IMG_2600I chose a career in dog training  because of my love for dogs and my passion for teaching people.  Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of dogs and their people, helping to ensure they shared a lifelong relationship built on trust and mutual respect.  

One of the many benefits in my career is the opportunity to build lasting friendships with clients as well as the chance to watch their pups from time to time. Over the holidays,  I enjoyed the opportunity to care for one of my puppy clients.  Lucy, a miniature chocolate Labradoodle, reminded me of the power behind social facilitation in fostering learning.

IMG_2597Watching Lucy and the interaction between her and BOLO was fantastic.  Playtime between the two at Dog is Good headquarters made it difficult for me to focus on work.  Boy, were they adorable.  What I found fascinating was the social learning that took place over the course of the week.  I was amazed at how quickly Lucy continued to refine her manners skills.

Whatever BOLO did, Lucy followed. When BOLO was told to “stay”, Lucy stayed as well.  When walking on leash, it took only 2 walks together for Lucy to stay in step with BOLO and walk nicely vs. trying to race ahead. When I took them to our off-leash running spot at our near-by Navy Base, Lucy ran with BOLO and came back to me immediately on a recall when both dogs were called. When BOLO settled ( which occurred more frequently during Lucy’s visit because she was exhausted playing with the puppy all the time), Lucy settled too. 

Like the scenario I described above, people experience a similar phenomenon. Individuals become like those they spend the most time with.  Jim Rohn, leading authority in personal development, once said , “ you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with most”.

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The people you spend time with can have a profound effect on how you see the world, how you engage with it, and ultimately the success you experience on personal and professional level.

The right people will challenge you, inspire you, and elevate you to new levels that you may have previously thought unattainable.

Who you surround yourself with can affect, not only how you think, but can influence the decisions you make- which is why it is important to evaluate the people in your life who are closest to you.  

 As you think about people you spend the most time with ( family, friends, co-workers), ask yourself- Is this person an “anchor” or an “engine”.   An “anchor is someone someone who holds you back from doing something- often with your best interest at heart,  someone who exudes negative energy, or someone who makes it difficult to maintain proper mindset or personal discipline.   An “engine” is  someone who provides the fuel, inspiration, knowledge, and positive energy to help you soar to new heights.   Now, I am not saying stop spending time with those you consider anchors in your life- especially family or friends. However, you may chose to limit the amount of time as you expand your circle of influence to include those you want to emulate.   I do suggest steering clear from negative people and those who constantly tell you why they believe you can’t do something. When you seek out opportunity to find like minded individuals and mentors, your personal and professional life can soar to entirely new levels.  

Lucy went home with some solid skill sets after a week in our home and, although I reinforced all the learning, BOLO was the best teacher of all.