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It's a dogs life

Ann Allfrey
Blog Dogs Life Fixed

I recently got chatting with a participant on a course around our mutual love of dogs. Both being the new families of relatively young dogs we shared the ups and downs of dog ownership. Photos were exchanged and eyes were rolled, in mutual understanding of the midnight trips to the garden, but all in all it was clear that we were both besotted with our canine chums. 

The gorgeous girl in the photo here is Lexi and shortly after the course her Mum Laura sent me a delightful message sharing how she had used her new skills with her worthy four legged opponent.

Here is Laura and Lexi's story in her own words; 

I thought one of my recent uses of my new negotiation skills might amuse you 😊:

We recently came home with a new toy, her now favourite toy. However, we soon faced an issue and my new skills were put to the test
Lexi wanted to take the toy on her walk but I didn’t want it to go outside and get dirty. We were at an impasse and I thought good opportunity to use my negotiation tactics with my little fur ball.

I made a mental list of what I have to trade with her, with a wish list and concession list at the ready.

Argue: “Lexi will you drop your toy so that we can go for a walk?” – she doesn’t budge. I ask again, she proudly starts walking around with it in her mouth, she will not back down. We are stuck in a circular argument however, she is showing clear signals that she really wants to go on the walk so there might be an in.

I propose: “if you drop the toy, I will give you a treat” – she considers it but then walks away, it hasn’t worked.

I go back to the drawing board, need a better package. I work on an improved offer but it is clear I can’t move on the toy not going outside at this point so I need to find ways around it, something I can bargain.

New proposal “You drop the toy and I will give you a buffalo chew while I get ready?” This has peaked her interest, she drops the toy, this could conclude the deal but she isn’t across the line. I look at my concession list “ok IF you drop the toy I WILL let you have a buffalo chew in the garden in the sun (her favourite)?”. She is wagging her tail, I think we could close, but I quickly think of my wish list and throw in, “but you give me extra cuddles when we come back in from the walk”…. She thinks….. she waggles, she jumps up and licks my chin, WE ARE AGREED!

There is a structure underpinning all negotiations which can be used skilfully to achieve success in all manner of situations. Of course, understanding the structure is one thing, using it successfully can often be quite another! The benefits of building skill around structure can reap huge rewards in all areas of our life. After all, negotiation is a life skill not just a commercial skill... even when you're just trying to take your best friend for a walk! 

Ann Allfrey
More by Ann Allfrey:
Love In The Time of Corona
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