Pamela Dennison (c) 2017
I have a weakness for the Karate Kid movies – the old ones and the new one. I was just watching the new one (the one with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith) again last night and this line really struck me, so much so that I stopped the movie to write it down:
“Being still and doing nothing are two very different things.”
Think about that statement. Then think about it again. Because I relate everything I see, hear and observe to dog training, this has profound meaning for me.
“Being still.” I interpret this as being calm, focused, clearing your mind of useless thoughts, being in the moment, listening to yourself and your dog, feeling yourself and your dog, hearing your heart beating, hearing your breath, feeling the air touch your skin, hearing your dog.
“Doing nothing.” To me, this is the antithesis of being still. Unfocused, thoughts scattered, confused, no direction, thinking of anything and everything else, disconnected with yourself and your animal.
When one is “still” in training, it’s almost like magic – everything falls into place, the stars align, all is well, the connection is indescribable.
When one “does nothing” in training, it’s a full moon and the crazies are out in force. Anger, jealousy, frustration all appear.
Because much of my work is with dogs that have issues, it is imperative to learn how to “be still” when working with such dogs, both as a trainer and as a handler.
We’ve all had moments of both. When you feel yourself “doing nothing,” end your session before you do too much damage. When you find yourself able to “be still,” go and get your dog! And try to remember that feeling so you can call on it again…and again…and again for other parts of your life, not just dog training.