“Because we’ve always done it that way!”

The general response to the question of “Why do we do it that way?” is usually answered with either “I don’t know” or “Because we’ve always done it that way!”  The general response for “Why don’t we try another way that may be better?” is usually the same.  These responses along with the negative attitudes and unwillingness to implement change usually attributed to the responders are often the root causes for many of the reasons we get in trouble.

Are you satisfied with the status quo?  Do you know if there’s a better way of doing something related to your K9 training or deployments?  Are you satisfied with minimum standards?  Do you want new challenges?  Is “seeking improvement” something that might interest you?  Would you like to try something different that may be better and then openly evaluate it?  Have you heard or learned of a better way perhaps to do something that you hesitate to suggest for fear of the standard reply or negative repercussions?

Yes, the reason we get in trouble might be the primary fault of someone else not willing to change – or give change a chance – but what have you done to suggest that change or attempt it?  I know many handlers that would like to try to take their training to the next level but are stagnated with training methods and philosophies that are outdated and do not seek to improve or challenge to achieve higher standards.  Some handlers have been successful in their attempts to implement change – or try it – and some have not.

Instead of suggesting change and avoiding the “we’ve always done it this way” excuse, handlers are often content to go along with the program and not make waves.  And, when bad things happen – when trouble occurs – these same handlers (and some supervisors) wish they had been more active and persistent in their pursuit of change.

Believe me, I know firsthand how hard it is to recommend a change, make suggestions for improvement, and then be denied “because we’ve always done it that way” – but do not surrender without the proper battle.  You should know the best way to pick a worthwhile battle and initiate it.  If you want to improve personally or expand training opportunities and you have something in mind you’d like to try, be prepared and take the proper steps to propose your suggestion – and be ready to champion your suggestions!

Take care, be safe and make every day a training day….

Bill Lewis II

This “Reason” was originally shared on March 10, 2014

“Trouble” isn’t always related to incidents or predicaments that directly result in lawsuits, claims or discipline. Often times, our actions or inactions that are missed, deliberately overlooked or downplayed may lead to nothing or can later lead to mistakes or bad incidents with minimal to serious repercussions.  A reason we get in trouble can be minor or simple at first glance – or even serious – but a combination of these factors can often have disastrous consequences.   

These “reasons” are provided periodically as a collection in-progress based on actual incidents and real attitudes as well as feedback received at HITS, the CNCA Training Institute, and the “Canine Liability 360” classes.  As Gordon Graham says, “We haven’t found new ways to get in trouble.” So, as the list progresses, you may or may not read something familiar to you that you have personally experienced or seen others encounter. If you encountered or heard about it, did you learn from it?