Alternative lessons: The Tortoise and the Hare


I love Aesop and his many fables.  The guy was wise.  He was creative.  As humans we all appreciate stories even if not all of us appreciate learning or applying the lessons.  In today’s exciting blog post we will look at the classic story of the Hare and the Tortoise and hopefully learn something new.  Let’s take an alternative (Garrett Stevens) look at a classic fable…

Image result for image of the tortoise and the hare

Why can’t the Hare get any love?  I’m serious.  Is it the rabbit’s fault he was born for speed?

I get the lesson of the story.  Over the years I’ve learned that slow and steady can win “the race.”  I am a huge fan of patient persistence especially when it’s intelligently directed toward a specific goal.  But what about all the benefits of speed and explosiveness?  How can we ignore the power of quickness and an explosive start?

I say let’s learn from both wonderful creatures and their strengths!

Part One:  THE HARE

Yes, the Hare lost.  He had a fantastic start to “the race.”  The rabbit burst from the starting line like a bullet leaving the tortoise in a massive cloud of earth and dust.  But we all know what happened down the road.  The Hare got distracted.  He got lazy.  He was too comfortable in his abilities.  Some might say the Hare even procrastinated during “the race.”

Image result for image of the tortoise and the hare

The Hare had an amazing start and some strong moments throughout “the race.”  If he had kept his focus victory could have been his.  “Could have been“…morose words.  I pray we personally never have to think or dwell on words like those at the end of our lives.

What if we could combine the strengths of the Hare with the strengths of the Tortoise in our personal lives?  We can!  And we must.  Here is why…

In today’s world of entertainment, online connectivity, and tomorrow’s future virtual reality it is extremely, extremely easy and getting ever easier to settle for a comfortable life and nothing more.  With an almost immeasurable number of TV shows and websites one can quite literally waste half or more of one’s life watching someone else live instead of doing the living oneself!  Think of that for a moment.  Staggering.  My point?  The Hare was a great starter.  He didn’t like to sit still.  He possibly would have been diagnosed with ADHD if he had been a second-grade American boy from today’s era.

All action begins with a single step.  “He who moves mountains begins by carrying away small stones.”  For many people the starting line is scary.  So many folks would prefer to simply watch others on TV and, from their couches, they stare ahead like zombies at other people’s starts, middles, and finishes.  It’s so much safer that way.  (Please don’t be condemned – I am as guilty of zombie watching and checking out of my own life as the next bloke).  The hare raced forward with several steps.  He took action.

We all could learn from the Hare.  We only have so much time and if you really want to accomplish anything sometimes we need to throw caution to the wind (don’t hide in your shell) and just take off!  Screw comfort – embrace quickness!  Have confidence in yourself!  Don’t over think everything – “Just DO It!”  The Nike Company must be fans of the Hare…their slogan is total rabbit talk.  Nike must also be tortoise fans as well (just look at their longevity and success thus far.)

I believe some people are more inclined to be Hares while others are more inclined to be Tortoises.  Furthermore identifying this Who’s who could be a great opportunity in one’s personal life, marriage, career, et cetera to compliment and encourage each other and to help lend someone our specific strength where we sense a need.

Can you imagine how much the tortoises of the world would relish the amazing speed, outgoing nature, and carefree actions of the hare if they had them at their disposal?  Can you imagine how much the hares across the planet could learn to appreciate the steady and persistent and reliable finishes of the tortoise?

Image result for image of the tortoise and the hare

I’ve heard of the Jack-a-lope but this is getting ridiculous


Now let’s translate imagination into actual ACTION like a good Hare and explode forward with passion and energy.  Beware distractions though and cultivate sharp focus.

(apply this action to your daily dog handling!)

Tune in next time as we examine the terrific and tremendous attributes of the Tortoise…TO BE CONTINUED…


Image result for Aesop's fables tortoise



Are you safe?


Are you safe?

Are you stuck in a self-created, bland, daily routine?  Would you call your life adventurous and free or would you call it safe?   Adventure: an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

While adventure isn’t the most important thing in life I believe it should hold a place of value and be sometimes specifically sought after.  I am not alone in this belief.  If we follow the fun in life as we travel, reach out, and interact in this our wide world and embrace the fascinating people, places, creatures, and things in it we all can find a richer experience as we journey this life together.

