We have owned our sweet little Sherlock for about a year and a half. Dachshunds have been part of our lives for most of our married life and we love them. However, this is the first time we decided to “educate” our new friend. Shortly after we got our boy, we decided to enroll him in pet training.
Now if you are a dachshund owner you know that they generally train their owners and in a very short time, you find yourself living your life around what they want. But they are pretty clever and if you lean into the loyalty they have for their owners and their love of treats, you can accomplish quite a lot with them and have a lot of fun doing it.
So now our little Sherlock will sit, lie down, stay (most of the time), and rollover when in the mood. All thanks to a little training. Recently, though, I decided I would try to do some agility training with him since he is pretty athletic. We work just a short time every day, and he can jump a barrier, go over a ramp, wind through my legs, and do a circle around an object. All in just a week or so.
As I thought about this and applied this to business coaching, I realized how like my dog we all are when it comes to learning new things and creating new habits. If you want to develop some new, positive habits, take a page out of their handbook.
1. Make changes in small steps. My dog won’t accomplish big things all at once. When we started training our new habits, we did one thing at a time. First, we learned to jump, then do the ramp and once we could do those things easily we add new elements. If you want to make big changes, create small steps.
2. Practice, practice, practice. Most days Sherlock and I go out for 15 minutes and practice our new habits. Even though it seems like we are doing the same things all the time, every time we practice it becomes more familiar and soon it becomes second nature.
3. Treats yourself when you do well. When we want to achieve big things, we need to learn to celebrate each small achievement. Treating works for everyone, not just dogs.
As always, small changes produce big results.