There are two words that stifle success. The first is “I”. The second is “Can’t”. Put them together and you enhance your limitations even more.

I remember working with a person. I asked them to ask their dog to yield. Everything stopped. They looked at me as said, “I can’t. He doesn’t know how to do that.”

What, What? Yes, two whats.

What did you just say? He doesn’t know how! What exactly are we here to do? We are here to teach, correct? We do not teach things they already know. This can only mean we need to work on the things he doesn’t know.

The second what; by saying “I can’t” they in essence said “you/we can’t”. I was there to help them learn to work with their stockdog. By them saying they could not get their dog to do that, they limited what we could do, both for themselves and their dog.

The first thing they needed to do was understand the whole point of teaching is turning can’t into can. When we don’t, or our dogs doesn’t, understand it is our job to remove the limitations by learning or teaching.

As long as we are in a can’t mindset we are actually limiting ourselves by fear. Fear of what; failure!

When we say we  can’t, we are in doubt of our ability and in fear that our doubt may be correct. The only way to prove the doubt wrong is to take the chance of failure.

When you risk failure remember to take out the second limiting word, “I”. You are not alone. There are so many resources that you will have a hard time to find anything someone else has not gone through. You have the experiences of all the people that you use as mentors as well as the experiences they have gained from their mentors and so on.

Even at the times it is just you there physically, you have a whole group of people behind you that want to see you succeed. This does not mean you do not have to experience things on a personal level, just that you have all the support you are willing to accept.

The experience on a personal level is important because; it does not matter if I can ask your dog to do something. You have to understand how to do it. I am not always going to be there to do it for you. You need to be able to see what you need to do and be able to ask your dog to help you get it done.

Don’t let fear limit you. Turn “I can’t” into “we can”. Strive each day to find where fear is limiting you and stretch those limits. It will make you a better handler. It will make your stockdog a better stockdog.

Working to remove your limitations will help your neighbor to remove theirs. When we watch someone preform a task with their stockdogs it shows it can be done and therefore helps break down our limitations. In competition someone removing their limitations will raise the standard for everyone.

I have seen this with my owns dogs. As I removed more and more of my limitations and expected more of my dogs, my dogs got better. I have said many times, “my least experienced dog now preforms at a higher level then my most experienced dog 20 years ago”. This could only happen by removing my limitations and trying to do and learn more with my dogs.

By turning “I can’t” into “We can”, we can all improve. When you prove doubt wrong and show you can, you also show others. You remove the fear and doubt that limits.

This does not mean we will not feel limitations; but that we can push the boundary of those limitations till they are not limitations any more.

Get out there. Be Fearless,  Believe in yourself. Believe in your dogs. Find your limits. Test your limits. Prove your limits wrong.


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