Lets Talk

Great minds; good minds; small minds

Sep 11, 2023


"Great minds discuss ideas;

good minds discuss events;

small minds discuss people"


I love this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, although to be honest it was Denzel Washington who I'd first heard use a variation of it in his acceptance speech for AFI Life Achievement Award in 2019.  As with many things I got to thinking about how this would apply to the dog training world.


Now this isn’t a slight on anyone in the industry, when I heard it, it bounced about in my head for days and I thought it’d make an interesting, perhaps thought-provoking topic. I think most of us have been in all three areas of mindset at some time or another.


The quote "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people", I think, offers a look at what kinds of topics people choose to talk about and how meaningful those conversations are.


Great Minds Discuss Ideas


Great minds would be those who discuss methodologies, philosophies, and innovations in dog training and behaviour.


These are trainers, behaviourists, researchers, or just people with a keen interest in dogs who look at the bigger picture.  


They think about how to make training better overall, the psychology behind dog behaviour, and how to form a better relationship between humans and dogs.


By focusing on ideas, these people can help contribute to, and encourage positive and constructive change in the field of dog training, ultimately leading to better-trained dogs who will enjoy a richer relationship with their owners.


Good Minds Discuss Events


These are people who chat about particular things that have happened in dog training, like a recent show or competition, a workshop, or a training session that didn't go as planned.


Talking about these things can be helpful, but it's all about stuff that's already happened.


This kind of talk doesn't really help come up with or encourage new ways to train dogs or think ahead.


It may not make dog training better as a whole, but it keeps people in the loop and interested in what's going on.


Small Minds Discuss People


This is about people who mostly talk about specific dog trainers, usually criticising or gossiping about them, instead of talking about their training methods or what they bring to the table.


Conversations like this can be harmful and can turn into personal attacks or just complaints about each other. This kind of talk makes the environment negative and stops people from focusing on better ways to train dogs.


While it's normal to talk about others in any kind of social group, spending too much time on gossip instead of on ideas or events holds everyone back and keeps things from getting better.



The way we think and talk, can have different effects on people, trainers and the industry as a whole.


Talking about new ideas helps make things better and helps come up with new, better ways of doing things.


Chatting about stuff that's happened keeps people in the loop but might not make a big difference in how we train dogs.


Gossiping or bad-mouthing people doesn't help anyone, it just creates drama and slows down progress.


Like in most situations, a mix of all three outlooks; talking about new ideas, keeping up with events, and being respectful to people can help make the dog training world a better place.