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal.” -Paulo Coelho

If we follow after safety nothing great is accomplished!  Imagine the great heroes in the history of our world.  Since the dawn of time they have been memorialized because they chose the unsafe path!  They placed themselves in harm’s way to help others.  They chose adventure over safety and comfort.  They did the hard thing not the easy thing.

We’ve all heard the expression “No risk – No reward.”  It’s true.  Risk is good!

Dogs are natural explorers.  They are naturally curious and adventuresome.    A dog left loose in a neighborhood will range and rove and follow where his sensitive senses take him…for better and sometimes for worse!  This is nature’s way.  The way of freedom.

Image result for quotes on adventure

We are facing a crisis in this country currently.  A crisis called fear.  In the name of “safety” and “security” certain rights and freedoms have been taken away.  As the years pass us by and more corrupt politicians enter the game we steadily lose more freedoms as big government continues it’s unhampered growth.  This pervading feeling that “safety” should be foremost in our minds and lives is usually motivated by fear.  The media constantly preys on our fight/flight instincts as the news manipulates the masses.  If you avidly watch the news to “stay informed” you may find you are just “staying programmed” to whatever messages the media may want inside your brain.  (Personally I try my best to limit all forms of “news” media and have found it amazingly beneficial on my mind, and my thinking and actions.)

This crisis of fear and the medias plays on our “safe” thinking isn’t safe..  Sadly this way of thinking isn’t limited to government.

Image result for image of big brother

Many loving parents over-protect and condition their children from a very young age to be fearful and non-adventurous.  The days of “free-range” kids roaming neighborhoods until sundown are tragically diminishing.  In place of kids running around and getting into their own mischief and adventures their mothers set up play-dates.  Play-dates (if you do the research) lead to less self-reliance, less creativity, and less freedom for the child and parent!

We have done this exact thing with our dogs over the years.  And we have done worse. When leash laws started being implemented we actually took away our dogs natural ability to successfully navigate a neighborhood with traffic and people, critters, and distractions.  As we tightened up on the illusion of control and patted law-makers on the back for “dog-safe” leash laws we didn’t consider the possible future rebellion from our dogs!

The results of increased laws in the name of safety have been increased aggression toward people and dogs, dogs without wisdom running into traffic and being killed, increased territorialism, increased fears and phobias, and wildly unsocial dogs!

Please consider this.  Please don’t just brush this off.  Allow the thoughts you have on this subject to begin in the past… about 30-40 years ago when many dogs (like kids) used to romp and adventure through the neighborhood and interact with other dogs and people.  Then bring your mind to present day and consider that although we have more dog training programs, more behaviorists, more dog daycare programs, more vet offices, more pet television programs, more “safety” and more alleged dog info than ever before in all of the history of the world …dog bites (dog aggression and dog fear) are on the rise!  It’s been steadily getting worse over the past 10 years!  

Am I against leash laws in cities and urban areas and towns.  Of course not.  I’m just trying to stimulate some thoughts.  I’m hoping to get some conversations going.  Because we do need a change.  Each year 5 million Americans are getting bit by dogs!  Half of those bitten are our own precious children!  Most training and behavior modification methods are shoddy and inefficient.  So I’m hoping people will start asking questions.

Questions about safety vs. adventure.  Questions about law-making.  Questions about human behavior.  Questions about dog behavior.  Questions about growing government.  Questions about control vs. freedom.  Questions about intelligence.  Questions about sociability.

“I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.”  -Thomas Jefferson

“The secret of happiness is freedom.  The secret of freedom is courage.”  -Thucydides

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”  -Gandhi

The point of this post = To raise critical questions and thinking among the masses.  To remind you, as you work with your dogs and puppies, never over-control, and never micro-manage or a rebellion may result in the future!  To seek out adventure and newness in your relationship with your dogs and those around you and sometimes throw caution to the wind.  Seek to balance freedom with direct communication with your dog.

Questions?  Give us a call.  We are the best in the business.    -G

There is nothing “Zen” about bribing a dog with food!


