Ever wish you got the same love and respect from other people as you do from your dog? Here are some tricks for making that happen. They come from psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren, who wrote the book Born To Bark:
- Be consistent. Because consistency lets people – and dogs - know that you’re dependable and trustworthy. Think about it: your dog loves you for providing food, shelter, and walks every day. And they behave best, and feel most secure, when you keep them on a consistent schedule and they know what to expect from you. So, be the same way for the people in your life, by always showing up on time, meeting deadlines, and delivering what you promise.
- Give more “treats.” In other words, show your appreciation for the people in your life by paying them compliments, sending them ‘thank you’ emails, or treating them to surprise lunches. Our expert calls this “people training.” The thinking is that if dogs respond to rewards by being more loyal to you, people will too.
- Lower your expectations. We don’t expect much from our dogs – aside from a tail wag. That helps us criticize less, and appreciate more! So, try being the same way with people. Instead of wishing your spouse did more around the house, appreciate what they do contribute. Because, just like with a dog being rewarded for good behavior, when people feel appreciated for their efforts, they do more of the same.
- Never carry a grudge. Dr. Coren says if you watch any pack of dogs at play, you’ll notice that they sometimes stop to growl at each other, and then go right back to playing. He says it should be the same way with people! Meaning, when someone makes a mistake, tell them how it makes you feel, and then move on. That way, you come across as forgiving and fair.
- Play more. Dr. Coren says if there’s one lesson we can learn from dogs, it’s that we’re never too old to play. Because research shows that play is an important form of social interaction that reduces stress, and triggers the release of bonding hormones. So, just as you’d make time to play fetch with your dog, schedule activities with your family and friends.