Maisie is going to school!
After 5 years,I decided to work with a fabulous dog trainer,Nancy Bradley. Maisie isn’t out of control,but as some of you know,she has a mind of her own.
On her first visit,Nancy shared insights into Maisie’s behaviors. When Maisie sat between us,Nancy told me she was protecting me. When Maisie whined,it was because she was unsure.
Maisie had difficulty with “down.” The first time Nancy demonstrated “down”with Maisie,she told me for a dog,“down”is a submissive and vulnerable place. When Maisie whined and put out her paw, Nancy said she was protesting. When Maisie looked behind her,Nancy said she was checking to see if it was safe.
Maisie wasn’t the only one learning.
Maisie taught me a valuable lesson that day. When we’re in business,we struggle with our own “down.” Whether it’s trying a new way to market our business,adding a new product/service,or even just asking for help,you feel vulnerable.
Like Maisie,you may protest silently through your actions or verbally by complaining. You may look around and check your environment to make sure it’s safe.
Reward good behavior.
Nancy taught me to reward Maisie’s good behavior. If she couldn’t do “down,”we would go back to something she could do like “sit.” When she sat,reward. When she looked,reward. Then we’d try down again.
You need to reward your good behavior too. Trying new things or asking for help takes courage. Someday’s are harder than others. On those days,take smaller steps. Reward yourself when you take positive step. Then try another.
It’s easy to begin a tirade of negative self talk if you can’t do “down”right away. On those day’s think of Maisie. Do you think she would ever do “down”if I called her stupid,dumb and yelled at her? Absolutely not. Neither will you.
Instead by slowly rewarding good behavior,“down”is achieved painlessly.
Asking for help
One of my big “downs”is asking for help. I was reminded of this by a friend last night. For some reason,I feel as though I should be able to do anything. If it isn’t working out,instead of asking for help,I dig in deeper trying to work harder.
Over my career,I’ve learned this never,ever moves me forward. Instead I get stuck in a negative cycle.
When help is offered (and I finally accept it),I wonder what was all that drama about. How much easier it was when I got out of my own way and accepted help. Part of my re-affirmations for spring is to ask for help more often. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
Maisie likes down
Once Maisie mastered down,she learned to enjoy it. Now when I say down,she flops right down. She rests here. She knows I’m in control and she can take a load off. Down is good.
What is your “down?” What vulnerability do you struggle with that is keeping you back from reaching your potential? Do you reward yourself for the small things?
Nancy Bradley is the owner of Bradley’s Canine Education and can be reached at 508-286-2248 or firstname.lastname@example.org