I need to share my heart, I’ve been holding on to this for a few years now and I decided to let it out. I get asked these questions a lot, why dog training? Why would you want to do that? I can say I just love dogs, but the answer is more complex than that. I’ve overcome a lot. When I was younger I wasn’t the most social person. I use to struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. God used dogs to help me overcome all that. I wanted to learn more, so I had to get out of my shell, I had to get uncomfortable. Through doing that, I fell more and more in love with the process of training dogs because of how much it overlaps with my walk with God. There is an unspoken beauty of watching man and creature coming together as a team. Whether it be for a job, sport, or a pet, it’s the most intriguing thing to watch flourish. Taking an out of control dog and showing him through obedience he can have the most enjoyable life and making him and his owner become a team is the coolest thing to be a part of. It’s the same process God puts us through. The best example I can use is focused heeling, where our dog is by our side, looking up to us with complete attention. Since the dog is focused on the handler the handler can move left, right, back or forward and the dog will follow without missing a beat. Now making this look perfect takes a tremendous amount of patience and practice. Keep in mind it’s not natural for the dog to walk around with its head up. Once we finally get the attention we want, we add in distractions, but they fade away as background noise, the bond and focus is so clear, the attention cannot be disrupted. We don't stop there, once we finally get all the steps together, we keep working on this clear, attentive connection for the lifetime of the dog.
Now let's go back, having a dog walk like this, with its head up, is not comfortable and you have to keep working at it for the lifetime of the dog so he stays sharp. Following God isn't comfortable for us. Jesus even says in Matthew “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Another version says, “turn from your selfish ways” this isn’t something that’s easily done. Yet, Christians today say all we have to do is say a simple prayer and accept Jesus as our Lord and confess it with our mouth and everything will be great! Now how do you walk with him? You keep your eyes on him! When he moves left, right, forward or backward you're there because you’re focused on him. Since you're focused on him, the distractions of this world will fade. I'm not saying you're not going to fail, you will, you're human. The only man to ever be able to do this without failing was God himself. Who bled and died for you on Calvary. You take it day by day. Like I said, focused heeling isn't taught overnight. When you stumble, God will be there to pick you up. When we were toddlers we learned to walk. Even though we fell and stumbled our parents never disowned us because of it. Instead, they picked us up and encouraged us. When we finally were able to walk, they would scream with praise! God does the same thing in our walks with Him. When we stumble or fall, He doesn’t get upset. He picks us up and whispers, “you’ve got this my child.”