How Certain Are You?

I cannot tell a lie... I cannot speak at all!

When I was in grade school corporal punishment was an accepted part of classroom discipline. One day our teacher decided that none of us could go home until the culprit of a particular misdeed (I can’t even remember the exact misdeed) admitted their guilt.

After about an hour or so of sitting at my desk I decided that I really wanted to go out and play so I stepped up and admitted to the deed, even though I hadn’t done it. I figured my classmates would be happy they got to go home. What I didn’t figure was that some of them would not believe me when I said I hadn’t done it and I would get my ass kicked over it.

I sometimes wonder if the guilty person was one of the ones kicking my ass, but I regress. My point today is about evidence and certainty.

Too often we take our dog’s actions and reactions as gospel proof of a suspicion. If we hear a plausible explanation that backs up our suspicion then we go from hunch to immutable cornerstone of the universe. And all this with an animal that cannot directly communicate with us in our native language. Hell it takes my wife and me half an hour to communicate where and what we want to eat and we’ve been together for over 25 years.

Please remember that we can never be 100% certain about many of the motives of our canine companions. It’s always better to train our dogs how to cooperate than to correct them over our suspicions.



One thought on “How Certain Are You?

  1. Boy, ain’t that the truth! After months of treating Buster as though he was afraid of other dogs when he’s on-leash, a trainer told us she thought Buster was frustrated and not afraid at all. Holy cow! With some adjustments to his training, we’re finally making some progress.

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