Abbot Phillip: On Training a Puppy

Abbot Phillip
Abbot Phillip

From Abbot Phillip’s Notebook (2014-04-30):

“Many years ago when I arrived in New Mexico, a good friend gave me a horse and told me: you can learn a lot about humans by watching this horse. Some months ago, we received a beagle puppy who is now 11 months old. He is just learning the disciplines of obedience. Again, I can see so many human reactions and responses in this puppy and he grows into a mature dog.

I see a lot of myself in him, but also see so much of our human situation. Right now the challenge with Joshua the Beagle is to have him get used to wearing a harness and walking with me. I am not his master, but I work on his training. He hates the harness. When I put it on him, he stops doing anything and just stands there, stubborn as he can be. He will not come even for a treat. Becoming a monk, or even becoming a Christian, is a bit like that. Learning to live a spiritual life is very much like that. No one wants a harness today. We want completely liberty. Yet it is the harness and obedience that give a dog happiness in the long run and protect the dog against accidents and incidents that anger others.

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