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Lessons from a Dog

October 10, 2010

Inspired by watching my dog Pacer @pacerpup interact today with Boca, the standard poodle and Jazzie a fellow lab, I began to explore their social interactions and how they relate to ours. Can we actually learn from our dogs?

Lessons from our Best Friend

Barking is a call for attention:

When dogs bark it is a “wake-up call”. Play with me, listen to me, hear me! Just as dogs bark for attention, we have a tendencey to want to be heard as well. Not always polite but effective. Does it work? When Pacer barks I usually turn my back and ingore her to not reinforce the behavior I don’t want.  If another co-worker or client began screaming at me would I do the same? I would probably not turn my back on them, but I would definitely not bark back.

Body Language:

You can talk to your dog for hours, use various commands, however it’s your body language that your dog will most likely best respond to. Sound familiar?  If you’ve ever encountered someone who talks your head off with complete disregard for your uninterest this is someone that could learn a bit about “body language”. Dogs are perceptive, we humans not always so much.

How to know when others are interested in you?

  1. They maintain eye contact more than 60% of the time.
  2. The more wide-opened the eyes are, the more interested the person is.
  3. They are nodding their heads. That means they’re attentive and listening.
  4. They smile frequently. A real smile!
  5. They are not distracted by other people, their cell phone, or other device.
  6. When the conversation ends, they ask how they can continue communication.
    Exchange of business cards, email or phone number is a good sign.

Follow the Rules:

In order to have a well behaved dog, you must set limits, boundaries and have certain expectations of behavior.  You essentially become your dog’s pack leader. The leaders are the strength of the pack. The followers need the leader to guide them. This primal instinct keeps the pack secure and happy. How does this compare to our working environment?  Clients have expectations too.  They look to you to guide them, give them knowledge.  The mistake that dog owners can make is by solely providing love and affection.  If we only told our clients what they wanted to hear, how valuable are we to them?  Of course, keeping tact and being conscious of how you provide information and feedback is extremely important.

How to explain to client they are wrong >>

Examples to communicate >>

What have you learned? Share your thoughts, post a picture or tell a story. Get creative!

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 12, 2010 10:36 pm

    We can learn a lot by observing our best friends. The four legged kind I mean. I don’t know if the past 14 years with my dog has made me a better communicator, but it has made me make better and clearer observations. If it weren’t for Andy, I would not have gotten out and explored the new neighborhood we moved to as much or as soon — and taking roads less traveled.

    Small side bar: I’ve heard that some barking (listening to tone and frequency is key) actually makes a dog feel good. It gives off a little euphoria. Sort of like human laughter. Think happy Lassie bark.

    Also, if a dog looses its sense of smell, it looses its sense of self, or identity. Really sad when you think about it.

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