More Lessons Freelancers Can Learn from the Dog Whisperer

A couple of years ago (has it really been that long?), I wrote a blog post about what freelancers can learn from the Dog Whisperer. It really is amazing how certain dog training mantras can apply to the life of the work-from-home professional. Well, inspired by yesterday’s Dog Whisperer marathon on the National Geographic Channel, I’m coming back with a few more lessons that freelancers can learn from Cesar Millan.

If you have not read my original article on the matter, I suggest you do so. You need to establish yourself as the pack leader. You should set rules, boundaries and limitations. And perhaps most importantly of all, it’s paramount that you maintain a calm and assertive energy about you. What else can we learn from the Dog Whisperer?

The Importance of the Walk

A large number of the behavioral issues that Cesar Millan approaches on his show stem from a very common theme: the owners are not taking their dogs for walks often enough. The walk isn’t just about the exercise that the dog receives, though that’s a part of it. Another part of it is the dog psychology. You walk as a pack to establish unity and structure.

Just as it’s not healthy for a dog to be cooped up in the same house all day long every day, the same can be said about freelance writers and other work-at-home professionals. That’s why I’ve made a promise to myself to get out of the house every day. If nothing else, it’ll help to save my sanity.

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Some breeds have unfortunately bad reputations and it’s difficult for people to get past these pre-conceived notions. They see a pitbull and automatically assume that it’s going to be aggressive and violent. In one of the episodes, a woman was running a pitbull rescue center and all the dogs there were perfectly balanced and friendly… except one. The kicker is that the one “bully” in the pack was a chihuahua, not a pitbull.

From both the client’s and the freelancer’s perspective, it’s important to get past your initial pre-conceived notions about people, because appearances can be very deceiving. Just because they’re young doesn’t necessitate that they lack the experience to do the job. Just because they appear to be of modest means does not mean that they can’t afford to pay your standard rates.

Snap Out of Negative Mindsets

On the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan reminds us of the importance of the physical touch. You’re not “hitting” your dog; you’re helping him or her snap out of a negative mindset. You’re helping to discipline against negative behaviors. In nature, the dogs would snap at each other to keep the pack in line. As a dog owner, you do the same. It’s not about inflicting pain; it’s about “resetting” the brain.

Working from home, you may find yourself engaging in some negative self-talk. Perhaps you start to develop some bad habits. Just as the walk can help to establish order, sometimes you need to snap out of it too. Break the pattern and get out of the rut.

Discipline Before Affection

Many dog owners shower their pooches with love, even when Fluffy is engaging in negative behavior. That’s not how it should work, according to the Dog Whisperer. Discipline must come before affection, because you want to encourage a calm and submission frame of mind in your dog. Only when they are acting as they should that you provide the affection.

And you can exercise the same kind of philosophy on how you treat yourself. It’s not right to be constantly rewarding yourself before you exercise discipline. You get to have the treat after you’ve finished the job. Acknowledge your success and the behavior will be reinforced.

Do you watch the Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan? What other lessons do you think freelancers, online entrepreneurs, and other professionals can learn from the man who “trains” people and “rehabilitates” dogs?