As I was working Murphy this weekend on a search a couple things came to me. First how much I really enjoy seeing a well trained dog do his job; second how as a handler I at times tie my feelings of success and failure both during trainings and missions to my dog . If he finds I am on top of the world, if he doesn't find I am down and upset with both of us. Now, this may sound a bit off; but go with me here.
When you train a dog you put a whole lot of yourself into that training. The dogs failures and success are tied to you; because you are the one teaching him the behaviors. Now, the problem comes in when you become so absorbed in the outcome you forget THAT it is a process. You are training a dog to complete a series of tasks that have a specific outcome. In my case find the HRD (human remains) and once this is accomplished tell me you (the dog) did and where it is. It is a journey. There is never an end. What I am trying to get across is you never stop teaching and hopefully the dog never stops learning. If you do it correctly sometimes the roles will get reversed. When that happens it is absolutely amazing.
As Murphy and I are walking back to base camp totally exhausted, frustrated with how the weather made the search impossible for Murphy to do his job. I realized I was making this all about ME. I did not find the missing person, I was hot and uncomfortable. I, I, I. Every sentence in my head started with an I. I look down and see Murphy enjoying the fact he got a chance to do what he was bred to do and that was enough for him. His tail was up, he was tired yes, but he had done his best. He was not upset that we did not find, or that he did not get his ball (his reward). He gave his best and when that did not work out he was ready to move on. The outcome is not always going to be positive. I will not always be able to give the family their missing member back, or help the authorities complete a case. But, I will ALWAYS have the knowledge my dog and I did our very best. We tried; that is enough.
I think we and I mean all of us at times get so caught up in getting there that we forget to enjoy the journey. There is so much we can learn be it a dog or just our surroundings it really does boggle the mind. Stop, look around you, breath, be thrilled you are able to be here, where ever here is for you. We all have a purpose and that purpose is not to always be the star; the one who brings the missing home. Our purpose is to keep moving forward. To be happy that we can try and help others be it your family, close friends or a stranger. Slow down look around you. There is so much beauty that in my rush I am missing it. As long as I did my very best; as long as I put the very best training I can into my dog then THAT is all I can ask of myself. Be satisfied that Murphy and I did our very best.
I am learning that life becomes to fast, complicated, overwhelming when I hurry the journey. I am trying to get to my destination instead of putting my focus on the right now. "Training" is a life time endeavor it never stops know matter what you are trying to accomplish in your life. If I am always wishing, praying for an outcome then I am not focusing on what is in front of me right now.
So, my goal is to stop look around be focused on what I am doing right now; put all of my energy into that instead of hoping for tomorrow's success. Today's success are being made and I am missing them in my hast for tomorrow's success.