There is nothing “Zen” or unique, or special, or beneficial, or even remotely interesting about bribing a dog with food.  Any FOOL can make a dog or pup perform a “watch me” command by sticking a food treat near a dog’s nose and then holding it up to their own eye.  This then causes the pup to look up at the person’s face.  This is the most basic and almost unmentionable start of typical training across the land.  This is exactly the method used by big chain store (but usually low-quality) trainers!

Image result for yin yang with a dog

Trainers that talk about “balance” and “zen” and things of this nature cannot be taken seriously if their main methods are based in excitably stuffing food treats down the pup’s throat!


Does this mean you should never use food treats?  No, of course not.  You can use food treats to the advantage of your relationship with your dog occasionally.  But we should NEVER start the foundation of obedience and training and behavior modification with food!!!!!!!   Those that do are treating our domesticated dogs just like a wild animal!  

When the mother and father dog build a relationship based on respect and trust and communication with their pups are they using food treats?  Is the pup’s misbehavior ignored or addressed by the parent dogs or is it constantly “redirected” with food or toys like many bad trainers and bad behaviorists would teach you to do with your pup?  Does the mother dog use a clicker and come equipped with treats and high-pitched praise?

When raising my own pups into adult doghood I used treats.  Shocking to some of you, I know.  Let me clarify…I used treats properly.  As TREATS not as CONSTANTS or NONSTOPS and it was only as an OCCASIONAL Supplement and never based on the behavior.  

Save using treats for behavior for when you want to bribe a wild squirrel at the park to come into your spatial bubble or focus on you.  You can extend your arm and hold out a peanut.  The squirrel will then slowly come over within arm’s reach and take the treat from you.  Congrats!  (Not really – I’m being sarcastic) You just earned a little bit of ill-balanced trust from a wild creature.  I say “ill-balanced” because that is exactly what it is.

Does that squirrel respect you?  Do you really respect and know the language and social cues of the squirrel?  Have you taken the easy way out and just bribed the furry thing to come to you.  Will the squirrel come to you in an emergency?  Will the squirrel only come if there’s food?  Does the squirrel have thousands and thousands and thousands of years of domestication and close partnership living in our homes and working for and with humans?

Image result for squirrel

Food is a very poor replacement for actual trust and respect and communication!!!!


Are you starting to understand why food treats used with dogs and pups can be largely unnecessary except as an occasional supplement  to motivation?

Food treats are an external motivator and have Nothing to do with the internal motivation and intrinsic relationship between you and your dog or pup!  Also if we want calmness and more relaxation in our housedog why are we constantly adding more excitement through treats?!

Beware the over-simplified and extremely dogmatic viewpoint of training and behavior mod. from proponents of “positive only” of “force free” folks…talk about short-sighted imbalanced and unnatural methods that contribute to the terrible rise in dog fear, hyperactivity, and aggression!  Wooooohoooooo

We differ from all those status quo trainer and behaviorists because, unlike them, we know our dogs are socially brilliant and unlike them, we know as we go into the future together we don’t actually want to constantly have to be our dog’s focus point and the answer to every question our dog has.  THIS out-dated concept: where the owner is the constant answer to every problem in the dog’s life leads to excessive bribery with treats  in training methods and the unnatural over-focus on the owner in order for the dog to ignore every natural and social thing that happens to occur in the environment.  This is unnatural and tends to backfire often!  Personally I don’t want to be the answer to everything in my dog’s life…it’s too much work!  The mother dog doesn’t want to be the answer for everything either!  That should be a TEMPORARY position we have until the pup reaches maturity and has more self-control.  Our dogs should look to us for many answers…but not all of them.  They need to learn calmness and self-control so we don’t have to forever be “training” them.  They need to be respectful of our shared society and they need to be TRUSTWORTHY.

Believe us, we know, because we are constantly re-training after so many Tacoma and Seattle dog training companies focus on the frivolous tricks and obedience while sacrificing the more important internal issues at hand.

Here at Alpha and Omega Dog Training we strive to be balanced and this is what yields the tremendous, real results our clients rave about.  

The housedog of the future should be calm enough to NOT have to perform “watch me” or a “focus” command every two seconds and should be trustworthy enough to be left almost unattended, or at least partially ignored and not have to perform a “down stay” or some other frivolous form of obedience training with us keeping a sharp eye on them for ever!!!

