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Does Controlling Others Benefit Anyone?

It's tempting to try controlling others, especially if those 'others' are your kids, spouse, or an employee. Some would say it even makes sense to control them.

Well read this inspirational story by Tim McGrath, and think again...

How Much Control Do We Really Need?

Tim McGrath

I can still clearly remember the moment when I was touched, moved and inspired by a little 15 kilogram working dog.

A group of experienced graziers were having difficulty yarding a mob of rough cattle on a north-west Queensland cattle station.

When the cattle had beaten them for the fourth time, the graziers finally admitted defeat and declared the beasts un-musterable.

That is, until a quietly spoken old man unchained this small, thin, kelpie and said ``go back''. The kelpie raced off after cattle while the handler started looking for wood to boil the billy.

I watched in amazement - in the time it took to boil the billy and drink a cup of tea this little dog had gathered these rough, 500 kilogram plus animals together. The dog had changed the mobs whole attitude - without biting or injuring an animal - and quietly walked them into the yard without the handler saying a word.

This experience drove my desire to learn as much as I could about working stock dogs. Over the next few years I traveled the country trying to gain as much knowledge as I could from the best dog trainers in the country.

I acquired a few of the best bred dogs I could find, memorised all of the working commands I had learnt, and enthusiastically stated training working stock dogs.

At first I thought the first few dogs I trained were brilliant. My dogs knew every command and had a better understanding of the English language than most teenagers. The only problem was that the dogs needed constant direction from me. They were basically like a remote controlled car. In a dusty stock yard, constantly yelling makes a man's mouth very dry.

My focus on control had stripped my dogs from their superior stock handling abilities and desire to take responsibility for a mob of cattle. This became obvious when I started working bigger mobs of up to 1400 cows. My dogs needed to constantly have me in sight in order to take directions - pretty hard when the mob can spread out for miles and miles.

My dogs were like disengaged employees that were only physically at work and the part of themselves that brings value and quality - their heart and mind and subsequently the desire to do that little bit extra.

I told my working dog mentor about my problems and he told me the secrets of advance working dog training - put your hands in your pockets and shut up. Let the dogs do their work. Don't try and control the dog, control what the dog learns.

Almost instantly, I started getting great results. My dog's desire and confidence grew and within no time they could handle large mobs of animals.

These ordinary dogs became extraordinary dogs - with me at a distance, my hands in my pockets and mouth shut.

I learnt to get the best out of people and animals, often we need to relinquish our control. If it's not working change your position and never miss a good opportunity to shut up.

Personal Development Message on Controlling Others

I love this story of Tim's. The message of controlling dogs is so appropriate to the dilemma's we all experience when we try controlling others.

This quote from the story summed it all up for me:

"Don't try and control the dog, control what the dog learns."

Can you see occasions in your own life where rather than controlling others, everyone may be better served by opening up new avenues of learning for them?

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