565. Learning Family Values from Dogs
Laura De La Cruz
Laura was learning about dogs—especially obedience and agility. A colleague said, “To learn about agility, get a Border Collie.” But when Laura approached a breeder, she was told, “There’s no way I am going to sell you a border collie. You have no idea how to handle this dog!”
Laura De La Cruz, Ph.D, is an author, teacher, dog trainer and herding judge. She started Leash Up Dog Training as an alternative to the “pack” mentality, focusing on people who consider their dogs to be part of the family. Best-selling author of more than 80 books and journals, Laura teaches business and marketing at New Mexico State University. Laura has trained herding dogs and their people for over ten years. She is also a herding judge for American Kennel Club (AKC) and the American Herding Breed Association (AHBA).
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“As a child we had dogs, but they were never really part of the family. There was a dog in the backyard. We fed them, petted them, waved at them, and then moved on. As I got older, that seemed to be the standard way in which everything was done. I did not realize there was a whole other world of dog life that was out there until I got my first Border Collie. He has since passed on, but he taught me everything I know about this new world of dogs. In many ways, that’s what led me into the world of seeing dogs as members of the human family.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Learning how to learn from dogs, and how to explain what she learns about our relationships with them, has been life-changing for Laura. She describes her work with highly intelligent Border Collies as more of a partnership than a domination of an animal by a human. Her approach resembles mentoring, inspiring, motivating and even encouraging. It is not at all about terrorizing a fellow creature.
The Most Powerful Lesson Learned?
“For me, finding my way has always been about a sort of meandering through life. Occasionally I will say, ‘Hey, look! There’s a road or a branch I could take. Let me wander down that one for a while!’ Often, I’ve found my life is going along two tracks simultaneously, and the two feed into each other. My academic life track complements and enriches my life track of learning and teaching about dogs. Finding opportunities to go explore something that might turn out to be a passion is so much easier now than when we were younger, back when 8-track tapes were the big way to get information.”
Steps to Success from Laura De La Cruz
1. Go out and try something you want to do. Whether it works or doesn’t, it is not a bad thing to fail.
2. Failure tells you it is not the right path, so just say, “Let me find another path.”
3. Look at your life as a road. Even if you are meandering, but have some sort of general purpose, there is nothing wrong with a detour now and then. Some of those detours might be where you find your passions.
4. Don’t delay doing the things that you are passionate about. Don’t overload your bucket list.
Connecting With Laura De La Cruz
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