You know what I love about training and working dogs? Dogs don’t argue with you, they don’t try to ‘one-up’ you, and they don’t try to make you look like a fool; we do enough of that to ourselves. But as humans, we are so good at doing those things to others. And why do we do them? What does it get us? The only thing that I have been able to come up with, is that behavior is carried out by very emotionally insecure people, who lack the confidence and experience necessary to make it on their own. So, they behave like childish heathens, to try and sabotage others, who do have those qualities. In order to make it as a trainer, it’s a long road, full of hours of hard work and determination. And this is true of any field, not just dog work. But those insecure folks just want that instant gratification. They seem to feel that is beneath them to travel that same hard-fought road that so many others ahead of them have done. So, they try to sabotage others, to get rid of them, in order to make their own path easier.
I saw plenty of this over the weekend, however, this did not involve dog work, but it was still very much the same as what we handler trainers experience in so many ways.
The only sure-fire way that I have found to combat all this negative energy, which is exactly what it is, is to just ignore these folks, except when a true need dictates that communication is necessary. Yes, it makes work a bit harder, but we do what we must, to keep our minds clear and conflict free. To get into any conflicts with these folks, just saps our own energy and strength. And once that negativity takes hold of you, it is very hard to shake off, and get back to your normal state of being. Believe me, I have experienced this many times in the past. But now, I am a new person! I absolutely refuse to let negative people ruin my day, or training with my dogs and my clients.
When that negative person happens to be a dog training client, I will try and work with them, but when their negativity persists, I will turn it around to them, asking, “Why do you think your dog is acting this way” and “what should you do to correct the behavior?” They will respond with the inevitable, “that’s why I’m here, you’re the trainer.” Then I tell them, “exactly, and I have presented you with some viable options to try, yet you refuse to try any of them, opting for excuses instead.” Then I will give them a homework assignment. The handler who truly wants to be better, and have a well-behaved dog, will take the homework, work on it, and come back the next week. Their negative attitude has been replaced with a more positive outlook, and genuine attempts at learning how to train their dog. The “chronic complainer” usually just goes away, never to return, because someone chose to confront them on their attitude, which is exactly what it is!
That is perfectly fine for them to leave and not return, because people like that never really want any help. They just want to try and destroy anyone or anything along their path. Their negativity is usually realized by others, as shown in the productivity levels of everyone concerned. It’s very hard to constantly be confronted with negative energy, and not have it affect you in some way. I just don’t need that kind of negative energy around me. If you really want to be a true success in whatever you do, you must be true to yourself!