Be More Dog

Take More Walks on the Dog Side of Life

There’s no question the pandemic left us feeling exhausted, stressed, and uncertain about the future of education. Compounding the issue, the culture wars and political partisanship that grew legs during COVID continue to besiege our schools. All this has taken a toll on our profession.

A lot of ‘experts’ have given us advice about how to bounce back from the whiplash of the last few years. While this advice may be worthy of attention, I offer a simpler solution. If our mission is to reimagine learning for students, then those of us that serve them need to take more walks on the dog side of life.   

Back in 2013, O2 a digital communications company in the UK, launched a brilliant ad campaign called Be More Dog. Through a series of commercials, the nation became infected with an attitude of playfulness and positivity. The nexus of the campaign was that cats and dogs are very different. While cats are independent and aloof, dogs live moment to moment. They take things in stride. In fact, dogs don’t daydream about what they’re going to do this weekend; they’re thinking about the smell of a BBQ a mile off. Even when a dog has been to the doggie park a million times, they enter it like a kindergartner.

To create an air of curiosity and confidence in your building, encourage staff to Be More Dog.  At your next meeting, watch the original Be More Dog video.

After the video, assign people to groups for a Table Top Bark-a-Thon. With chart paper in hand, pose the question – What can we do as teachers (or leaders) to be more dog? Allow teams six minutes to craft their list from a dog’s point of view. Then share out the responses. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with. 

Every time I feel overwhelmed or tired, my BF Rex helps me live in the moment and appreciate what I have. Consider eight ways to channel your inner canine and practice taking more walks on the dog side of life:

  1. If you see something bright and shiny, follow it. 
  2. Assume the best intentions in people.
  3. Drive with your window down and enjoy the fresh air.
  4. Play at work – make it fun.
  5. Wake up happy.
  6. Don’t waste time being angry. Move on quickly.
  7. Learn new tricks.
  8. Know when you need rest.
Adapted from: Lovely, S. (2020). Ready for Anything: Four Touchstones for Future-Focused Learning. Solution Tree Press.