Cultivate a real relationship based on respect and trust and calmness and communication and you’ll never regret it!   


Questions?  We love comments and questions.  Keep an eye out for my coming book!  We are shopping publishers very soon!!!!

Quick QUESTIONS for you


Quick questions may require long consideration and critical contemplation.  If we ask the right questions we get the right answers.  Here are some questions to really mull over.


Do we as the human race really have our dogs best interests at heart?

Do we as human beings value our dogs over and above what or how they should be valued or do we undervalue them?

Did you know we have never attempted to rescue as many dogs in the USA as we are currently?

Did you know dog bites (and dog attacks on people) are on the rise?

Have you ever been bitten?

Are our dogs giving back to us as much as we are giving to them and vice-versa?

Do you take a realistic viewpoint of the dog and their many behaviors do you have an over-simplistic, anthropomorphized viewpoint?

Are treats exciting for our dogs?

Is excitement actually good and beneficial to our dogs?

Do parent dogs exhibit a lot of excitement around their pups and vice-versa?

How does excitement and high energy play a role in most of mother nature?

Is calmness valued by the mother or father dog?

Who is calmer the older dogs or the younger ones?

Are we all applying calmness when interacting with our dogs and pups?

Are professional trainers and behaviorists using calmness or excitement in their training methods?

Does your dog come with a laundry list of rules (don’t poke the bear!)…things you can’t touch on his/her body, things you can’t do around the dog, things guests can’t do?

Is your dog rude or polite?

Do dogs think positively or negatively or not at all like that?

What is your favorite sense (out of the five senses)?

What is our dogs favored sense or senses?

If you were to lose a sense which would you chose and why?

If your dog was to lose a sense which would he/she choose and why?


These are just a couple of the quick questions I wanted to share with the masses out there in internet land.  I have several others for another time.

Please feel free to comment or answer some of them in the comments section.  These are not to trick or insult or manipulate you in any way.  I just want to hopefully broaden people’s minds and delve a bit deeper into the fascinating creatures we all have such familiarity with.

Keep an eye out for my coming book!  In it we ask and answer many of the above questions and of course the book will greatly help prevent or reverse behavioral issues you may be facing with your dog or pup.  There are great chapters on Touch, Spacial control, Energy control, Calmness, Heeling and Leash work, Dog manipulations, Myths, and much, much more!  There are illustrations.  There are motivations.  There are challenges.  There is a call to action.  The book should broaden anyone’s mind on the subject of our dogs, their behavior, and our behaviors with them.  It broadens my mind every time I add to or examine it.










famous dogs in literature



Argos (Homer The Odyssey)

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes)

Cerberus (Hades’ dog who guards the way outta’ hell)

Little Ann and Big Dan -coonhounds (Wilson Rawls Where the red fern grows)

Buck and White Fang – St. Bernard mix and a Wolf dog (Jack London’s tales)

Merle retriever-hound (Ted Kerasote Merle’s door)

Nana -Newfie (JM Barrie’s Peter Pan)

Old Yeller -yellow blackmouth cur (Fred Gipson’s 1956 novel)

Toto – cairn terrier (Wonderful Wizard of Oz L Frank Baum)

Clifford the Big Red Dog – lab/vizsla (Norman Bridwell)

Fang- Boerhound (Neomastiff in movies) Jk Rowling’s Harry Potter

Snoopy – Beagle (Charles Schultz Peanuts cartoon strip)

Odie (Jim Davis Garfield cartoon strip)

Lassie-Collie (Eric Knight wrote a short story for the Saturday Evening post in 1938)

Tock -a watchdog (Norton Juster The Phantom Toll booth)

Shiloh- Beagle (Phyliss R Naylor Shiloh)

Winn-Dixie (Kate DiCamillo Because of Winn-Dixie)





The amazingly accelerated growth rate of our dogs (and how it really applies to training!)


Have you heard the old saying that one human year of life is the equivalent of seven dog years?  Most of us have and have readily believed it but I’ve got some news for you…it’s totally Wrong!  Let me clarify.


