I can’t believe how unbelievably luck I am. This was my thought after my little hissy fit today.
I was helping Trudy set up a sorting chute in the barn. She was excited… I was… I was, angry. I would prefer to say grumpy but truth; I was angry. Not for any particular reason. Stomach flue could have something to do with it but those that know me know that is really a stretch for an excuse.
My grumpy nature is one of the things my dogs get the joy of dealing with every day (Trudy gets that joy as well). This is where my luck resides. I have a wife that is willing to put up with me and I have dogs can are are willing to deal with me as well.
I could get myself in trouble with these next statements but… it is luck but not based on luck, it is based on selection. I never planned on getting married because I never believed I could find someone who would not cramp my style (or maybe better put, put up with my style). I was wrong. This is not to say there is not compromise to my style but I did not have to forsake it. It took careful selection to find her. Is it a surprise that my dogs, who likely spend as much time in a day with me, have to pass a selection process?
I was talking to some people at a recent trial. In the conversation they were mentioning how lucky they were and how sad to have “that one dog”. Lucky because they got to have it. Sad because when their time with that dog was over they would not find another since you only get one in a lifetime like that. It is true, you only get one like that in a lifetime, that is because they are individuals. No two individuals will ever be alike. That does not mean that you will not have other good dogs.
I have a friend who tells me they would rather be lucky then good. Their reason; luck can beat good on any day. I feel different; luck may beat good on a given day but good will beat luck on most days. I want to add to my chances. This is where selection comes in. If I search and select dogs that will fit my personality I am not left to luck alone but I get to add it to a good working relationship. I can be as good as I can with my dog and get to enjoy what ever luck gives us on top of that. So If you believe in luck you can enhance it with selection.
There are a lot of things out there about selecting pups. Some of it is good, some a little… off (in my opinion). It is important to select the pup that works for you. The pup I select out of a litter should not necessarily be your selection. I watch people select pups way too often based on some someone elses criteria. If you are the same type of handler and have the same type of lifestyle as that other person, that may not be a bad idea. If your lifestyle and needs are different, why would you select that type of pup?
I have got to enjoy the “once in a lifetime” dog a number of times. I have had that chance because I have had the good fortune to have dogs that suit me selected for me or by me. I have to be careful with my selection because I am not one to discard dogs. Once I get a dog I feel it is my lot to do the best I can with it. Because I feel this way, each time I run into a struggle with them, it is up to me to learn how to work with the issue. This outlook helps make each of my dogs turn into one of those once in a lifetime type dogs. It also makes it easier to find those special dogs because the dogs that will fit me will expand with everything I learn.
This is not to say every dog can be my dog. My grumpy nature is one of those things I have not learned to overcome. I have to select dogs that bounce back from or ignore my little hissy fits. If I select the dogs that can deal with things that are hard for me to change they can help me work on the things I am able or willing to change now. Slowly as I select and learn from each new dog, the life of my next dog gets better. With that better life comes a greater chance of it also being a Top dog.
I think it is important to note that one of the things that will limit you to one, once in a lifetime dog is comparison. Again each dog is an individual and will do things in their own way. Each of my top dogs has achieved that status with me because of what they can do; each in there own way. I have found that the more I look at a dog and think it should do this because another dog does, the more I limit my current dog. If I look at it as how will this dog accomplish the task I can learn new ways as well as allow the current dog to rise to top dog level.
By selecting dogs that suit our personalities now, hard work, and a little luck; we do not have to settle for one “once in a lifetime” Top dog but can look forward to each dog we have the opportunity to have. We can have the chance to have many Top dogs in our lives.
Why settle? Get out there and train hard, make sure your current dog gets to be a top stock dog! Don’t limit yourself to just one in a lifetime!