These qualities help you be a better human to your dog. But these qualities will also help you in every day life! So it’s good to practice these qualities in all areas of your life!
Let’s face it, good leadership skills are sought after. We value good leadership skills in others. Good leadership makes you and me feel safe, it can give you confidence even when you’re afraid.
You are more likely to respect someone with good leadership skills. You might even give them the benefit of the doubt when they ask you something new. You are also more likely to listen to and follow someone who has good leadership skills.
Of course, a good leader is confident. They understand what to do and they know that they can do it. Does a stressed-out-mess of a boss make you feel safe? No? Me either. You see if the boss doesn’t know what to do, how on earth are their staff supposed to get their jobs done?
Your dog is always watching you. And if you don’t know what to do you can always get help and ask someone who knows what they’re doing to help you. A good dog trainer can give you the tools and confidence to get you and your dog on your feet. You see, your dog is more likely to trust you and listen to you if you are confident, especially when they feel afraid.
Someone who can’t make a decision makes everyone’s life difficult. Such a leader holds up projects and again does little to inspire confidence. In fact, indecision makes people frustrated. But how does decisiveness affect your dog?
Decisiveness goes hand in hand with confidence. It helps your dog become confident in you and helps them feel like you have a handle on the situation. It makes it easy for your dog to listen to you and helps build trust in you again. Decisiveness and confidence goes hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other as it will undermine your leadership.
Now who’s had an impatient boss that has been unfair? What about an impatient teacher when you didn’t understand what they wanted? Yup, I’m pretty sure you can relate to this one. But again, why is patience important when dealing with your dog?
You will need to teach our dogs various skills. Like come when you call, stay when you ask and other important skills. Because these things will keep them safe. And true, there comes a time when you have to take the training wheels off, but not too soon!
Dogs learn in pictures. Remember that your dog won’t generalise a cue. If you’ve trained a sit in the kitchen doesn’t mean your dog will understand that sit means sit when you’re at the park. So patience is definitely required.
Impatience will make your dog feel that you are unfair. It will break their trust in you. While your dog is forgiving, it can still be difficult to rebuild trust.
This is fun, you see, how did you feel when your boss or teacher gave you responsibility? What about when they encouraged you and said, you can do this? Empowerment does not mean breaking someone down or bringing them down a notch. It means giving them responsibility! That means you also need to teach your dog how to handle that responsibility.
Empowerment will often help your dog want to do stuff for you – because you asked. All dogs love working with their humans. One of the ways I like to empower my own dogs is by giving them the responsibility for staying with me. Of course, your dog will make mistakes, but empowerment goes hand in hand with patience. And the better you become the more you will allow your dogs to learn from their mistakes.
A very important quality we would all do well to apply in all aspect of our lives. Let’s look at it from a selfish point of view first (as we’ve done with every quality so far). How do you feel when people say one thing and then do another? Don’t stick to their word or even lie to you? Your dog isn’t stupid. Whenever you aren’t keeping your word, your dog gets confused and it eats away at the trust they have in you.
Make it clear when you’re playing and when you’re not playing. If you allow your dog to nip you during play that is fine (and your choice, others might not allow this). Make it clear when play time is and when serious time is when you won’t accept nipping – don’t lose your temper. Teach your dog how to behave.
Another place where integrity comes into play is when you expect your dog to sit before you open the door. If today you expect it without a cue and tomorrow you let them rush out the door, you may as well be lying to your dog. You are not being consistent. And you are confusing your dog.
This is where reading your dog’s body language and getting to know your dog’s why is important. OK, let’s look back at how you appreciate insightfulness. How would you feel if your friend noticed something was upsetting you. And instead of making a scene, got you out of that situation. That would be thoughtful. That would mean that your friend understands you. It will likely strengthen the bond between you and your friend.
So how does insightfulness help you with your dog? Bad experiences can make your dog feel stressed. And they might feel overwhelmed and want to run way and if they can’t they might threaten the thing scaring them.
But, how about if you took charge of the situation. If you know your dog is a little nervous around other dogs, ask owners to leash their dog. Little things like this can help. Knowing your dog’s body language to get them out of a situation before it gets out of control.
Yup, this one is on you. But, what do I mean by Accountability? Well, hold yourself accountable, if you don’t know what to do, find out. Get the training that you and your dog needs. And apply it. If something went wrong, don’t blame your dog. Assess how you could have handled the situation better.
You see, you’re the thinking party in this relationship. If you want your dog to be your best friend, act like one. And, yes, I’m going to say that cheesy line “for every finger you point at your dog, three are pointing back at you”. You can only improve your life and the life of your dog through accountability.
Of course, you do need to hold your dog accountable for their actions too. But you can only do so after training which is your responsibility. Teaching boundaries is also your responsibility. And you’re accountable for your education.
Qualities of a Good Leader
Of course, it will take time to develop your skills. But you will see a positive effect, not only in your dog but also in your every day life. Good leadership skills are invaluable! Once you learn how powerful these are, it will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you and your dog.
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