So, I recently received hands-on experience with change and believe me when I tell you it was rough! One minute I'm at home shamelessly lounging on Pat's couch (or even better, her bed) and the next minute I am shipped off to my Aunt Shelley's. Okay, so that wasn't so bad. As a very young pup I had already spent a week there, so I knew the routine. No bed lounging , but I have a backyard to romp in, food to eat, people to scratch my ears and a couch to sleep on.
After three days of getting back into my beloved routine, don't I get packed up and shipped off again, and this time to people I know but a house I have never seen. Not only that, they have four-legged funny looking animals that think they are the bosses of the house (and as you know, that is definitely my job!). Now, you might think this is all no big deal but remember, I am a dog. A very big, very spoiled dog. Also, since I am only 6 months old, I am not all that familiar with change.
Alright, so I'm with my Auntie Jen and Uncle Evan and that was cool. They are good people and Evan really likes to play - even when I would prefer to sleep. I did try to keep him happy by going along with all of that fetching and walking stuff. It was nighttime that was the problem. I had gone through so much change that I just couldn't get comfortable anymore. I don't like being separated from people, and I actually sleep best when I am curled up against someone. I can't believe they put me in a crate and expected me to sleep there! To give them credit, the crate is very large and very comfortable with an incredible doggie mattress that is good for a growing back, but come on...a crate? They were doing their best to make this change as comfortable on me as possible, but still this was hard for me. The first night was pretty rough, I couldn't sleep, I wanted to escape from the crate, and I kept crying at them to let me out and sleep with them! (Sometimes people just don't get puppy-speak). The second night I proceeded once again to let them know that I wasn't happy and, amazingly, I was invited into bed. The third night there was no talk of the crate, and well all got into bed together.
So, you might be thinking that I am really awful with change and you would be right; but, then again, I'm a dog. Pat tells me that to make change successful, there needs to be a transition stage - an opportunity for whomever is going through change to understand why it is happening and what is in it for them to change in the first place. It's easy to fall back into old habits and it's only through practice that the change becomes the norm. People will respond in a very similar manner to how I responded when an abrupt change is pushed on them. When possible, allow time from when the change is announced until when it is occurring so that people have time to get used to it. No matter how comfortable you think they are with the change, it takes time to adapt. Also, offer people the opportunity to tell others how they feel, even if the change is going to happen no matter what. Lastly, respect the past but don't live in it. As I rapidly learned, things can change really quickly! If you don't adapt, you make the people around you unhappy and you probably aren't going to be very happy either.
Signing off - Simon