Huw Le Lytle’s
Bedlington Steps to Respectability, Usefulness and Happiness
The Enlightenment Sentiments
He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches. Bernard Shaw,
He who can, does. He who cannot, punishes. Huw Le Lytle,
The Cutest, 2017
I now turn the attention of my dear readers to the important subject of the young dog’s beliefs and principles, learning and intellectual life. One should never be indifferent to the important topic of principled behaviour.
However, be assured, it should never be something burdensome and frightening. It should be something that fills us with mirthful enjoyment and gleeful spirit. It should not be a tyranny of bondage, shackling us in servitude, muzzling our spirit and tethering our curiosity. Many young dogs look at learning as something to be feared and avoided.
Quite the contrary, dear friend! The best kind of learning is a reward in itself! Training should not sadden the heart and conquer the spirit. It should fill the heart and energize the spirit! The only impatience should be ours … and it’s an impatience to learn!
Indeed, it breaks my heart to see a young dog become afeared of its human through that human’s inappropriate deployment of power. Be it the sting from a shock collar or from the back of a hand, the stab from a prong or from the kick of a foot, the blast from a rattle can or from an ultrasonic dazer, whatever the aversive device, such wicked devilry should never come near the inquisitive and honest mind of any dog. A human should be the communicant of information, not pain. A human should be a valued steward, not an otiose poltroon. Fear is not respect.
Indeed, even if that young dog, subjected to this maltreatment, becomes a compliant and quiet palfrey, this is not training – it is learned helplessness, it is a sad and demoralised heart that no longer seeks new experiences and learning.
But if a dog is trained in such a way that enriches their intellectual life, their social life, and their wellbeing, and such a way takes a bit longer, well that is in fact a very good and wondrous thing in itself. The process itself can be a reward all of its own. Because there is such a thing as loving to learn.
… And our lives are better for it.