If You Look For It, You’ll Find It
When you buy a blue Honda, suddenly you see blue Hondas everywhere you look.
It’s disgusting to not clean up after your dog. Why do you find dog poop wherever you turn?
And when you’re working hard to train your dog, it seems like every dog person in the world is ignorant, incompetent, and just trying to get in your way.
You’re the victim of confirmation bias—your brain noticing things that confirm what you already believe.
Want to change your world? Know your biases and question them.
The Bad Dogs And Their People
When you’re working with a fearful or reactive dog, every walk is an adventure. Just when you’ve gotten your dog to pay attention to you, along comes an over-friendly, off leash dog whose person trails him yelling,”Don’t mind him. He’s very friendly.”
Sometimes it feels like these booby traps are on every corner.
But they aren’t. They are a small minority in most places. Your confirmation bias is finding them everywhere. And it’s increasing your tension level.
The Good Dogs And Their People
The Yorkie who comes flying out his dog door to snap and growl at the fence line makes me crazy. After comforting our trembling foster pup, Chérie, I’m on edge too. I think of the big black dog who does the same thing at her fence around the corner. And what about the Jack Russell Terror (not a misspelling) and his Beagle brother who attack their front door every time someone walks by?
But my neighborhood has dozens of dogs. Most of them are so kind and sweet we hardly notice them. Or, at least, the tension-producing dogs have pushed them right out of our sights.
Today I fight my confirmation bias. Today I celebrate just a few of the great dogs and their people who live in my neighborhood.
- Bacon, the distinguished 14-year-old dachshund whose person exercises him like a big dog, keeping him fit and trim
- Abbie, the beautiful Australian Shepherd mix whose person is living with her first dog but already very wise about dog behavior
- The well-exercised Border Collie whose person plays frisbee with him at least two hours a day and takes him for long walks
- The medium black dog belonging to my city representative who started out wild but has learned very good manners over the past few years
- The small, buff dog who didn’t care for Chérie and Honey walking on the opposite sidewalk but whose person gently directed him toward a better behavior
- The Great Pyrenees mix and his mellow person who have a very centered energy that makes everyone around them feel comfortable
- Our new Golden Retriever neighbor who, although he’s pretty white in the muzzle, gets daily, gentle walks with his dedicated person
I could go on. But I feel my bias changing in a new direction already.
What biases do you have about dog people? Do they need challenging?
Thank you to Jodi Stone for expressing so well the frustrations we’ve all experienced with other dog people and for getting me thinking about this subject.