October 10, 2012
People start businesses because they want to be happier at work. I knew that when I became my own boss, I’d finally have the creative freedom, autonomy, challenge, and meaning that I was craving. I saw my future self, working on my own terms, for something that I was excited about. But no matter the industry an entrepreneur hopes to impact, to be a successful small business owner you become your own secretary, your own administrative assistant, your own accountant, your own marketing manager, and so on. Running the business while balancing the day-to-day demands of client needs creates an amazing amount of pressure!
So then why did I commit to CanineLink’s Behavior Fundamentals course for three months on top of all that I just listed?
I decided that to deliver the best walking and pet sitting service I owed it to myself, to my clients, and to the dogs in my care to know everything I could about dog behavior. I think people have the unfortunate habit of assuming we understand dogs because we’ve lived with them our whole lives. The truth is, we dog lovers suffer from a multitude of damaging misconceptions about why dogs do what they do. Ridding myself of these myths made me a more effective dog professional.
The program broadened my perspectives and my responses on so many important topics, all of which I see playing out every day I’m with my own dog or someone else’s. I learned about the dog’s evolution and its ways communicating with us. My knowledge of breeds expanded. I developed an understanding of dog training and learning theory. We defined canine behavior and solved real-life problems. And most importantly, I’m leaving this experience empowered with comprehensive understanding of how to prevent dog bites and how to humanely work with an animal. In addition to all of this wonderful stuff, CanineLink also encouraged me to look at what’s next. I have an impressive list of books to buy, associations to join, and there probably isn’t an animal behaviorist or ethnologist I wasn’t exposed to.
As I dreamed about how this new professional reality would improve my personal life, too – I’d have the time and flexibility to exercise, to eat right, and to see my family, friends, and spouse – when I found that balance lacking, I was able to seek solutions through the community that CanineLink naturally creates. An open door policy truly exists at CanineLink. In fact several of my afternoons were spent with CanineLink’s CEO, Jamie Damato Migdal. It may sound simple, but Jamie challenged me to be a happier entrepreneur. She reminded me during our meetings to prioritize four key things: sustainability, fulfillment, success, and a sense of enough.
It’s one thing to have a business that works; it’s another to have one that works for you. Although I’ll never forget my initial reasons for starting Rover-Time, I can’t thank CanineLink enough for impacting and bettering my career for years to come.
In addition to their education and consulting work, CanineLink offers occasional weekend seminars to anyone ranging from the dog enthusiast to folks presently working with pets. On November 3rd they’re preparing to host four presenters (and yours truly will be one of those four!) who will share information about Multiple Dog Households as it relates to sibling rivalry; adding a pet and selecting a breed; health and safety; and visiting pets. For additional information on how you can be part of the discussion, visit their website.