Old dog, new tricks…

I have to admit that I was pretty impressed… When he said ‘sit’ the dog sat, when he said ‘stay’ the dog stayed, when he said ‘ball’ the dog chased it and then brought it back and, when he said ‘release’ the dog gave the ball back! Over about an hour I watched as this highly trained ‘working dog’ responded to over 55 different commands, doing precisely what was asked of him. It was great to watch but also a little embarrassing as I thought about how the dog I used to own behaved: He wouldn’t sit; wouldn’t stay; wouldn’t bring back a ball and; would rarely respond to any command I gave him at all.

But as I watched, there was something else I noticed about this particular dog, apart from his awesome discipline and spectacular skills – he really seemed to be enjoying it!

He seemed happy and content, you could tell by the look in his eyes and the excitement with which he responded…he was enjoying every minute of it. Even though he was working and at times, working really hard, he still found a satisfaction in responding to his master’s commands. There was a genuine love between the handler and the dog…it was like they both respected each other and loved working together.

It made me evaluate how I feel about the work that I do – I am probably a bit like you – we have days where we love our work and other days when it is a bit of a drag. Or perhaps you are in a job that you really hate, getting up in the morning is the hardest and facing another day seems almost impossible.

Listening to the handler talk about how he trained the dog, he spoke a lot about rewards (positive reinforcement, praise and treats)…but after a while the dog starts enjoying the work and he does it because it pleases himself and the handler as well.

Perhaps this is a good lesson to take into our workplaces but also into all that we do in this life. We need to find some joy in what we have to do or we need to find something else to do.

I have found it helpful to realise that everything I do, is ultimately impacted by the hand of the one I have chosen to be my “Master”.

There is a satisfaction and a clear reward in living in such a way that it pleases not only me, but Him as well.

“Serve the LORD with gladness;” Psalms 100:2


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