You Can’t Teach a Dog a Trick He Doesn’t Want to Learn

Foster is an Australian shepherd with a lot of energy and personality.

And he’ll be my first doggy-in-law in the near future.

He belongs to Courtney’s fiancee, Michael. A real Colorado dog, he loves the outdoors and movement in general. Just like Michael.IMG_4286

In the crazy weather of Colorado right now, Foster got heat rash. In the middle of rain and snow, he got heat rash. So he did what any sane dog would do when bothered by a skin condition.

He chewed on it.

(I can identify with wanting to gnaw on annoying, itchy conditions. At the very least scratching them with my paws, er, fingernails.)

So they put him in a cone. He’s a little doggy conehead.

He’s not a happy doggy conehead.

He doesn’t know quite what to do with this thing around his neck. It prevents him from doing what he normally does. It keeps him from being who he really is.

His typical MO in going from one floor to the next is to race up the stairs. A feat he can accomplish in seconds. However, when he tried to do it, his cone hit the stairs, and he was knocked backwards. Not to be undone by a stair step, he tried again. Same result. The third time for Foster was not the charm but his own chagrin.

Back on his bum.

Michael had to hold the cone up so Foster could clear the steps and go up.

I’m betting he still didn’t get it.

Foster is no dummy. He’s a smart dog. Quick learner. But when introduced with something that interferes with his life as he knows it, it just doesn’t make sense to him.

The cone around my neck is often one I can’t see. An argument with John. Frustration with a colleague. Disappointment with myself. My reality–but not necessarily my perception.

The other day I felt on edge continually. Dad would have called it a burr under my saddle. I wasn’t engaging with people well. I wasn’t responding well. I wasn’t myself. I got that, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. So the burr just irritated more.

When John and I got home from work that night, I realized what the problem was. Him! Not that he’d done anything really wrong. I couldn’t even tell you why I was angry. I just was.

What a waste of the gift of a day. The woulda’s, shoulda’s, coulda’s smacked me in the heart like laser points of accusation.

It would have been so easy to talk about it before we left for the day. So easy to ask forgiveness, to extend forgiveness. I know that.

But instead, I was the conehead. Running into things with this nagging piece that shouldn’t have been there. Leaning on my ability to deal around it instead of with it.

God wants to release me from my cone.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”        Proverbs 3:5-6

Trusting God frees me to see things clearly, no cone attached.

Thanks, Foster. This old dog needed that reminder.

5 responses to “You Can’t Teach a Dog a Trick He Doesn’t Want to Learn”

  1. Oh, Dayle… I loved this post! From the sweet doggy eyes at the start to your deep vulnerability at the end. Next time I bump and fall on my own ” cone”, I will try to remember that God is there to lift my head! From one old dog to another… much love and appreciation to you, friend!


  2. Love it! I’m a cone-head too!


  3. Lee Anne Sorgius Avatar
    Lee Anne Sorgius

    That picture says 1000 words. Love it. Let’s hear it for the cone heads!


  4. I can just see Isley “pickles and pieing” all over the place! [You said it was funny!] You had to throw in about listening to what we say…and think about how Jesus used language, or didn’t, in your helpful Eph. 4:29 reminder! I want to be an encourager [especially to my husband!] This IS all hard work! And I’m back on my bum from my cone, leaning on my ability to deal with it, instead of relying on HIM, as you point out [Thankfully] in Prov. 3:5,6!


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