Carrot and stick philosophy of motivation, dogs and sheep.

You may have heard of the carrot and the stick philosophies, as if they are divided. That one can get more with a loving hand than with the hand of violence. That if some provide a carrot in front of the donkey, the donkey is motivated to move forward. That if a stick is threatening behind the donkey, the donkey is also motivated to move forward. Direction and motivation are the two key attitudes there. Whom controls the stick, and whom controls the carrot?

Are you hungry? Are you fearful?

three orange straw handmade carrots in a stick
Carrots? look closer… : Photo by Kindel Media.

Fundamentally we are all afraid of being hungry, and we are grateful for a full belly. Thus the carrot and the stick are the same ideal!

two adult black and tan german shepherds running on ground
Dog with a stick : Photo by Jozef Fehér.

What motivates yourself?

If you have enough food, shelter and water – then what will you do with your time? What do you want to contribute and what do you want to destroy?

What is the gap in the fence that you will chose to go through?

Shepherding is not all about leading the sheep, not by a long way. Look at the situation. The shepherder wants to get their sheep into the yard. So does the shepherder just say, oi sheep get into the yard?

Does that work?

Might do, if the sheep understood verbal language.

There is that gap there, and it is the only gap of the whole fenced yard, once through that gap the shepherder will close the gap and the sheep will be trapped forever more in that yard. Do the sheep realise that?

Dogs bark! Dogs are used to scare the sheep away from the dog and thus provide control over the sheep. The shepherder controls the dog though having a mutually beneficial relationship with the dog, the dog themself has authority over the sheep, through having sharp teeth, and a bark and growl. The sheep are afraid of the dog. The sheep want to get away from the dog, due to their perception the dog will eat them.

Little do the sheep even realise that they actually outweigh the dog by about 5 times, have hard hooves and could band together and trample that dog as easily as could be. Thus the dog, is smaller, seems fiercer, but is alone, tiny and actually is just a false threat.

flock of young sheep walking in enclosure
Herd of sheep : Photo by Rachel Claire.

The shepherder wants to either steal the wool off the sheep, or slaughter the sheep, or use the sheep to eat the lawn! Thus the shepherder needs to control the sheep. But the shepherder is also just one person, and their dog is just one dog. Dog plus human = control over the entire herd of sheep.

Who built the fence? Who left the gate open? Why is the dog working for the shepherder?

Humans built the fence, they left the gate open, the dog works for the shepherder because they love the shepherder and the shepherder feeds and returns the dogs love. Reciprocation.

Are you a sheep, the dog, or the shepherder? Are you the fence, or the gap in the fence?

What is leading you forward, and what keeps you motivated? The carrot or the stick? The dogs teeth, or the promise of greener pastures? What keeps you in one spot, the fence, or the gap in the fence, or the fear of the unknown?

white and brown animals near fence
Is the grass greener? : Photo by Pixabay.

Are you afraid of the unknown? Are you afraid of the known and thus submitting to the known authority because you are even more afraid of what that authority will do to yourself? What if the unknown is actually entirely beneficial, what if the grass IS greener over there, but the fence stops you from going into the other yard?

Are you trapped between the carrot and the stick?

Does a dog stand in your way?

Are you afraid you’ll loose the carrot presented to yourself?

What is RISK?


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