Decision Making with Reason And Emotion: Leader Dog Chronicles

I've been sharing my journey of getting a new guide dog from Leader Dogs for the Blind. Today's post focuses on how I came to the decision that getting a new dog was right for me. This same method also works for you when you have a tough choice.

The most difficult part of having a dog, whether a pet or working partner, is that they die. So much emotion is wrapped up in the agony of loss that deciding whether or not to get another becomes messy. When I couldn't stand being dogless anymore, here's the tool I used to help me choose. I wanted to ensure that going to school for a dog was truly wise.Jemma in harness

I call it T + E. It goes way beyond the usual plus/minus listing to tape into emotional impact. Using this method also provides fuel when you're talking to your nay-sayers or critical companions. You demonstrate both to yourself and others that you are not making an important decision lightly.

T Plus E Decision Method

The T - Pros and Cons

You've probably made pros and cons lists before, and the T part of the process is just that. It has been called the "Ben Franklin Close" by salespeople. Your piece of paper will look like a T with pros on one side of the vertical line and cons on the other. This is only the beginning. Take time, even a day or more, to write down every factor for or against your choice.

My pros list included:

  • Help navigating crowds
  • Guiding in unfamiliar environments
  • Enforced work breaks to care for and play with the dog

My cons list included

  • Dog will die
  • Walk the dog even in bad weather
  • $75/month in expenses

This is where most people stop, and it misses the power of emotion. That's the most compelling element.

The E - Emotion

It doesn't really matter how many items you have on each side of the T. You might have 3 for and 10 against, but that alone doesn't mean you should choose no.

You're going to use an emotional scale of -5 to +5 to evaluate how important or detracting each item is to you..

Emotional Plusses

Go down your list of favorable aspects and give each a 1-5 rating of how important this is to you. Items that are nice but not compelling might rate a 1 or 2. Those that mean the most score a 5.

My 5s included

  • Help navigating crowds
  • Companionship

Things like a reason to walk scored a 2, because I exercise regardless.

Emotional Minuses

Now, go down the against list and do the same thing, giving an emotional impact rating.

"They die" scored a -5 for me. Walking in the heat and inclement weather each scored -3 Vacuuming up dog hair scored a -1.

Add up Scores

Next, total the pro column and the con column. Put those numbers at the bottom. This gives an indication of how wise your decision is both rationally and emotionally.

Adjust for Inflation

The next thing to do is to adjust for inflated results. Knowing that emotionally I really wanted a dog, I subtracted 10 per cent from the get a dog side. I still came up pro dog.

Once you gave gone through this exercise, you'll be more in tune with  your reasoning and the emotional impact of each possible choice.

Follow Leader Dog Jemma on the Social Web

Jemma is a busy dog. Not only is she my guide, toy reviewer and treat tester, but she also shares her adventures in her own voice on her own Facebook page and Instagram Feed.

Please share this all over the social web!

Follow your B.L.I.S.S.

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author, speaker, and Amazon Top Reviewer

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Click for Member Home Pageselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon.

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