Mr Bean drives a hard bargain. Not that Mr Bean, our Mr Bean, aka Luigi, our 9-lb. shih tzu.
This morning I rounded up the dogs for their morning jaunt up our long driveway through the woods. Hugo charged outside as usual, nose on the ground, figuring out what creatures had been in the yard overnight.
Luigi stood in front of the garage and refused to budge. Just stared at me. I called to him again. Nada. Except for one slight movement…he looked me in the eye, then slid his eyes very deliberately to the left.
That’s when I realized we were in a negotiation.
You see, Luigi loves vegetables. The remnants of my vegetable garden are to the left. And we’re still harvesting green beans, despite night temps in the 30s and 40s. Vegetable season brings some of Luigi’s favorites: snow peas, carrots, asparagus, and of course, green beans. He’s so passionate about them that if we even glance toward the garden, he runs there as if propelled by rocket.
I stared back at him, tempted to push my own agenda: “Luigi, I’ve got to get to work. Come on!”
But Mr Bean drives a hard bargain and he knows I know it, little dew-claw dog that he is. I know I’ll get him to do what I want when I do something for him in return. Sure, he’s 9 pounds, I could just make him come for a walk. But why use force when I could keep things pleasant with a little bargaining? The beans will be gone soon anyway.
So I said, “Ok, do you want a bean?” Rocket dog was at the garden in the span of a moment. We shared four fresh green beans and then he happily ran up the driveway with me. Even Hugo, more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, had a bean.
How to win an argument, then? Stop thinking that winning means the other person has to lose. What if you could both get your needs met? What would you do differently?