Confucius said that, and I think he has a point!
SO this week some stuff went on, and things were asked and wondered and some folk got their backs up, got a little defensive. Some folk got a little offensive too!
But lets move along from that a little, because I am not into continuing pointless fights and point scoring, it's a waste of everyone's time and energy.
This week I put my foot in it and I upset someone.
I thought I was asking a question or two, albeit in a rambling and rather 'thinking directly onto the page and not doing the best job of it' way.
The person in question however, thought I was having a snide and underhand attack at them, giving myself an opening to soapbox and cleverly prove how amazing I am and how stupid they are.
In this case, I really wasn't, but my rambling style (late at night!) and my omission of the very useful question marks obviously were misinterpreted.
Of course I was not to know that this person has been 'attacked' by people supposedly from within my own 'camp' of animal training in the past, I had no clue 'who' he is - just some guy from the other side of the world doing something I liked the look/sound of, and wanted to hear more from.
So he has his reasons for being defensive, and I got the wrong end of the stick when it took him a few days to respond and then he responded by picking up on one aspect, clicker training, and writing a huge long piece about how he doesn't like it...
Long story short, it turns out he found this blog, thinks I am a smart arse (ok, he'd be right there!) and thought I was trying to have a pop at him (wrong!).
In the end I learned a valuable lesson that I come off as a right smart arse sometimes and that WILL get my ass into trouble if I am not clear and concise and polite, with my questions to people.
But the broader issue is this:
Are any of us, above question?
We should be open to question and discussion, I fervently believe that, and open to ideas no matter where they come from. We need to keep talking and thinking, because if you do as Confucius says, and you know the extent of your own ignorance, you know there is ALWAYS more to learn.
My interactions with someone ELSE this week (yes, yes I AM on a roll this week aren't I, with any luck I might disappear up my own fundament before Friday) also add to tonights conclusions.
That person, in defense of their own knowledge and experience, ended up coming off like an arrogant snot (actually not my words!). Which was unfortunate and as I put it to him, I do think he dropped a bollock, as it were!
But then it occurs to me that someone who has worked very hard to get where they are, and has reached a degree of success few of us will achieve (although, granted, not everyone wants a TV show), must sometimes feel they have to defend their work and experience.
Sometimes it can be VERY hard to filter out all the different voices you hear, and I can only imagine in that persons shoes, there must be a LOT of voices: some saying lovely things that everyone wants to hear, some talking total and utter bollocks, some attacking and being offensive and in the middle of all that, a few people with constructive advice/criticism who are talking sense.
So whilst we SHOULD all be open to question and discussion, obviously we should also be very clear and polite, when WE question and discuss.
A hard thing to do for someone given to endless waffle, but I am going to try hard to be clearer about what I am asking folk, and I am going to strive VERY hard to ensure I answer peoples questions or criticisms as if each and every single one of them is sane, intelligent and genuine.
I might waste some of my time, but I think on balance, that this is better than alienating anyone to positive, force free training.
So, my heartfelt apologies to anyone I might have upset this week (and indeed, ever!) I will endeavor to be more positive in my interactions with people, as well as dogs! And if anyone thinks I need a kick up the arse, feel free!