When I first got my puppy he was very active. He would jump on people, nip to get you to play with him, try to get your attention with his paws, not realizing how they scratched and hurt. As he grew, I realize that this behavior, which at first seemed so cute, was going to land us with ripped clothes, hospital visits and potential lawsuits as he grew. Something had to be done.
We started taking Duke for training. To my surprise, he picked up on his commands very quickly, with just a little bit of training. I was a proud camper, and he was quite happy. The day that they put that little graduation cap on him and bribed him with treats to get him to stay on that mini platform to take his picture was a proud day for me.
Today, Duke still likes to jump every once in awhile. He will still nip every once in awhile just to get my attention. However he no longer jumps on guests, he doesn’t try to drag me across the street to greet other dogs, and he is pretty well-behaved. As a matter of fact, he’s the most well-behaved out of all of the dogs that I’ve ever owned (although I can’t seem to stop him from shredding paper).
What this experience with Duke taught me is that with just a little bit of instruction, I could get Duke’s attention. My listening skills have dramatically improved. My ability to ready puppy language, and body language, has improved. Today, Duke looks in my eyes and waits for me to give a command. All because his attention, eye contact and listening have improved, he is an extremely well behaved and attentive dog.
When I’m dealing with my clients, I try to take what I learned from Duke and apply it. I look intently at them and listen as though these were the last words I was ever going to hear. Listening, observing cues, and hearing what my clients are both telling me, and what they are not telling me, clue me in to their pain points rather quickly. I am able to pinpoint the exact problems, and come up with an even better, more creative solutions for them, all because I am listening to them and watching their body language and facial expressions.
In short, a little listening goes a long way. You can have a conversation but if you’re not truly listening then we’re not truly identifying opportunities for solutions and future possibilities.