What makes a person a good dog professional?
A dog professional works with dogs in any capacity.
What makes a good one though?
There is one definite, absolutely defining thing I believe makes an excellent dog professional It might not be what you think.
Is it kindness? No - though of course we should all be kind.
Is it positive reinforcement, no it’s not. But yes, undoubtedly, we should embrace force free living with dogs.
Is it being great with a clicker, no, but that helps – and of course it looks great (if that’s your kind of thing – it’s not really mine) and helps dogs understand what we are saying (which is definitely my kind of thing)
The one thing that makes us good dog professionals is open heartedness.
Because it leads to connection.
Connection and open-hearted living shine a light onto everything.
It gives us a thirst for knowledge.
Open hearted living allows us to be vulnerable.
It shuts the protective part of our egos down.
And lets us admit we don’t know enough, don’t listen enough, don’t love enough.
Open hearted living allows us to stop, watch, learn and slow right down.
And from that place we can see what our dogs are saying.
And we tap into our age-old intuitive understanding.
That body memory imprint of feeling our way through life, that has been replaced with apps, screens, weird disconnect and social longing.
The wonder of being human that’s buried under the chattery, defensive, worried mind. The compassion and empathy inside us.
The stuff we can only see when we stop protecting ourselves for a moment, a minute, a day.
So what makes a person a good dog professional?
A commitment to be continually open-hearted, even when it’s really bloody hard.
Enough awareness of our innate connection to know that when we hurt someone else, animal or human animal, with words, thought or deeds, we are also harming ourselves and those we love.
But you don’t have to listen to me, in fact please don’t.
Listen to that part in you that guides your way, stays your hand and speaks quietly behind your mind.
That’s your connection, the bit that’s connected to me, and to everything.
It will open your heart if you let it.
And while it’s vulnerable, it’s also the way to being, having and doing life in the best way possible.
If you want to be an amazing dog professional, and to know where to go next, and to know what to do next you can.
Just open your heart a little bit. Try being vulnerable. See how it feels.
Thanks for reading my blog, if you're a dog professional. You can get one of my books for free over at The National Institute for Canine Ethics.
If you're a dog guardian you can get one of my free courses over at Canine Principles.
Or feel free to grab all of them from both spaces (that's what I would do - no messing) See you next time xx