How Puppy Training Helped Me with My Human Interactions

 In Focusing on the positive, Relationships

How often do you look for people doing something good? I was reminded of this idea because last weekend we had a big change in our family; we adopted a new puppy. He is so cute and tiny at 10 weeks old and six pounds. He’s brought such fun such joy into our life! But at the same time, as you probably know if you’ve ever had a puppy, he’s also a lot of work. He loves to chew on me, my shoes, and pretty much anything he can find. He barks and whines if we leave him alone. And did I mention that he chews on EVERYTHING?

Of course, that means there’s a lot of training involved. One of the key things I’ve learned is to look for and reward them for doing something good. If I’m always just telling him “No!” or giving him attention when he’s misbehaving, I’m reinforcing his bad behavior. But it takes a bit of training; not just training the puppy, but training myself.

This idea of looking for the good behavior reminded me that the same thing is true in all of our relationships; with our family, our co-workers, even our boss, and our customers. When we notice them doing something helpful, valuable, something good, it’s important to recognize it and reward it.

I had totally forgotten this great concept! Yet, I’ve seen how powerful it can be when we say things like, “Wow, I sure appreciate your help unloading the dishwasher.” “That was a great job you did on the phone with that unhappy customer.” “I really appreciate the fact that you were honest with me with your feedback without making me feel defensive.” Then we not only train our minds to notice more of the good stuff, but we get more of it.

Looking for the good can be challenging because that’s not how our brains are wired. It’s normal for us to notice when people say or do things we don’t like. But just like with a puppy, we can train ourselves to get better at paying attention to the “good” behavior.

So, try it. This week be on the lookout for people doing good things. Then give it your attention by offering recognition, appreciation, and reward.

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