Integrity Matters
September 3, 2008

Treat ‘em like dogs!

Question: (E-359)

How should we treat one another?  Like dogs!  Try the approach with your spouse, best friends, employees, bosses and strangers you meet on the street.  Forget the standard counsel to deal with others as if they were royalty or part of a deity. Ignore the old wisdom to treat others as you would want to be treated; including the principles from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.   Just stick with how folks treat four-legged animals and you will do just fine.

One comedian suggests that if extraterrestrials are really “out there” watching us, then they just might be confused regarding who really is in charge on Earth.  After all, what does it look like to an observer when taller, two-legged human beings are walking behind these small four-legged creatures “cleaning up after them” much as a servant might?  Who might these non-earthlings assume is “in charge” when seemingly every effort is made to insure the comfort of these furry, four-legged masters? 

When a dog (add human) does not do what you want, don’t yell or threaten.  Rather, speak softly, clearly and reward admirable and appropriate behavior.  So, what is it that causes humans frequently to manage their behavior around animals effectively, while too often forgetting to exercise the same level of self-control when dealing with other people?  My answer is simple.  Human beings forget sound interpersonal communications principles because of their early and frequent exposure to poor role models and their own unrealistic expectations.

Solution:  study and apply dog-training programs and apply them.

The happiest dog lovers seem to do the following; which, with little modification, could be applied to social interactions, in just about any setting with almost everybody..

  1. Greet warmly. 
  2. Speak softly.
  3. Hug and pet, reassuringly.
  4. Make and sustain eye contact.
  5. Focus attention exclusively and allow adequate time for re-familiarizing after lengthy or even short separations.
  6. Provide gifts, even small ones that confirm appreciation and affection.
  7. Serve healthy food, in clean dishes, with fresh water; saving “treats” for special moments.
  8. Maintain a regimen of medical check ups and encourage exercise.
  9. Allow for down time, including rest periods, and have fun together.

Pets and people have lots in common.  We need them and they need us.  Certainly, there is a responsibility to provide clean and comfortable bedding, another way of saying a healthy environment.  Integrity is at the center of nurturing life, whether for animals or humans; and we would be wise to apply our intelligent “dog” insights to everyday encounters.

So, for the foreseeable future, please:  treat ‘em like dogs!  They will be happier and so will you.

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