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Problem Solving Tips from Coco the Cock a Tzu

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Problem solving tips from a Canine Coach

 

 

Let me say this right off the bat, if anyone you know says they don’t have any problems, they’re fibbing – big time. We all have problems at some point or the other.

The magnitude may vary or we might have taught ourselves to reframe the situation to make it seem like a learning opportunity or a challenge to be overcome.  A problem is a problem. It’s how we deal with it that matters and that’s where my furry companion Coco the Cock A Tzu has it all worked out.

I often look at my current canine companion Coco and think, that the saying ‘it’s a dog’s life’ is way off the mark. I mean, she has it all – a loving family, plenty of toys, good nutritious meals, visits to the vet when she is not well in an owner driven car and a housing complex filled with people who worry if she is not out with me.

The furry child’s antics amuse my friends and I’ve had people tell me that Miss Coco deserves her own Facebook Fan Page.

But I realise that her life is good because of her perspective and attitude towards life and the challenges that she faces as a sole dog in a house filled with humans. She knows inherently that there are no problems, only solutions and deals with issues quite differently than we humans do.

If there is a puddle of water on the morning walk path – no issue- she just looks at it and changes the direction of her walk slightly to avoid getting her paws wet and continues.

This last example I think is part of her learning. As a puppy, if she saw a rain puddle, she’d jump right in and get wet which meant she’d be put in the bathroom sink and have her paws washed by a grumpy pet parent which isn’t as much fun as her regular baths in my lap which are preceded by grooming to get matted hair out and the entire pre-bath ritual.

More reason why I can genuinely say Coco knows the art of problem solving.

We all have problems in our everyday lives. Some are small ones that are dealt with easily so that they don’t appear to be problems and some are of a greater magnitude that require us to use our problem solving skills. It all comes down to our approach.

 

3 Canine Problem Solving Skills even Humans can use

A dog approaches a problem with an open mind and engages in possibility thinking.  As humans, many of us approach issues with annoyance and a negative attitude thinking of it as a hindrance rather than an opportunity to learn and grow. We set ourselves up for failure even before we begin.

When Coco’s ball rolls under the sofa, she gets excited and tries various options to retrieve the ball. Each time this happens, she finds new ways to solve her dilemma. She is persistent.

As a human, we most probably get frustrated if we cannot solve an issue immediately and look for easy short term solutions rather than looking at the big picture.

I’ve shared my observations with other canine companions and it appears their pet buddies do the same. I’m convinced Coco & furry company can teach us humans a thing or two. Problem solving is not only a valuable skill; it is also an art and based on my observations, I suggest the following subset of skills that are required.

 

3 canine skills for problem solving

 

Problem Solving Skill 1: Creative Thinking

The first skill is creative thinking. You can call it thinking out of the box. The ideas will flow if you engage your imagination during a brainstorming session. Write down your ideas on a piece of paper.

 

Problem Solving Skill 2: Objective Evaluation

The second step is to check each option that you have written for sound reasoning and weed out the unachievable options. Make sure that you are objective in your approach.

 

Problem Solving Skill 3: Open mind

The third and most important step is to approach each problem that you encounter with an open mind and positive attitude. That is the only way you will not only find solutions but better ones that work.

Now for the humans to prove that we too know how to solve problems.

Have any tips you’d like to share? Or a nugget of what your pet friend –dog, cat, gold fish or turtle has taught you? Do share with Coco and me in the comments box below.

PS. Coco doesn’t coach but her pet parent does!

 

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Written By: Vatsala Shukla

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18 Responses to “Problem Solving Tips from Coco the Cock a Tzu”

  1. Latrelle says:

    Yay! More wisdom from Coco! What a wise one, she is <3

    You, know, these are three really simple things that make all the difference in the world. What a wonderful way to break it down.

    Thanks so much for the guidance 🙂

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Latrelle. Coco is a wise dog and an adept diplomat as well. I never tire of watching her rule over a house of humans. It’s usually the simple actions that solve the biggest problems. Something we humans need to remember. 😉

  2. Reba Linker says:

    Namaste, Guru Coco! You are wise beyond your years! My personal motto, “Every obstacle is a doorway” took me years and years to figure out – something you learned after a puddle jump or two! Thank you for sharing your wisdom via your human,Vatsala. She is a good disciple and is doing your teachings proud!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I was reading your comment aloud to my Mom, Reba, and Guru Coco looked up at me with an expression that said, ‘See? Reba has figured it out, so can you’. Dogs and other animals know when they’ve goofed it up and don’t repeat the mistake again. We humans have to learn that the hard way. 😉

  3. Reba Linker says:

    Yes, Miss Coco, of course you deserve your own FB page – bien sur!

  4. Natasha Botkin says:

    Love this analogy and super true in so many ways. More wags & less bark. Xoxo

  5. Love these human lessons you shared with us compliments of Miss Coco, Vatsala. Yes, dogs are filled with great wisdom, if we stop and appreciate it. One of the things I might add, is that our dog Gunnar is both tenacious and persistent. If he really wants something, he finds 10 different ways of letting us know about it, if we don’t respond fast enough. It’s interesting to me that people do not see animals as sentient beings and I must say that just isn’t true. As an animal lover, like you, I am always amazed at the wealth of wonderful learnings they offer to us. Thanks for sharing Miss Coco and her lessons! Love it!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      You are so right, Beverley. As humans we don’t often realize the wisdom of animals. An interesting fact that emerged from Andaman Islands post the Tsunami of 2004 was that the animals on that island had started running to higher ground much before the Tsunami hit the island. The inhabitants who followed the animals were saved. Amazing, isn’t it? Even Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism recognizes animals as sentient beings and it is said that if we talk to our dogs and cats, we can actually help them achieve a higher birth the next time. I’m not sure if that is true but I try – just in case.

  6. Tamuria says:

    I love Miss Coco’s wisdom, Vatsala, and she is so adorable as well. Attitude is everything and I love the vision of Miss Coco getting excited about the challenge of retrieving her ball when the human response would so often be anger and frustration instead of problem-solving. What great teachers our pets are. A Miss Coco FB page would be awesome.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Miss Coco is quite a gal, Tamuria, and I’m blessed to have her in my life. Having a pet or a young child at home helps us to keep things in perspective. I’m certainly thinking about the Miss Coco Fan Page or perhaps a Group on Facebook. 😉

  7. I really love the phrase “possibility thinking.” Thank you Miss Coco. A perfect reminder that we don’t always have to go into drama. You shows us the options so perfectly.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Coco says you’re welcome, Sandra. Going into drama is so time consuming and waste of solid energy that can be used to find workable solutions.

  8. Suzie Cheel says:

    I have to say i am not sure about always having problems- challenges yes 🙂 Love your 3 tips and the being open minded is so important as there is always something new in the wings for us to evaluate and see if it fits in with our creative thinking . xx

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Challenges, ah yes, Suzie, that immediately puts us in the mindset that we can overcome our roadblock to success! 😉

  9. I think if we didn’t have a pet we wouldn’t really get your lessons nor know how true they were. I raised a full grown Collie and knew she was lassie without all the expensive training put into the TV dog. She taught us patience, true unconditional love, loyalty and getting to know the other person. She related differently to each of her 2 parents & 2 siblings and expected different responses from us. She held us together during trying times and I miss her dearly.

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