In women’s lives and roles as girlfriends, wives, and mothers, many of us equate accommodation with love. We clear the sofa for our husband, when he needs to sit down; we change our schedule around, so we can attend our child’s recital or softball tournament. It’s what we do. All good people, to some degree, accommodate the people they love. It is a good and desirable thing. In becoming leaders your dogs can depend on, it’s important to know in the animal world, accommodation is akin to subordination. When one dog “accommodates” another by giving up his ball, moving out of the way, or backing off when challenged, the message is, “You win. I defer to you. “
In my own experience, this practice of accommodation has affected my ability to direct and manage my staff. I’m by nature a very nice person, taught by my parents to be sensitive to the needs of others and sometimes to put their needs ahead of my own. In most of life’s circles, that is a good rule to live by. But taken to an extreme, you may become a ‘doormat.’ Doormats can’t manage or direct dogs, children, or employees. Doormats don’t often get all of what they want in life, either. In my own life, I no longer accommodate. I compassionately direct.
When your dog walks faster on leash, do you speed up to keep up, instead of insisting that he walk at your pace? When he growls and objects to being moved off the sofa, do you back off and let him remain on his “throne?” When you ask him to “Stay,” but he gets up anyway, do you just shrug and let him go? If you do any of these things, you are accommodating your dog, and cutting your personal power off at the knees. No wonder your dog doesn’t take you seriously. Your willingness to accommodate is like saying, “Never mind.” YOU don’t take yourself seriously, so why should your dog?
In becoming a leader, go ahead and love your dog, setting reasonable expectations, then follow-through quietly and fairly without accommodation. Avoid the other Power Sappers of fidgeting and emotional extremes, mentioned in earlier posts, and you will be amazed at your increased effectiveness! BTW, it works in life, too!