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It's Not What You Do

It's the Way That You Do It

I was listening to some perfect-for-Sunday-morning jazz vocals and heard "Tain't What You Do (It's the Way That Cha Do It)" sung by Jimmie Lunceford.

I had just been thinking about how I've been training my puppy to "properly" walk on leash. The ideal, of course, is that she walks alongside me with her head about level with my leg and follows my lead, sits when we stop, turns with me, crosses the street without stopping in the middle, and takes just a short time to sniff when intrigued.

As you can imagine or perhaps have experienced, puppies are incredibly curious and have little impulse control. You can probably imagine, as well, the level of frustration that I reached when my expectations and training methods collided with the natural tendencies of her breed and age.

The song reminded me that just because you're doing everything according to plan or how you were asked or how you were taught by an expert doesn't mean that you will be successful. Sometimes, success is elusive until you apply some innovative thinking.

I'm sure the person in the image above thinks they're doing what they need to do by telling others what needs to happen or trying to straighten out a problem. From the image, it's clear that their method isn't ideal. They may not need to change what they're doing (problem-solving) but how they're doing it (yelling).

With respect to my puppy walking training, I've been exercising my creative side. When I find that the methods others, even really good dog trainers, have taught me aren't working for her, I make modifications.

For example, dog trainers often look down on harnesses and think that pet parents should keep drilling themselves and their dogs solely on leashes attached to a collar. I didn't use a harness with my previous dog and honestly didn't need it. However, when I started to use a simple harness with our new pup, it was a relief for both of us. She willingly put on the harness from the first time she saw it and I have proper leverage for those times when I need to get her to move quickly, such as crossing a street.

Our friend in the image above could exercise their creative side to come up with a better way to express their ideas. A change of tone or volume, asking questions for clarity, involving the other party in brainstorming solutions would all be more productive and help move the conversation forward.

If you're feeling stuck - you're doing everything "right" and not getting the results you want - coaching can help. Let's talk!

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