Thursday, September 27, 2012

5 Things I learned from Dash the Dog

Dash our sweet, funny and so smart dog

7 Years ago we bought a little Jack Russell cross Dotson puppy. He is a little dog with a big personality. Here are 5 life coaching lessons I've learned from Dash.

1. Your self image is mostly self perception. When we bought Dash we also bought two Huskies. All 3 puppies were about the same size when we got them but of course, the Huskies grew to be much bigger than Dash within just a few months. Dash never noticed though. In fact, to this day, Dash thinks he's a big dog and has no trouble socializing with dogs that are even 8 times the size of him. He even fell head over heels in love with a Pitbull named Lucy.
We become a lot like the people we spend time with because it changes the way we see ourselves. If we hang out with confidant, articulate, self motivated people we will tend towards adopting those characteristics and, like Dash, completely forget that we're "too small" to run with the big dogs.

2. We all enjoy acknowledgment for a job well done. When we bought Dash we were still living in South Africa and the guy at the pet store told us that, for security reasons, we should get 1 little dog and 2 big dogs. The big dogs would scare thieves whereas the little dog would sound the alarm. Dash must have overheard this snippet of information because he's been diligently "sounding the alarm" ever since. It's his work and he takes it very seriously, sometimes a little too much so. It is cute though that after he's done his job he struts around for a bit asking for praise and affection as if he's telling everyone, "I did my job well and now I'd like some acknowledgment."

3. Even animals have unhealthy addictions that they need help with. This doesn't really fit easily into a life lesson but it is fascinating to me that even animals can have unhealthy addictions. Dash is addicted to chocolate.  We hide chocolate from him and when certain holidays come around we become extra vigilant about making sure the chocolate is out of sight. If there is a lesson here maybe it's that if you know and or love someone with an addiction try to do your part around the holidays by not having it a big part of the festivities. It's not your responsibility but it is an act of kindness.

4. Nap and stretch because it feels really good. Dash is a real snuggler. He loves to burrow under his blanket and have a nap, he'll sit on your lap if given even the slightest encouragement and often sneaks under the covers of my bed. When he wakes up from a nap he stretches out, downward facing dog, and gives a little pleasurable moan.

5. Look for reasons to be happy. I imagine that in dog world Dash has it pretty well set up. He gets fed, has lots of good napping spots, a family that adores him, yummy treats, lizards to chase and visitors to alert the family about but I can't help feeling that Dash would be happy anyway. He just seems to find reasons to be happy. I can take him on a 30 second car ride down the driveway, stop the car and he bounds out of it as if I've taken him for a two week fantasy vacation. I can walk out the house, be gone for 5 minutes, come back and he is bouncing around with joy, his little tail wagging so fast I'm afraid he'll knock himself over.

I'm sure most anyone who has a dog could have written this article because they all offer so much love and wisdom just by the nature of being dogs. I would love to hear about what you've learned from your puppy!

To learn more about me and life coaching please visit my website at Nicky Roberts Coaching

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