditioning, it may need appropriate socialisation, it may have an underlying physical issue.
The ‘why’ can give your clarity. It can answer the core issue and provide a solution that will ACTUALLY work.
I often see dogs that have had the ‘symptom’ of an issue, being the primary focus of the training, but the why hasn’t been identified or acknowledge. This is a crucial step in gaining stability in resolving an issue that could have existed for literally years.
The ‘why’ may take a moment of reflection, and honesty. It may require you to face up to, or admit to a gap in your dogs training. Apportioning blame to the dog, the situation, a distraction or justifying the problem is essentially ignoring the ‘why’.
Taking time to identify the why, is crucial. Even the choices and path you choose to train your dog. Why have you opted to train the dog using a certain methodology? Why have you chosen that reinforcement? ‘Why did you deliver that toy in that manner?’. The ‘why’ should not only answer the above questions, but also answer the greater ‘why’… why are you even training dogs or why have you got THIS dog?
The answer to the why, can bring a great deal of satisfaction and peace once identified. Don’t ignore it, do the work and answer the simple question ‘why’.
For me the why provided direction. It gave me clarity to move forward and continue on the journey.
‘The universe has an amazing way of listening to you, and sending you exactly what you need, when you need it…. whether you want it or not….. So listen, and answer the simply question ‘why?’