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How to toilet train your employees: Management tips from a dog lover

By utilizing the same techniques that dog trainers use to house train their pets, your employees can be your best friends too




Dog is Man's best friend, but only a well trained Dog that doesn't make a mess in your home. By utilizing the same techniques that dog trainers use to house train their pets, your employees can be your best friends too. 

As a business owner, manager, employee, and dog lover, I have noticed that the same rules apply when trying to get your pet or employee to follow your instructions, and not make “a big mess.” For example:

• Never stick your Dogs/Employees nose in their own mess – Nobody likes to be blamed for screwing up. It’s detrimental to any relationship, whether four-legged or two-legged to “rub someone’s nose in it. Expert animal trainers and successful managers alike will tell you that the most effective course of action when your pet/employee makes a mess is to clean it up, and forget about it. Put it in the past. Everyone, including you will be happier.

• Always have Doggie/Employee treats available – Everybody responds to treats! Dogs know that when they get treats they have done something right. And they are more apt to keep doing things right so that they can get more and more treats. Treats can be simple things like liver snaps, biscuits, a toy, or some kind words and a belly rub. Your employees work in much the same way. If they do something right and receive a reward, they will be apt to continue to do things right. Again, simple things like a bottle of wine, a gift certificate to a local restaurant, lunch with the boss, flowers, an “Employee of the Month” certificate, a company wide e-mail recognizing their service, or just some kind words and a belly rub...wait a minute, scratch that last part...

• Create a routine that will help your Dog/Employee learn to succeed – Make sure that your pets and employees have a strict routine. If you take your dog out before work, after work, after dinner and at bedtime you should stick to this routine. Your dog will eventually learn that these are bathroom times and he will wait to go out. It is imperative that you stick to the schedule as much as possible. Employees are the same way. If they know that deadlines are 4:00 sharp, staff meetings are 9:00 sharp, 11:00 to Noon is reserved for brainstorming, and you are only available for problems and questions between 2:00 and 3:00 they will learn to adhere to the guidelines. It will force your employees to manage their time wisely and free you up from constant interruptions. Again, it is imperative that you make no exceptions to the routine.

• Provide your Dog/Employee with ample space to "do his or her business" – Everybody needs space. If you don’t have a yard or your yard is too small for your dog to comfortable “take care of business” then you should take him for as walk or visit a nearby park. Employees also need space to think and work. Make sure each employee has a clearly designated workspace. Provide conference areas and lounge spaces that can be used for meetings, lunches, or just taking time out. If you don’t have such space, make time to take your employees to a local park, restaurant, or cafe. 

• Catch mistakes before your Dog/Employee makes them – If you watch your dog closely you will soon learn when they need to go out. Pets have telltale signs that will clue you in that they are about to make a “mistake” on your carpet. Dogs will circle an area repeatedly or start sniffing intently. Also, they may squat or start to lift their leg. If you notice any of this behavior you can stop the mistake before your pet makes it. Similarly, the more you get to know your employees, the more likely you are to realize when they are about to “mess up.” Crankiness, tardiness, apathy, miscommunication, excessive questions, or general frustration are all sign that your employees might not be doing what you need them to. Keep a constant eye on your employees and intervene before it’s too late.

Mark Kaye is a top-rated radio talk show host, professional speaker, and writer from Washington, DC. His motivational and business seminars are entertaining, informative, and in high demand. He’d be happy to answer your questions by e-mail at , or by phone at 202-557-0058.

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