I am a lot nicer to my dog than I am to myself. Take, for example, learning a new skill.
My puppy is learning to sleep in the laundry room. He’s graduating from his kennel, which will no longer be a part of mommy’s office decor. Yay! He is also learning three new commands: 1) “go to your room,” 2) “stay in your room, and 3) “come out!” Teaching him this new skill and these commands involve lots of encouragement, patience, and treats.
I ask him to sit. He sits. He gets a treat.
I tell him, “Come out!” in my most happy dog training voice. He comes out. He gets a treat.
This goes on and on. Eventually, however, I say “Stay in your room!” and put up the new dog gate. He gets a treat. And lots of praise. “You’re such a good boy!” I enthuse. “What a good dog! What a good stay in your room!” Another treat. And then I leave.
A few minutes later, I return. More praise. I leave. This is repeated a few more times and then I let him out. “That was such a good stay in your room!”
This year, I have decided to learn some new working skills. I am learning to walk on the treadmill while typing and without making too many typos. I am learning to work only 40 hours a week (radical!). I am experimenting with Fixed Schedule Productivity and Completion Centric Planning.
When I make a typo and I’m walking, I often say a curse word. I never get treats. I never say, “Good walk! Good write! What a good typist you are!”
When I work longer hours than expected, I call myself terrible names.
When I slack off, I call myself terrible names.
There are no treats. No praise. No encouragement.
As I write this, my puppy is sleeping next to the treadmill. He’s such a sweet sociable dog. This is in part due to the fact that he’s always received lots of love and praise. He learned how to be a good dog. I taught him this.
What am I teaching myself when I treat me differently? I say things to myself that I would never say to anyone else, not even my dog, who doesn’t (as far as I know) speak English.
My dog and I both depend on the same person to help them learn new skills. So I am changing my methods with one of us.
“Good girl! Good type! Good write! Here, have a treat.”