Coaching Advice: Puppies vs. Children!

More in common than you think...

Coaching Advice

Many UK homeowners will own a dog. They’re man’s best friend after all! Whilst they’re loyal, cute and fun to play with, they’re also exceptionally needy and need a lot of guidance.

Recently, one of our staff got a puppy and whilst it’s a lot of work, they’ve found it incredibly educational and rewarding.

Due to this accurate comparison, we thought it would make a valuable piece of coaching advice for you in relation to the athletes in your charge and how to go about your coaching in the future.

Puppies are incredibly excited, almost all the time unless they’re tired. Then they just sleep.

They LOVE positive attention.

They LOVE to play.

They respond very well to praise. (Who’s a good boy!)
They are very unique, with entirely different behaviours and personalities.

They are highly competitive – It’s all about winning.

Training them to do tricks requires daily, regular practice which isn’t learnt in one session.

The more you ignore them, the more they will try and gain your attention.

99% of what you say they won’t understand. They gain more from reading non-verbal communication than they do listening to the human gibberish coming out our mouths.

What they do understand has been learnt through repetitive, short bits of information, such as ‘sit!’, ‘good girl!’ and ‘paw!’

They need me to behave in a consistent manner to avoid confusion, build trust and rapport.

‘The squeaky wheel gets the most oil’ – It’s important to give them equal love, not just those who cry out more for attention or are more fun to be around.

But amongst all the fun, games and cuteness, there are the inevitable challenges faced with raising two pups.

They chew everything. And we really do mean EVERYTHING!

They have a total disregard for bathroom etiquette – apparently anywhere in the house is acceptable!

Their never-ending energy is very tiring.

Crying and howling in the morning when you’re trying to get some sleep.

But this leads me to perhaps the most valuable insights and comparisons with our young athletes.

They don’t know any better.

Punishing them won’t change their behaviour, it will only suppress it.

You can shout with frustration if you like but it won’t change a thing.

As responsible adults, and more importantly, coaches, it’s up to us to educate them.

You don’t want compliance through fear, you want it through understanding and mutual respect.

It’s not easy doing this all the right way, but it’s certainly worth it. It’s far easier to get it right in the first place, irrespective of how hard that is than to try and change undesirable reinforced behaviours later.

The dogs they become in the future will be as a result of how they are treated now when they are young. When they are impressionable. The same is true of our young athletes.


Children aren’t the only ones who get stuck with bad, old habits – adults do too! One of the most common bad habits when running a club is sloppy admin. Fortunately, we can help you – on average, we reduce our clients’ admin by 80%.

To book a free, no-obligation consultation today to discuss your admin-related needs, click here – you won’t regret it.

Article by Nick Ruddock – PaySubsOnline’s resident International Coaching Expert.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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