The CEO Refresher Websites for Professionals
Take control of your online presence
with your own professional website!

The WOW Factor! As Taught to Me by My Puppy
by Darlene Pineda


One week with a new pup has taught me more about the WOW factor then over 10 years in retail and restaurant work! I know, you're thinking, "She's so sleep deprived from the puppy that she's hallucinating", and to a degree you might be right… but hear me out.

The first time I woke at 3 am to runrunrun the puppy outside for potty it was cold, it was drizzling, and I was tired. And pups knew that I was cold, wet and tired and did his job - pleasing me. How? He ran back into the house, quick as he could so I could go back to bed. Unfortunately, the potty inside takes longer to clean then the potty outside. If anyone has ever potty trained a child or housebroken a pup, you know that it takes lots and lots of praise - you always leave them UP and happy and proud. Well, the difference between a child and a puppy (besides the diapers) is that a pup reads you. I mean, really reads you. In the wild, his life depends on reading his mother's body language. So dogs often ignore the verbal commands you give and respond to the non-verbal ones, (as, actually, many people do - dogs just do it to a much greater degree). So if you tell him no when he steals your sandwich, but inside you think it's the cutest thing ever, he'll probably keep stealing your sandwich.

George Burns once said, "In acting, honesty is everything. If you can fake that, you've got it made". Well, with puppies, there is no faking. When I wake up at 3 am and look into the cold wet night, I have to want to go out there with every fiber of my being. I have to SINCERELY want to be with my puppy - HONESTLY want to run around the yard singing "wee's and poo's, wee's and poo's", not caring if the neighbors do hear me. I have to be FRIENDLY with my pup, cheering him on when he does something right, correcting him when he makes a mistake. Ah, but here's a quick management lesson for you - when he does make a mistake I quickly correct him, then show him the right thing to do, then praise him like crazy for doing it. I always leave him UP.

And I have to be KNOWLEDGEABLE. I have hit over 40 websites, gathering information I need. Everything from how to remove a tick (yuck!) to giving bathes to equipment to grooming. I've read two training books in the past week, determined to do right by my pup. I've researched foods and crates and different training methods, because the more I know the more confident I am, and puppy can certainly tell.

When pups and I are training I have to be PROFESSIONAL. Completely. Oh, training is fun, but if I give a sit command and he rolls over on his back and gives me puppy eyes, I have to be a trainer and correct him and show him what I'm asking. (Another quick management tip - often if I'm teaching him something and he doesn't get it, it's not because he doesn't get it. It's usually because I haven't taught it right, or because I'm teaching something he isn't ready for yet). While he gets praise and good boys during training, my whole demeanor has to be confident and PROFESSIONAL. And I can't just act the part - I have to be the part.

Sure, there are days when I don't want to play chase around the house, or go for a walk right now, or wake up at 6 am (we moved up a whole 3 hours in just a week!) and trudge outside in my pajamas to pick up dog poo. But within a few seconds I have to convince myself that, actually, there is nothing I would rather do then run around outside, even if it is cold and wet and dark. I have to really really really want to. I have to dig deep and enjoy the moment and be HONEST, SINCERE, FRIENDLY, KNOWLEDGEABLE, and PROFESSIONAL. And I have to be that every moment I spend with my pup. Which is a lot of moments. I have to leave him UP every single time I interact with him. Which is a lot of interactions. I have to be ON all the time.

It's a decision I made after that first night, when I realized what had happened. If I was going to do this, then I had to do it completely, and I had to do it right. Yes, a puppy can be more fun then going to work - but work should still be fun enough to do it right. And trust me - if I can do it after being awakened up at 3 am, you can do after a few cups of coffee at a reasonable hour!


The Author


Darlene Pineda is a contributing editor of The CEO Refresher, Vice President Operations at High Performance Retail, co-editor of 1001 Ways to WOW Your Customers! customer service specialist and breakthrough trainer! Contact Darlene by e-mail: .

Many more articles in High Performance Retail in The CEO Refresher Archives
The CEO Refresher

Copyright 2004 by Darlene Pineda. All rights reserved.

Current Issue - Archives - CEO Links - News - Conferences - Recommended Reading

Refresher Publications