Teaching a Dog to Whistle

TRD097aJust because we teach a concept, an idea, or a skill, it doesn't mean that someone learns it. Learners are in the driver's seat. To get that concept across to a group of new supervisors, this manager started by telling a story about a boy and his dog.

An older boy named Tom, his dog Buster, and his younger buddy, Joey, are standing on the lawn in front of Tom's house. Tom turns to Joey and boasts, "I taught Buster how to whistle." Joey looks at the dog and then at his friend and says, "No way! Show me."

So Tom looks at the dog who is standing there wagging his tail with his tongue hanging out and says, "Okay, Buster, go to it, boy. Whistle!" But the dog does nothing. This goes on for several minutes. Each time Buster is commanded to whistle, he looks at the boy, wags his tail, and sits there.

Finally Joey turns to Tom in disgust and says "Hey! You said your dog could whistle. Well, we've been here ten minutes and he hasn't whistled once!" Tom looks at Joey with a grin on his face and says, "Of course he can't whistle. I told you I taught him how to whistle. I didn't say he learned it."

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