Don’t Blame The Dogs

Some time ago our two dogs decided that I spend too much time online. The newcomer chewed the network cable. I was hopelessly offline.

First I was bit angry, but managed to think who was to blame here: was it the dogs or me. My initial thought was to blame dogs, as it was the smaller one that chewed the cable. Then I thought that maybe the dogs thought had found a new toy. They have never seen a network cable before, how could they know it wasn’t meant to be eaten. I also thought that it wouldn’t have required much from me to plug off the cable when dogs were left alone.

It was me to blame. I hadn’t taught the dogs. Dogs had a reason to chew the cable – they wanted to play. I didn’t plug off the cable.

How this philosophy works in games production?
I hadn’t heard from our artist for a several days, even when I had emailed him and given game specific instructions. I was bit surprised, but I decided to give him time. I know he is a busy man (terribly busy man) so he simply might not have had enough time to deal with my post. After few days I was about to ask him… an email had arrived to my mailbox. He apologized… and said that he had wondered why I hadn’t contacted him after his latest post, but realized that the post was still saved in his drafts. He thought he had emailed me, but the email was not sent. Simple human error caused us both to wonder what’s happening.

The lesson behind these stories are that you shouldn’t blame others – they might have reason for their behavior. Instead of blaming others, ask yourself how you could take responsibility and contribute to solving the issue.

Don’t blame the dogs.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. @RayB: Thanks for your comment. First I must repeat: check clarification number 2 in my previous comment. Secondly: of course in case of urgency or critical issue I would have contacted him sooner. The project was not “just waiting the artist” – there were lots of other tasks to handle besides this specific case with the artist. We didn’t lose time in this case, and I understand your important note: game producers should NEVER just wait for something to happen. Taking action is very crucial.

    In my experience… I have noticed that flooding people with emails is not a good strategy. That was the reason I decided not to email him sooner.

    Thanks for the insight.

  2. Nice story, but I think the real lesson is not about “blame” but “responsibility”.

    YOU should have contacted him ANYWAYS instead of assuming he “was a busy man”. You two would have realized his mistake much sooner and possibly not lost any time in your project!

  3. @Sharon: Dogs get lots of attention from us, the attack was more like… just dogs :) That’s the way they are.

    @Omroth: Please let me clarify:
    1) It’s just my way of working that I try not to email everybody all the time
    2) I was about to email the artist… but he managed to email me first
    3) The lesson I learned was: I shouldn’t blame the artist – he had a reason for his behavior. Email confirmations are good… but in this case it wouldn’t have work because the email didn’t even left from the draft folder. (Good point though)

    @stewcraft: Think of her with a network cable in his mouth… ;)

  4. How could anyone blame that innocent face? :)

  5. But… how is waiting “contributing to solving the issue”?

    I think the moral of this story is to put on email confirmations…


  6. Nice story. Do you also give your dogs lots of attention when you’re home? Maybe the cable chewing was a jealous attack on that thing that takes so much of your time away from them. Not that your artist would be jealous of your time spent with others, but a quick hello earlier on would have stopped you both from wondering too ;-)

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