Thursday, May 9, 2013

Like a Frog in Boiling Water

After having so many people tell me I need to get Bizz crate trained I am gradually getting started.  My greatest mistake was believing on his first night in my home what the people at the adoption center said - oh he's crate trained. He may whine for maybe 5 minutes then he'll go to sleep. I think that first night when I put him in his crate that Bizz totally freaked.  He cried for 2 hours and I finally let him out and he never went back in.  In fact, I returned that crate because he was so terrified of it.

So, this time I'm going about things differently.  What I've learned is that everything needs to be gradually done.  Like a frog in water - if you very slowly increase the temperature of the water the frog will not jump out - even when the water is boiling, but if you put a frog into boiling water he is so out of there.  Not that I'm equating a kennel to boiling water. It is actually a very nice crate that will eventually be filled with very nice comfy things - much like the dog house outside.  But that first night in the other crate - he was definitely a frog in boiling water and all he wanted was to get out.

My first step on his training program was to set up the crate. It's a bit larger than the last one - since he often likes to sleep all stretched out on his side he needed more room.  And he can see out of all 4 sides  and it is positioned so he has a great view.  But so far that's all I've done - set it up.  Ironically he spent the first evening lying on the floor near it eyeing it warily.  The next phase will be moving one of his beds into the crate - along with a new dog blanket that I plan to sleep with for a few nights so it has my smell embedded on it to comfort him.  And I'll be adding some of his toys.  But for now we're just getting him used to the physical presence of the crate with the door wide open

The reason I equate this to the frog in boiling water was the topic has come up very frequently among friends who are unhappy at work. No one seems to be unhappy when they take a new job - they're often excited for new challenges, meeting new people and for most it is a step up.  But over time for some people  little things start to happen and you accommodate yourself to them - a micromanaging boss; being passed over for a promotion, uncertainty in the workplace due to issues with products and revenues, the layoffs of others, and in some cases outright abuse.  Eventually you are in organizational hell.   I've had more than one person tell me that they feel like they are in hell but just can't get themselves to move on. 

I had an excellent counselor years ago who told me that I was actually choosing to stay in hell, that I had a high tolerance for pain.  I disagree, I accommodated myself to gradually increasing  discomfort.  If the really bad behavior happened on the first day at work - it might easily be my last.  I worked for one firm years ago and things had become very crazy for the sales engineers but we all hadn't realized it.  It became clear when a new hire went through a full week of training and announced at the end of the week that he was leaving - that the place was not a good fit.  That was an opportunity for our organization to say stop - what's going on and really try and fix our culture and processes - instead he was blamed as being weak and unfit for the job and a "bad hire". 

So perhaps I shouldn't equate the crate with a bad work environment.  The crate will keep Bizz safe and secure and give him a feeling of comfort when I have to leave him home alone. But it will take time for him to see it that way and the process will move slowly.  Just as with the frog and boiling water, it also takes time to adjust to good things - to shake off the worries and fears from the previous experience and enjoy the new environment.

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