Welcome, Saturday morning! Coffee in hand, I prepared to greet the day. One puppy out, pottied and fed and now snoozing. Hana accompanied Cooper and I to feed the chickens and let them out. Cooper thought she was slightly more interesting today and tried to engage her briefly in play before running away. Hana chased after him, barking in protest! Boss has been out, as well, and will soon be loaded up for training. Saturday morning means schutzhund club. I am fortunate that I have only to walk a number of feet to accomplish that! The rule for the house dogs is that they must ride in the van, being loaded in crates, to go to training, whether it is 50 feet or 50 miles. Otherwise everyone would just run to the building or training field on their own. Tom is still sleeping,and rightfully so, as I heard him get up twice to let Hana out during the night. I made a nice, healthy egg-white omelet with green peppers for myself after taking care of dog duties and find myself with a couple minutes for contemplation.
Yesterday I received a surprise in the mail. A book arrived from Amazon.com and I couldn't remember ordering one, but since I love books, I was happy to open it up and see what I had forgotten. As it turns out, it was not a gift to myself, it was a gift from an old and dear friend, Doug Moore. Many years ago I helped him to train his detection dog. He has since moved, but both of us find ourselves as renewed Christians and Doug sent me a book with a note readig "Hope this book brings you inspiration in your faith! God Bless, Douglas Moore." It is a Joyce Meyer book called "The Confident Woman Devotional". It couldn't have come at a better time, as I struggle with trying to set an example to a young woman who has not been raised to Believe. In this world of Facebook and other media, we are also sometimes chastisted or cautioned not to put our Christian faith out there for fear we might "bother" someone who doesn't agree. This is who I am; if talking about my Christian faith means that you choose not to do business with me or be friends with me, I am very sorry. I am thankful that God gave me the gifts that I have, the talents and abilities, and that I can share them with you.
You probably wonder what in the world all that has to do with a dog training blog? Well, back to the Devotional, which I opened up to today's page and read "But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable (in itself alone) without (resorting to) boastful comparison with his neighbor." ---Galatians 6:4
Wow! Talk about timely! Myself and some of my club members are preparing to attend a training seminar with Debbie Zappia next weekend. My "show off" dog, Cooper, is injured and can't attend. I am already entered with Boss, the dobe, and am left to consider who else I might bring. Boss's owner might attend, and I worry that Debbie will be critical of where we are at in training, and have the owners think badly of my work. I have been weighing who I will learn the most from as opposed to which one won't totally embarrass me!! Hey, I'm the trainer, right? Do I want to look stupid in front of the people who look to me for advice? No! So my mind starts to wander to the fact that my work will look better than someone else's. Instead of taking joy in their progress and accomplishment, I begin to compare. If only I had a fully outfitted training center building, THEN I could accomplish more. If I was married to a world-class helper, or had a top-notch dog that all the helpers wanted to work, they would flock to me. I have found that little seed of jealousy in comparing equipment, or a super nice dog, or even training buildings and have to get a grip on that and appreciate what I DO have, not comparing with anyone else.
So the words in the daily Devotional were particularly meaningful this morning. Let it go, kiddo. Look to my own work and take satisfaction in that. I am indeed very pleased with the progress of the dogs I am working. I know where we need to go with our training, and how important the milestones are on the way, even if someone else if farther along. We can apply these words to many aspects of our life, I'm sure. There will always be someone else who has more, does more, wins more. It doesn't mean they do not have their own struggles and to lift them up with praise might be the most important thing you can do. Learn without feeling bad for things you don't know. Praise genuinely, both people and your dogs. Test your own conduct first, and take joy in doing something commendable. Because God said so.
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