We Can Learn From Others

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Baxter attended his first group puppy obedience class earlier this month, and it reinforced to me the truth that we can learn from others if we listen. It also reinforced my initial thoughts this particular class may not be the best place for him to learn obedience.

The setting for Baxter’s obedience training is in a pet store with four other dogs and their owners. At this first session together, the trainer went around the room and asked each owner to describe the issues they were experiencing with their dog.

My puppy bites the kids. My puppy jumps up. My puppy is shy. My puppy is perfect.


And for each of the descriptions of puppy behavior, except the perfect puppy, the rest of us nodded in sympathetic understanding as the trainer explained her method for dealing with each issue.

I mentioned earlier how I didn’t believe the Amish shunning way of dealing with Baby B’s jumping made sense, and in fact told the trainer my thoughts and showed her the scars on the back of my legs. To which she said she understood my frustration, but I would thank her in the years to come for the inconvenience now. Maybe not the right answer.

So, Pilot and I agreed to give shunning and rewarding with treats another try–treats seem to be the major motivator with this program.

If shunning continues not to work with our dog, we’ll explore other options.

Just as admitting our pets have problems, I believe when we willingly admit we have problems in a safe environment, free of ridicule and condemnation, honesty comes easier, and we find we learn from others; and others learn from us.

Each of us has problems we struggle with, and it isn’t all that unusual to find the person sitting next to us has the exact same problem, or a variation on the same theme.

But a word of caution.

Just because people, or pets, are gathered together with a common goal, that does not mean the person giving advice is the correct person to seek advice from. One key in resolving our problems in a Christ-honoring way is to seek help from someone who is a mature, scripturally sound Believer who will take us straight to Jesus, our Rescuer, where there is no need to fear admitting we aren’t perfect; Jesus already knows we aren’t, and loves us anyway.

Do you find it easy or difficult to admit your flaws to others?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject.

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Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. Proverbs 29:17 (NIV)

I wish you well.


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