Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Our first dog was Teddy, a German Shepherd puppy who joined us in 2004. After he died suddenly of cancer in January 2011, we didn't know if we would have another dog. However, a friend from the church we attended offered to bring another German Shepherd puppy home from New York when she planned a visit to her parents. We said yes and Buddy joined our family.

Buddy in new office
Buddy on the deck
Buddy and Blue friends
Blue smiling
Buddy watching

Introducing Blue

Sometime in 2021, our son, Tim, brought the dog he had been raising from a pup to our house. Nautica Blue is a Blue Terrier Pitbull. While Teddy had loved other dogs, Buddy had never shown a liking to any other dogs. When Tim brought Blue to the house for the first time, I was scared.

Blue was little, maybe 25 pounds, and only about 9 months old then. Buddy was 9 years old and about 100 pounds. But within minutes Buddy was sniffing her and they took turns following each other around. After that first visit, Blue came over every month or so. She and Buddy bonded.

Then she ran away. She was missing for four months. We did everything to help Tim find her, contacting Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, sharing on social media, telling the Humane Society, and letting a man who was adept at finding lost dogs know so he could use his network.

Finally, the Humane Society let Tim know that they had her. The reunion was filmed and shared on Facebook.

Fast forward to spring of 2021. Tim was unable to care for her for awhile and asked if we would take her. Blue has been with us since June of 2021.

How do you teach an old dog new tricks?

Blue and Buddy became fast friends. Buddy set himself up to be her trainer. He made sure she knew the house rules. Every time she went outside, he came too. When she struggled with learning how to shake, he taught her by showing, he lifted one paw even when he was standing. He also taught Blue that the signal for "hungry" is licking her lips. She is starting to get it.

Buddy has also shown that he can learn new concepts.

Since he was young, we taught him "no bark" as well as "no bark people are sleeping" at night. He is pretty good at not barking at night when I tell him that but being a German Shepherd, he still thinks he is on guard.

I finally tried, "Surveillance done" and he responds by stopping barking and turning to come inside. I didn't expect it to work, but it did.

How Buddy learned to climb the stairs

At 11, Buddy is struggling with even the two small steps up the deck outside that he needs to go up and down every time he goes outside. I taught him to stop trying to leap up but put one foot up at a time. I called it "New Strategy." Again, I don't know why it worked but when I say "new Strategy," he puts one foot up and then the other. It makes it easier.

How can job seekers learn new tricks?

Job seekers get stuck in ruts too. They think they have to do things the same old way all the time. One of the things that I work on with job seekers is teaching new tricks:

  • All of my process is interactive and writing is done in real time using Zoom to allow the client to be an active participant and collaborator in the work we do.
  • Building resumes together so that I can capture their stories in real time.
  • Individualizing the resume to reflect their personality and talents.
  • Writing and teaching LinkedIn strategies with the client as an active participant, allowing the client to ask questions, learn new strategies, and become successful in the process.
  • Leveraging the power of LinkedIn to find connections to the jobs you want.
  • Networking your way in to contacts in the companies you are targeting.
  • Boosting your interviewing skills so that you can win the interviews.

Why you shouldn't procrastinate getting ready for a job search

Too often job seekers put off starting their resume project, whether they do it on their own or by hiring a professional like myself. There are so many things to do in a day, it just doesn't take priority.

Unfortunately, when someone is checking out your LinkedIn profile or asks for your resume, if the content isn't stellar, you get passed by.

Consider job search as something you should always be working on because as we know from history, nothing is forever.

If you are a job seeker who is ready to make a change, learn more.

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Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

Here are ways I can help you land your dream job.

You may be halfway across the country or the world. When you work with me, we share coffee, laughs, and concerns. This turns the scary job search into creative, consultative writing and learning sessions.