This morning I was reminded by my dog, Evie how to master something in a very short time.
Evie is brilliant as far as dogs go. so she needs enrichment, and with temps above 100*, we skipped a walk and opted to learn a trick instead.
I taught Evie (now almost ten years old) how to play dead. It only took her fifteen minutes and three tbsp of peanut butter to do it on command.
I’m not a dog expert but I have a secret for working with animals.
- Never punish. Trust and respect come first.
- Reward progress, not perfection.
Trust & Respect.
An animal will not work with you if it suspects you’re insincere. You will not work with others (at least willingly) if they seem insincere.
So, you should be honest with yourself.
If you aren’t clear on why you want to lose weight, “you” will likely sabotage “yourself.” (that’s two different people, there, no you don’t need therapy for it). But if you trust you’re doing this for the right reasons and see building fitness and discipline as a way to respect yourself. Then you can say “no” and “yes” much easier when the time calls for you to be disciplined.
Evie learned fast because I didn’t wait for her to do a perfect “play dead” before rewarding her.
I rewarded her when:
- She lied down
- She followed the treat with her nose.
- She followed the treat with her head.
- She followed the treat with her shoulders and rolled on her side.
- THEN, I called “Play Dead.” and rewarded with additional praise and petted her each time she repeated it.
Thank goodness we don’t wait for babies to walk in stride before we start cheering. We’d have a bunch of Gen Z’s crawling around at work.
Here’s the million-dollar coaching tip:
Look for the changes you create, not the results that changes make.
Results and outcomes happen because of behaviors. I don’t cheer someone on for losing 5 lbs. I cheer them on for doing the things that will bring them 20 lbs more.
Be kind to yourself. Trust yourself. Look for ways to change, and reward yourself with acknowledgment, social sharing, or a new water bottle or shoes.
Old dogs teach young-men new tricks all the time.