Take this Little Test

Posted on 07/08/09 13 Comments

This is really cool and revealing. Take this little test, don’t cheat and read ahead or it will not work. Just do it. Get yourself a piece of paper and a pen put it beside your computer before you start now read only the next paragraph, take the experiment and then read only the next paragraph before you start writing. 


Look around the room you are sitting in right now and pick out everything you see that is brown. Take 30 seconds to take it all in, and memorize everything you can spy that is brown. Look up and look down, don’t miss a single brown thing, hurry you only have 30 seconds.


Now take you paper and pen in hand and write down everything you can recall in the room that was red. Do it with your eyes closed and don’t peak around the room again before you do.  Do it now.


Okay, experiment over. I hope you really tried it, it is way cool. When you were trying to recall your red items you likely called things that were pink or even orange as “red”.  The same for the items you labeled “brown,” I bet some of them were actually beige or even grey. 


The reason is this; what you tell your mind to focus on it will. In the absence of what you are looking for, your subconscious mind will conjure up anything that resembles what you desire and label it as true content for yourself.


This is so true in not just dog training but in life as well. Someone may overhear an innocent conversation at ringside and then twist it nto a malicious half truth that can potentially harm reputations or worse yet relationships. This happens all the time, it is human nature but it really can be damaging. Please look hard for that half full glass it may be there if look hard enough.  Remember your perception may not be the rest of the world’s reality!  


No, I am not writing this because I feel I have been “wronged” or misrepresented, this post is in response to a few events that I have witnessed recently. For those who may have being a victim let me share with you how I deal with it when these things do happen to me. 

Gratitude. When I look back on my past and the lessons that broken trusts or lost friendships have taught me, it is that of gratitude. Now when I hear the gossip (which I do try to avoid) I load myself up on a good dose of all of the things and people in my life for which I am grateful. As hooky as that may sound it freakin’ works amazing, go ahead and try it, for no reason at all. As Tony Robbins says it is all about changing your state. Replace “hurt” with “grateful”.


I make a living evaluating behaviours. Hence I need to weigh good responses against what I view as bad. I am judging. I judge student’s handling choices and tell them when they could been doing better. I judge my dog’s responses and withhold reinforcement to let them know when they have failed. If you are like me, being in a position where you are constantly having to pass judgement, you too may need to be reminded to not judge that which is not dog training related. 


It is an awesome feeling to know your journey has taken you on the correct path for your life, but it is quite another to believe that only one correct path exists for everyone.


Okay, lets bring this back to dog training. Yes our dogs will make mistakes. The key is to not make a big deal about those mistakes. Ignore the bad and look for more of the good that you can reinforce. In the absence of worthwhile behaviour, create some. I don’t mean feed “pink” when you are really trying to shape “red”. Keep your criteria clear, that is important however if your dog doesn’t seem to be getting anything right by your standards, it may be time to re-evaluate your training plan. 


You do have a training plan don’t you?  


Set the dog up for success. I don’t mean lure him in order to create success, I mean eliminate environmental distractions in order to minimize the choices your dog must go through as he tries to decide which path is the correct one.

Practice gratitude for all you have in your life.
Practice gratitude for all you have in your life.



Look for the good ignore the bad, it is a good mantra not just for dog training but for life.


  Today I am stacking my gratitude. I am grateful for my faith, for John, my family, my friends,  my four amazing dogs and for my new friend Ken who took this awesome shot (and many more) of Encore and Feature when we were out west recently.


  1. Trudie says:
    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 5:52am

    and so the words YOU DO HAVE A TRAINING PLAN DON’T YOU just jump off the screen, like the photos of your dogs in motion


  2. Gisela says:
    Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 4:06pm

    Thanks for a great post. It reminds me of a quote that I wrote down from horse trainer Ray Hunt: “Admire the horse for the good things he does and just kinda ignore the wrong things. First thing you know, the good things will get better and the bad things will get less.”


  3. Jennifer says:
    Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 1:11pm

    I didn’t get twitter on this page but the videos on a different page were nearly impossible to load due to twitter junk


  4. Wanda says:
    Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 12:28am

    I am slowly learning for dogs there is no pink or grey, just red and black. It is me as a handler that allows the pink and gray, wehen what I really want is the black and gray. I’,m a bit of a slow learner, but the lightbulb does eventually go off, and for that I am eternally grateful


  5. Krystal says:
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 10:14pm

    This is such a great post! Thank you so much! To bad I couldnt take the test though because Iv already taken it before. But I love how you can link this directly to dog agility for us its just great!


  6. Caroline McKinney says:
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 2:18pm

    Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 103809024 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 22826601 bytes) in /nfs/c04/h03/mnt/65626/domains/susangarrettdogagility.com/html/wp-content/plugins/TweetSuite/TweetSuite.php on line 170

    I got the above when trying to access this page and could not get on for a while. does it have to do with all the twitter garbage? Also typing this is incredibly slow.


  7. Chris says:
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 11:18am

    Great Post,

    I didn’t have to “cheat” for the brown things – I’m surrounded by wood and brown dogs, but red was a stretch, but I did sneak in a redish flower and a pink flowerpot.

    I wonder if you could talk more about how to create a training plan – in general terms – for those of us who are planning impaired.

    Thanks for the blog,


    (and I’m also getting loads of tweeter nonsense).


  8. Kathryn Johns says:
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 9:44am

    I’m getting all the tweeter stuff too – masses of it about all sorts of rubbish and then the real comments come after. Means the page takes a noticable time to load even on fast boadband.


  9. Karey says:
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 9:38am

    Great post today….thanks!

    Trish it is not just you I have over 5000 Tweeter posts taking over this blog.


  10. Trish says:
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 8:34am

    Is it just me or has your blog been taken over by Tweeter posts???


  11. Jan V says:
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 8:17am

    This was a very difficult test for a color-blind person. The beauty is that in my mind I made no mistakes 🙂

    However, the point of the test was well received!


  12. Nat says:
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 7:34am

    I often remind myself about how extremely lucky I am and how grateful I should be for a wonderful life. Great post, and just so true.



  13. Julie says:
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 5:46am

    Great post – we often forget the power of our own mind. Thanks for the great reminder and good advise.


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