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Sometimes Even the Daring are Chicken

Boat experience

My dog Mars would prefer if we would buy a cottage on a lake and live there.

During the summer, he tells me this nearly every day.

Nearly every day.

Whenever we manage to get to someone’s cottage, who will put up with a golden retriever tagging along, he likes to swim and explore. It is fun to watch him leap around, following scents. He finds frogs and moles and minnows. He chases a lot of balls and sticks. After several hours, he likes to fall asleep in the sun.

He is one of those dogs that smiles, and at a lake he is typically smiling a lot. In fact, he smiles in the car all the way to the lake.

But not all is cool at the lake. There are things he doesn’t like or is afraid of.

Sometimes, even the daring are chicken.

Mars doesn’t like docks, or open tread stairs. He seems not to like things where he perceives he might fall through. I find this hilarious because on land, I’ve seen him leap between the branches of fallen trees and into fields of muck, without so much as a blink or stumble. How stairs can be so terrifying is a mystery.

But, thinking that he likes car rides, swimming, and after all, he is a golden retriever, we decided to offer him an opportunity to ride in our friend’s boat.

Offer him an opportunity.

I would say that he liked the experience, or maybe he just liked to be included, but the act of getting in and out of that boat was, well, an experience for all of us.

He’s a big chicken!

Initially, we tried treats and encouragement, but when he was having none of that, he was scooped up and plopped into the boat.

He dealt with it. I think he even liked it.

At the first destination, he was afraid of getting out. And again, he was scooped up and plopped onto the deck.

He was none worse the wear.

Watching this I started thinking about work.

We ask our people to do things they are not so sure about. Their way of “digging in” is not so different from the way Mars digs in.

We coax them and encourage them, and then sometimes when they remain resistant we plop them into the situation, hopefully none worse the wear.

I’m just wondering if there is a better way.

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