Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lessons learned the hard way

Most everything I know I learned the hard way! It is just who I am!  Over the years I have gotten use it and learned to accept that is how I learn best.  The hardest lessons usually leave the biggest imprint on my memory!

I honestly think that is true for most people…otherwise there would not be consequences for our actions! Think about it…we are hard wired to do things the hard way. Consequences have never bothered me much UNTIL AFTER THE FACT.  The threat of a consequence has never been as effective as the full action of a consequence!  How many times do we hear when we are out: ”STOP! DON’T DO THAT!  YOU ARE GONNA GET HURT!  I’M GOING TO TAKE YOU OUTSIDE!  YOU ARE GOING TO GET A SPANKING WHEN YOU GET HOME! “  The list could go on and on.  We learn pretty early when someone REALLY MEANS IT! 

It might be a look, a tone, or the general way they are holding their body…but something down deep knows when business is meant!  I have a big secret to share with you all….DOGS ARE FAR BETTER AT THIS THAN ANY HUMAN!  The smart dogs are the worst at this , they play us like a cheap violin!  I hate to say this but a ummm not so smart dog would never dream to think about doing something they were told not but a smart well they give you the “middle paw” quite often!


Some of them are quit EVIL about this!  This was how I learned this lesson the HARD WAY!  When I got serious about training dogs I had a little chocolate lab named Hooter!  Hooter, bless her heart, made me a dog trainer!  I read EVERY THING I COULD GET MY HANDS ON and this dog would eat the pages and spit them back out at me!  I talked and had private lessons with many a qualified professional and she left many of them scratching their head as well!  I am serious I tried everything that was ever recommended to me with this dog….but until the day this dog passed away when she decided she was going to mess with you she would and she didn’t care about consequences either!  In the end she was a pretty amazing dog in spite of how SMART she was.  

I know there are folks out there who think I am exaggerating this…but I can give you a list of names of those who have “Hooter” stories and who were outsmarted by this little dog!   This little dog was a physically tough dog!  At a field trial event she ran so hard and fast that when she miscalculated a jump she drilled herself into a ledge but got back up and went and got the bird.  When I went to send her for the 2nd bird of the double I could tell she wasn’t quite right and wouldn’t really focus in on anything.  She had a concussion!  I didn’t know dogs could get a concussion! When handling her to a blind once in awhile she would get this glint in her eyes (you knew she was about to middle paw you).  You would blow a stop whistling give her a directional cast and she would go the opposite way just to mess with you!  Hooter weighed 45 pounds soaking weight!  She also had the heart and fight of a badger!  She was not big enough to retrieve a swan in the proper way of grasping the breast so she would grab them by neck or feet and drag them back.  I once watched her DROWN a not quite dead bird before she brought it back!  Quit was not in her vocabulary!! Hooter drilled into me that no matter how well trained a dog is they are still going to be dogs and THAT THEY NEED TO BE DOGS!

Her daughter LOCO was not quite as tough as her mother but she still was to smart for her own good and she would gladly give you the middle paw!  After coming off of the line at a hunt test that she failed miserably by BREAKING (didn’t wait for me to send her) and then DRAGGING ME ON MY BELLY FOR 20 feet by breaking again on the honor on lead I listened to 2 professionals arguing over which dogs they would rather have to run than my dog! 

Fortunately what Loco and Hooter taught me was that is okay to have a dog that is not brilliant!  I am not saying that any of my other dogs have not been smart and amazing but I am saying that brilliance has its own problems!  Especially when it is combined with a sense of humor!

Folks we all learn lessons the hard way some are easier to swallow than others, but what is key is do we retain that knowledge! Do we not keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.  I hope you are more like me, Hooter, and Loco….find new mistakes to make and HAVE FUN WHILE DOING IT!  CONSEQUENCES BE DAMNED ONCE IN AWHILE it gives us something to laugh about!

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