In case you didn’t know…A human and a dog are totally different biological creatures and should not be compared with each other in terms of longevity.  As humans we tend to over-think things and usually fall into thinking subjectively on most subjects.  That aside let’s just assume for the sake of this article that we did compare the longevity and growth rate of dogs vs. humans.   Let’s take a closer look at how the accelerated growth rate of our pups (in comparison with a human’s growth rate) can really make or break training and behavioral development.

It takes 1 year to raise a good dog but you’ve got 18 years to try and raise a respectable human!  Let me tell you, dogs are easier!  (Personally I have and am raising both dogs and children) In my day-to-day business of successfully training and behaviorally modifying owners’ habits and their dogs I see many dogs that still act much younger than how they could or should be acting at the age they are at.  Is your dog presenting bad or unsocial or rude behaviors that could be or should have been done away with by six months of age?  For many of you out there the answer is sadly, Yes.

Year one:  puppy goes from the human equivalent of newborn to one-year-old to human equivalent of 15-17 years!

In the pups first year they are transformed from newborn to toddler and from toddler right to what would be the human equivalent of an older teenager ready to breed and looking for independence and responsibility!  The growth rate is astronomical!  If you have a small breed dog the transformation happens even faster because they simply do not have as much growing physically to do.  Please, never forget behaviorally speaking that the brain and body of your dog are so much more closely linked and functioning together than our own imagining, time-traveling human brains.  There’s another saying that we as humans think of our bodies as, “a vehicle that brings our brains to meetings.”  All animals know better though.  They go through life richly connected to their senses and are contented and happy with the simple pleasures.  They are always alive to the moment.  If we miss critical training and behavioral lessons as well as the all important socialization factor at early stages we are doing our new pups great harm!


Year two: Teenager pup can add another 10 human years of growth!

Take advantage of the time.  Take action today!  Get your dog or pup outside and socialized.  If you can’t due to behavioral issues that are too great to handle and you’ve been doing the, “Let me put the dog away.” when you have guests, or the classic, “I’ll just cross to the other side of the street when I’m out walking my dogs because they go crazy.”  or even worse, “I’ll walk my dog at 3:00 a.m. so we don’t run into any dogs or people!”  You are shrinking your dogs social circle and time is working against you!  (Helpful Suggested Reading:  my blog-  please Subscribe, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen)  You are literally exacerbating the dog or pup’s issues and you are running out of time!


(If you already have a dog older than 2 and they have behavioral issues please understand normal training, group classes, obedience training, agility, schutzhund, herding, et cetera will NOT help your dog get over their anxiety, their aggression, their fear, or whatever other crazy, unsocial or rude behavioral patterns they are presenting…all that training will only add frivolous tricks to the equation and cost you plenty of money.  Instead of going that route seek out real help based in calmness and how dog’s move, think, and act in the environment and space around them.

Contact us if you need assistance.  We are rapidly expanding!  My book is almost complete, we are working on training and behavioral videos that will be available for purchase, our training collar works amazingly well (better than most tools on the market), and word keeps spreading about the fantastic difference our natural, calming methods provide for our clients.

Go to for more info

Getting Buff


Do you exercise?  If not, why not?  And if so, for how long?

If you own a dog the answer should always be a resounding YES, of course I exercise!  And if you own a dog make sure your dog gets physically drained of energy… many times to the point of real exhaustion and good hard panting.  Exercise them till they literally have to drop when they come home and just breath!  

Exercise cures and prevents a host of behavioral issues in our dogs and ourselves.  The positive effects of exercise are well known and documented.  I will not waste time going into all that evidence.

Here are a couple good quotes on exercise…

“The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.”

“You can have results or excuses – not both.”

“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.”

Exercise is a proven reliever or of negative stress = subtraction.  You may find that interesting because what do we do when exercising but add beneficial stress = addition.  That is what exercise is!  The addition of beneficial stress to our body which challenges the right things to grow and removes and reduces the wrong things.  Exercise done properly always stretches the capacity.  I love that!  All of nature bears witness to balance that exists.  Addition and subtraction.

Behaviorally working with your dog is no different.  It should always stretch the capacity, and enlarge the zone you are targeting.  It should leave both you and your dog or puppy calmer, less stressed, and literally healthier… which will lead to strength and confidence in the future.

Always push the boundaries.  Always go past former plateaus.