Train Your Dog (and Employees) Early

by Frank Roche on September 20, 2010

in Training

I walk Snickers the Wonder Dog without a leash. She responds to easy and light voice commands. She knows “heel, wait, slow, sit, down and shake.” She also knows hand commands — I can direct where she’s going by indicating left or right with my hand. It’s why she’s Snickers the Wonder Dog and not just plain old Snickers.

My neighbor, on the other hand, has a Kindergarten Puppy School dropout. His 7-year-old Portuguese Water Dog yanks and jerks on her leash when he walks her.

This morning, STWD and I walked past my neighbor. His dog was yelping at us, practically turning herself inside out to get off her leash. Snickers the Wonder Dog calmly walked past the bad dog. Tail wagging.

“Must be nice to have such a well-trained dog,” my neighbor said.

“It is,” I said.

You see, what he doesn’t know is that Snickers (she was plain old Snickers back then) and I spent a lot of time in our driveway. She was on a leash. I trained her to pay attention. To heel. To sit when I commanded it — not when she got around to it. Everyone in our family learned how to train her to be a good dog. It worked.

Although I walk Snickers the Wonder Dog every day, I still give little course corrections. Small adjustments to let her know when she’s doing well and quiet commands when I want her just a little closer or a little more attuned to her surroundings. It’s all so easy. So calm.

Know why? It’s because I started early. Snickers the Wonder Dog learned what I expected. What I wanted. Learned how to anticipate. Living with her for the past eight years, as a result, has been wonderful.

Which makes me think about employees and HR…what training and orientation are like in the beginning for new employees. It’s a choice — you can do the hard work up front to help people know what’s expected. Or, you can end up jerking them by the leash later.

Bonus Coverage: Snickers the Wonder Dog Plays in a Snow Pile

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