The dog training world is very campy. That’s bullshit, but it is the way it currently looks to me. This image is what I’m picturing when I say “left of center” or “right of center” in the podcast. It also shows you where I’d put myself, training-wise … and who I’d consider “my people”: anyone who’s not a campy extremist, really.
However, in an ideal world, there wouldn’t be a continuum at all. Instead, we’d have a menu of sorts, like a menu at a restaurant. On that menu, you’d find everything from BAT to Nepopo. We’d order the menu alphabetically in order to not play favorites.
Every training technique and system ever invented would be on the menu. And we dog trainers would choose one or two or three of them to study and become experts in by means of learning from the ones who came before us (standing on the shoulders of giants, as we always do).
We’d pick in terms of what we want to learn and teach; in terms of what feels good to US as individuals. Our picking would not be judgmental. It would be like picking the flavors of ice cream to go in your cone – not like picking a political party.
By picking your flavors of ice cream, you are not saying the other flavors are evil – you are just saying, these are my favorite flavors (these are the ones I want to learn more about and become an expert in). You can still be best friends with someone who chooses different flavors of ice cream. You can even talk about ice cream or taste their ice cream out of curiosity, and let them have a taste of yours. It would be encouraged rather than criticized: tasting each other’s ice cream is what friends do, after all.
That’s very different from choosing a political party: if you choose a political party, you are making an idiological (rather than subjective) decision, and you feel strongly about it being the “right” or “better” one – at least that’s how I feel when it comes to politics. I only have voting rights in Austria. Austria is a democracy with a large menu of political options. I oscillate between two of them, and have never voted for any other one: the Green party and the Communist party. I like both of them, and which one I will end up voting for is often a close call, and depends on the issues at hand and how they are handling it. I can’t see myself voting for any of the other parties, and some of the other parties (the ÖVP and the FPÖ, for example), I consider downright harmful to the planet, humanity, society and community.
In an ideal world, dog training would be like eating ice cream, not like voting. Thank you for coming to my TED talk!
Here’s a link to the podcast episode this post is riffing off of: