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Are You Being Judged or Judging?

Are you being judged or are you judging? This is worth the read..

This is a real question. It’s a question we need to ask ourselves. How many times have we looked at the dog going crazy, on the end of a leash, and said, “They clearly aren’t doing anything with that dog”. “It probably doesn’t get enough exercise.” When in reality, the owners of the dog walk it every day and work obedience, inside the house. They are doing everything they know to do, and nothing is working.

Dobermans are my favorite breed. I have wanted one, for as long as I can remember. When I did finally get one, the response from my neighbors was not exactly what I had expected. As you can imagine, I worked with this dog every day. She was amazing, on and off leash. I took her everywhere. One night my phone rang. It was my next door neighbor. I remember her words exactly, “I can’t believe that you have a dog like that, in a neighborhood with all of these kids. Those dogs are killers, and shouldn’t be allowed on this earth”. She didn’t give me a chance to say anything before she hung up the phone. From that day forward, she did her best to make my life, with my dog, miserable. Anytime I would walk the dog in the neighborhood, she would call the police, saying that she didn’t feel safe. The only way that I could walk the dog, in my own neighborhood, was to do it after midnight. She consistently called animal control, telling them that my dog was loose in the neighborhood and wasn’t vaccinated. Keep in mind, there had never been an incident with my Dobie. She was just judging me, and the breed. It put much unneeded stress in my life, and there was nothing that I could do about it.

Have you ever had something like that happen to you? I know a lot of you have. I hear stories about it, regularly. Have you cast judgment on someone else? Of course you have, we all do.

Judgment is a funny thing. It is all good, until judgment, or undo blame, is cast in your direction. Living in a life, of casting blame and judgment, is a very stressful way to live. You find yourself focusing on the thing you are judging, more than focusing on thing about which you can actually do something.

I get dozens of calls and emails every week for my Memphis area dog training, behavior modification, and board and train services. Most of the time, I am being called out of desperation. The one thing I never do is pass judgment. Are the owners of these pups doing things to cause and encourage bad behavior? Of course they are! So what! That is why they are calling me. How do I handle these calls? I listen! How long do I listen? As long as it takes. We live in a world where everyone wants to offer a solution. Just Google anything and you will see; millions of people, with millions of solutions. As a culture, we have forgotten how to listen. We have forgotten how to show compassion. We have forgotten how to open up our hearts, and feel the hurt that another person is feeling.

I started training dogs here in Tennessee because I loved to see dogs work. To see a dog track a human or search for something gave me goose bumps. Watching a well trained dog do bite work gave me a rush. The part I was leaving out was the human component. I, like everyone else, made it all about the dog and not about the human. I saw so much fault in the way people were training their dogs. I would say to myself, “look at how that dog is acting in public. I would certainly put a stop to that, if it were my dog.” Admittedly, I would get angry at the person, not the dog. I was being so selfish and narrow minded.

One day, I had an epiphany! Why don’t you ask that stranger if you could help them work their dog through its shortcomings. I said to myself, “Why don’t you get down off your high horse, humble yourself, and help someone.” Wow, did this change my life forever. I started to see people transformed, through their dogs. Where there was once stress and apprehension, now was joy and relaxation. Frowns and clenched teeth turned into smiles and conversation. I began to see families change, for the better. People that used to dread coming home, because they were afraid of what they would find, now came home to order. Couples that were at odds, because of a dog, were now walking the dog, together.

I know in this article, it seems like it is all about me, but it’s really not. I am using my personal story to paint a picture. A picture of grace and forgiveness. A picture of compassion and caring. When, at one time, I thought the dogs were the most important thing, I realized that people were even more important. I learned to really like dogs, but Love people even more.

I encourage you to look at things differently. Instead of looking at the problem with an eye of judgment, look at things with a kind, giving heart. Let your gratitude exceed your expectations. There are many of you that are very good with dogs, but have no desire to be a dog trainer. You are the very one that can help the most, because you have nothing to gain. If you are giving advice and direction, out of a pure and giving heart, you can’t go wrong. It will be received, and there will be change.

Please be a compassionate listener. Please have a giving heart. Please don’t judge.

We don’t always have the answers, but we can all have a listening ear, and a caring heart.


*West Tennessee K9 is an, all breed dog training program located in Memphis Tennessee.

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