A wise woman once told me a story about “muddy water” and it really stuck with me. So much that it has actually become part of my dog training material. But before we get into the dog training part, let me tell you the story!
A man had a jar filled with water and mud and a very tight lid. As he lived his life he continually shook the jar, he felt if he was not doing something he was wasting time. As you would guess he always had a jar full of, well “muddy water.”
Unfortunately, his life mirrored that jar always being shaken, never clear — always muddy. The harder he tried, the harder he shook it, the harder it was to see through the water or clear the haze of his life. That is until he met a very wise woman who tricked him into solving life’s greatest mystery with a lesson in patience and non-action.
She walked right up to him and said hello. She then asked him to take both of her hands and just breathe. He told her he could not do that because after all, he had his jar of muddy water he had to hold. She asked him to just set it down for just a moment, and hold both her hands. After all “what could it hurt?”
He put down the jar and for just a moment held both her hands. When that moment was over she asked him to look at his jar and to tell her what he saw. He looked at the jar and saw clear water, with mud at the bottom. The water was clear nonetheless. So clear that you could see right through it, clear through to the other side! He learned right then and there that the only way to clear your jar, or your mind, is to do nothing — just breathe and allow things to settle.
So what does this story have to do with dog training? Well, many of you, who have worked with me concerning training have heard me say “You will achieve more results with your dog by doing nothing than just by doing something.” Unfortunately, people feel that they have to be doing something all the time to affect change. In fact, in many cases, that just makes the situation worse.
Let me give you some examples. You give Fido a verbal command let’s say “down.” Well, Fido just gives you a blank stare. You repeat the command over and over, but keep getting the same results until a wise person says, “quit saying the command and point to the ground” or “tap your foot” and just wait for the dog to process your command or let the dog work out what you want. And then it works – Fido lies down!
Another example is a dog who likes to jump up and say hello to every person he meets. You have tried everything from yelling NO, slapping the dog on the nose, and/or even resorted to kneeing the dog in the chest. But nothing YOU DO changes the behavior. Again, until a very wise person makes the suggestion that you simply ignore the dog and walk away every time the pooch jumps.
In essence, you remove the one and only thing Fido wants and the reason for his jumping “Your Attention.” The fact remains that by engaging in simple non-action we allow our dogs the chance to experience life and decide what gets them the things they want, rather than us shaking the jar and muddying the water so that neither the dog nor us can see the answer. It all comes down to whether you are willing to just put down your jar, if only for a minute and let things clear on their own, or whether you choose to keep shaking.
Good luck with nothing!


Mike Deathe is an avid pet lover who found his passion as a dog trainer. Since 2008 he has trained thousands of pet parents on how to live with their companion animals. He writes the Keep It Simple Stupid dog blog (K.I.S.S). Deathe authored The Book of Pee and Poop, Five Steps to the Perfect Pet, How to Make your Dog Come, Without Being a Butthead, and Forever Home — Dog 101 and How to be a Better Shelter Volunteer. Follow Deathe’s blog at https://kissdogtraining.com/blog/ https://kissdogtraining.com/blog/or the website @ www.kissdogtraining.com.
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