“Weak mind, weak fist; strong mind, no need for fist” –Shaolin saying
Uh-oh, dog trainers who promote shock and pinch collars, use of punishment, theories of dominance, or any other kind of compulsion training method.
I’m not suggesting you’re weak-minded.
Martial arts experts from ancient times through today are.
And not just martial artists. Because Shaolin is actually from the Chinese Buddhism family – quite similar to Zen Buddhism from Japan. Even by Buddhist standards, you could use more mental tenacity.
Next time you want to recommend compulsion training methods for your canine clients, think about what that says about you. Or if you’ve contacted a trainer for help and they promote any of these methods. How much mental strength do you think they have? That is to say, how much creativity, patience, empathy, compassion, observation ability, and so on … all of the things you want from someone working with your special furry friend.
Only a weak mind resorts to using the fist—or, more broadly, physical force. Strong mind, no need for physical force.
Believe me, I know how easy it is to resort to harsh tactics when dealing with a stubborn dog. I haven’t always followed this sage advice, and with horrible consequences for my pit bull, Roxy.
So, how do we – not just trainers, but everyone – develop a strong mind so we don’t need to fall back on physical force or compulsion training?
Learning to perform with calmness under pressure is the whole point to meditation, yoga, martial arts – the whole point to life, in my opinion. Definitely, it’s the key to working with a dog exhibiting troubling behavior.
How we learn to do this totally depends on our personal preference. But the onus is on us to figure it out. Perhaps our troubled pets are here to help. Compulsion training methods rob us all of the chance to find out.