Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks?

    Financially Wise WomenRecently, Brandon and I inherited my parent’s 7 year old Chihuahua, Keoki, a.k.a Kiki. We were asked to help watch him for a short time, while their other dog recovered from leg surgery.  Now, 3 months, 3 flea treatments, and a few emotional battles later, I think we have found ourselves a new permanent resident.

    Kiki, pictured to the left, looks so sweet and innocent, but what the picture fails to show you is his years of bad behavior, unwillingness to wear a leash, aggression toward people and other dogs, and his inability to be submissive to Brandon and I as his masters.  So when we took him in, we asked ourselves the question, “Can an old dog learn new tricks?”  The answer of course is yes, but that doesn’t always mean it’s easy.  We knew if Kiki was going to stay with us, he needed to learn some new tricks and better behavior, not only for us, but for him.  I knew deep down he did not like living his crazy, aggressive life.   With structure and a plan, we knew we would have a happier, well-balanced dog.

    These past few months of training Kiki have helped me realize the similarities in teaching a dog better behavior and learning better money behaviors on your road to financial success.  Regardless of how old you are or how bad your habits are, with the right training, you too can learn good money habits and behaviors.

    Often times, we find ourselves with bad money habits or behaviors due to a lack of financial education or wrong examples growing up.  Bad money habits are behaviors that do not use your money efficiently and effectively toward your goals and can cause stress or anxiety in your financial life.  Spending more than you earn, not saving for the future, spending binges, non-diversification of investments, lack of financial knowledge, fear of taking financial control, and thinking you know it all when it comes to your finances, are just a few examples of common bad money habits.  Regardless of what the bad money habit may be, we all find ourselves with them from time to time.

    Usually bad money habits continue simply because we fail to recognize they exist.   Kiki had no idea how bad his behavior was simply because no one told him otherwise.  To help you uncover any bad money habits, first start by reviewing your financial situation.

    • Do you have a clear way to track your income and expenses every month?
    • Are you living within your means?  
    • Have you been saving for your future?  
    • And are you taking time to get the financial education you need?

    Determining any bad money habits might not always be easy, but it is necessary as they can potentially prevent you from achieving your long-term financial goals.  Consider working with a financial planner, who can help you identify any weaknesses in your financial situation and help you develop or improve good money habits.  With the right guidance, motivation and discipline you can develop better financial behaviors to help you achieve financial success.

    As for Kiki, well, he is learning, slowly but surely.  He now respects Brandon and I, sits when we ask, stays when we ask, and is slowly becoming less aggressive.  We are still working on getting him to wear a collar and a leash, but understand that not everything can be fixed over night.  With the right amount of patience and guidance, he will hopefully be the happy and balanced dog we know he can become.

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