Puppy Training: Communication Lessons I Learned From My Dog

18 Oct

Sometimes I feel like my best communication is with my dog.  She waits for me, understands me, and licks my face.  There’s never any confusion.  Why can’t business communication be this simple? We get so bogged down in formalities and details that we often forget the most basic rules. A lot can be learned from our furry pals’ simple ways

1. Good Doggy
When my puppy knows that I have a treat for her, she does everything in her power to get that treat.  Incentives are one of the easiest ways to get people to follow directions.   However, you must clearly lay out the rewards so the people you are communicating with understand exactly what’s in it for them.  There should never be any uncertainty as to what the reward is or how to achieve it.

2. Learn New Tricks
Maybe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but in communication, companies grow old if they don’t learn new tricks.  Social media is a perfect example of this.  Nearly all large companies use media like Facebook and Twitter, not because they’re popular, but because that’s where their audience lies.  Technology’s growing importance demands that companies harness the power digital media if they want to survive.

3. A Bark Gets Attention, Too Much Barking Gets the Boot
It’s important that people listen to each other when communicating with a team. Unfortunately, there are instances where an idea doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Don’t be afraid to bark! Talk to your team and bring attention to your proposal; occasionally, all an idea needs is better promotion or clarification.  However, be wary of how often you bark.  No one likes a whining dog.  If a group doesn’t seem to be latching on to your idea, be vocal. Discuss why it’s not working or what you can do to make the idea more compelling.

4. Sit! Stay!
Dogs don’t understand complex commands, and honestly, neither do most people.  When communicating with a team, you must be concise.  Complicated directions only create a loss of intent, and lack of clarity results in poor performance.  You must be direct and specific when communicating to ensure the correct actions are taken.

Communicating with our dogs is so simple. Why do we stumble when communicating with people? Taking these basic lessons and applying them to a business setting will create more effective teamwork communication, and soon enough, you’ll be running with the alpha dogs.

by Kelsie Lahti


3 Responses to “Puppy Training: Communication Lessons I Learned From My Dog”

  1. Miquel F October 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    you make some pretty interesting connections here, we are just animals after all right?

  2. Nicholas Brown November 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Kelsie, I really like this blog post. I find it interesting how you linked communication in a business setting to something many people can easily understand. You’re comparison to dogs works well!

  3. Katie Bush November 9, 2011 at 1:39 am #


    I think this blog is particularly well done. You write in a way that almost every reader will be able to relate to, seeing as dog is “man’s best friend.” The comic at the end draws my attention as well. I particularly like your comment about learning new tricks. As smartphones and social media become increasingly more prevalent, they become increasingly important for business. Great article!


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