Distractions. Some are great for dog training, others not so much.

It’s an early summer morning. There is a slight breeze blowing, but not too warm , yet. You gather up your dog training gear, make your coffee, and get ready to head out for a great day training dogs. Before you head out, you decide to check your email. After that, you look at your watch, and decide to check in, real quick on Facebook. BIG MISTAKE! Before you know it, two hours have gone by, and you have just gotten into a rather heated discussion with other dog folks on a particularly touchy training subject. Your mind is reeling with emotion. It’s now too late to train outside, due to the heat, but you can run some training inside. It’s not the same as what you had planned, but at least it’s something, right? Maybe. Because of that rather heated discussion, you are probably not in the best frame of mind to be running any dogs.

My life is all about working and training dogs. Now, being (finally) retired from the USAF, I have that time to work and train dogs. So why aren’t we at that level where I feel we should be?

That very addictive thing we call social media is the big reason. I found that I was spending way too much time on social media, and it was taking valuable time away from my dog training. Most of that time was well spent connecting with old friends from the military, ‘networking’ with other dog trainers/handlers, and the rest just getting news, because I don’t have cable TV.

But even that time well spent, I was still spending at least 4-5 hours online; simply too much time, that could have been better spent training or planning out some good dog training scenarios! So I decided to get rid of all of my social media pages and accounts. I had a Facebook page for Phoenix Working Dogs, but that too, is now gone, or it soon will be. My social media pages have been scrubbed and are now scheduled for deletion in 13 days.

I did get some very good information off social media, and began networking with some terrific trainers, but that distraction issue was ever present. It’s way too easy to get distracted on any ‘hot button’ social issues, if you started reading comments, or got into a heated discussion. People on the Internet are just very brave, and feel safe saying anything they want to complete strangers. I call those folks “keyboard warriors.” They feel safe, and anonymous behind their keyboards, yet they would never, in a million years, say or do any of that to anyone, personally, face to face. Add to that, the use of smartphones, to take photos or videos of someone doing something, then plastering it on social media. But the big problem there, is that you only get to see 30 seconds or so of recorded, and often edited footage. You rarely get the WHOLE STORY! Then, the subject becomes a target of ridicule by all those other social media “keyboard warriors.” Rarely do we ever see the entire situation, including circumstances that led up to the recorded footage.

That is exactly what is wrong with our society! First, people receive poor advice from complete strangers on the Internet, without ever researching that advice. Second, they proceed to judge, or publicly humiliate anyone who disagrees with them, without knowing a thing about said person, or incident. And much of this judging, is usually based on a 30 second sensationalized video, or a short comment on a post, that rarely tells the WHOLE STORY.

We really need to be careful of what we take for truth, and subsequently share, on the Internet or social media, because we can irreparably damage someone’s character and integrity, all because of one ‘power hungry’ and insecure little “social justice warrior,” who simply wants attention for themselves.

I got rid of one social media app a few months ago, and things were going very well. But, I continue seeing the unfair judging and attempts at public humiliation, on Facebook, even though I keep my account locked down, and only follow a few ‘reputable’ pages. With that, I have decided to finally get rid of my Facebook pages. It’s been a long time coming, because it’s just so doggone addicting.

So here we are! Thirteen days and counting. Soon, my days will be filled with training my dogs, and my clients dogs, reading the many books that I have, and using the Internet to research things that matter to me, like dogs, their training, healthy canine diets, among all my other interests, as well as writing more blog posts on dogs and their training, and catching up on important news topics that actually matter to me.