In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche wrote: 'A table of values hangs over every nation. It is the table of their overcomings. It is the voice of their will to power.'  At least, I'm pretty sure he wrote something like that. I can't find my copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra to check. Here we find the assertion of a connection between value and overcoming. Overcoming is the ability to resist impulses. The value of a thing is a function of the quantity and intensity of impulses one would be willing to resist in order to possess that thing. And that, in a nutshell, is the rationale for dog training. When we train our dogs, we are teaching them the things they must be prepared to overcome their impulses for. We are teaching them values.

When, last year, I acquired Hugo, my German shepherd dog, everyone asked me: how can you do that? You have a baby. Why not get something safer, like a labrador? Well, I acquired Hugo precisely because he was a GSD of a certain sort. His four grandparents were all Schutzhund III. Of his great-grandparents, six out of eight were Schutzhund III, the others were Schutzhund II. This was a lineage of dogs who were capable of being taught to resist their impulses - to learn values. I think almost all dogs are like this. I've trained a wolf. But wolves, much like 15 month old sons, are high maintenance. With Hugo, training is a no-brainer.

Training continues, and it's a lot of fun. My son's first word: 'dog'.

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