I met Bob in 2010 when I was first trying to start my own dog training business. I didn’t like him at first; I had respect for him, but I thought he was arrogant. I didn’t read him correctly because I never met anyone like Bob. He could come off as arrogant, curt, even rude; but he wasn’t any of those things. He was a man who knew who he was, what he was good at and that he had something valuable to offer others.
I was lucky that Bob saw something special in me. I didn’t know it at the time, but he changed my life and gave me a huge gift.
I was very lucky to be one of the few that he believed could learn from him. Bob was a rare breed – a person who knew he had something special, something valuable, yet was willing to give it away to another.
When I train dogs, I frequently ask myself what would Bob do? Bob’s way of teaching was simple -he expected me to pick up what he put down. After a training session, Bob would always ask me the same question: what did you learn? When I called him with questions about one of my cases, he would ask me, what do you think you should do? He taught me to think for myself, to trust my abilities and to know my worth. He inspired me. When I watched him with a dog is was like watching someone walk on water. I wanted to be like him – to do what he did. Bob believed in me and praised me. How many people can say they had a friend like that?
After years of training on my own, my relationship with Bob changed. In the beginning, I would always have a dog question, but as time went on I had more questions about people. Bob understood the limitations of humans and accepted them. He lived in peace that I wish I had. Our mentor/apprentice relationship turned into friendship and then I really saw him. His business was business, but his friendship to me was so much more. He could be a very soft person, very loving and sensitive. He genuinely cared for those he let into his life. The last thing he said to me was “I love you.”
Our relationship revolved around just 2 things -dogs and family. Here are some things that Bob taught me that apply to both:
Every moment is an opportunity to learn. Good experiences can inspire and motivate and bad experiences can cause one to shut down.
Proper motivation works wonders.
Praise the good and ignore the bad.
It’s not personal.
Anyone can change, if they want to.
We really only need a few things to be happy.
Trust my gut.
One can learn so much by just sitting and quietly observing.
If a task is too hard, break into pieces and master one piece at a time.
There is a fine line between punishment and retaliation.
Timing is everything.
Take time to rest.
Fairness has nothing to do with life.
There is nothing better than being in the company of those you love.
Bob was my mentor and my friend. I feel lost right now without him, but I know he has taught me everything I need to know to be as great as he was. I am so thankful to have known him.