Copyright 2008 / Deborah Lee Miller-Riley, Monroe, Connecticut

What Great Canine Leaders

Have In Common

Leadership is a skill that can be learned

The following list of characteristics were submitted by people who are pet owners to professional dog trainers - these are skills and attitudes that can be adopted and achieved by anyone who wants to make a difference in the life they share with a canine companion. 

A Great Canine Leader ...

  1. unconditionally loves and accepts the nature and uniqueness of their dog.

  2. has honest, fair and reasonable expectations of the dog’s ability, nature, function & potential.

  3. strives to be respectful, kind, rational, patient, generous and forgiving, especially when their dog’s behavior is annoying or provoking.

  4. uses pain-free, force-free methods to communicate and teach their dog and is able to filter out “advise” that is inconsistent with this principle.

  5. is realistic and consistent in the enforcement of safety & social boundaries.

  6. enforces safety & social boundaries with consequences that are swift, appropriate, rational and brief.

  7. sets and enforces boundaries for their dog that demonstrate respect for the rights of others (canine or human) to be free of canine annoyances and canine intrusion into their personal space, property or territory.

  8. is responsible to and takes responsibility for their dog, including the dog’s emotional & physical health, safety, education, manners and conformity to governmental laws.

  9. takes nothing the dog does personally. 

  10. knows that while dogs share many of our emotions, professionals and scientists have concluded dogs are NOT are malicious, spiteful or vindictive.

  11. includes their dog in family activities and travels. 

  12. frequently (with child-like abandon) plays with their dog.

  13. commits to activities that satisfy canine drives and the need for exploration.

  14. provides toys, objects and conditions that stimulate and enrich the quality of the dog’s life.

  15. is an active listener and observer; acknowledging and respecting what the dog has to say.

  16. is sensitive to canine stress, discomfort and fear.

  17. appreciates a dog’s ability and desire to read human and to learn from people.

  18. has clarity of purpose when teaching and guiding the dog.

  19. is consistent in the delivery of information to make learning easier & faster.

  20. has a sense of humor and knows the dog does too.

  21. encourages trust, confidence & creativity by ignoring errors and celebrating preferred behavior  during learning sessions.

  22. models calm behavior for effect.

  23. establishes a basic vocabulary for things, places and actions between dog & human.

  24. recognizes and generously reinforces (rewards) effort & progress.

  25. is aware of individual canine reinforcement preferences and their dog’s hierarchy of pleasure (each dog likes different rewards and likes some rewards better than others).

  26. works to achieve well timed reinforcement delivery & appropriate value for effort.

  27. is curious and driven to learn more about dogs from professional trainers, books, videos, the Internet, television and others experienced in the pursuit of canine knowledge.

  28. is humble, patient and flexible when it comes to coaching the dog through learning challenges.

  29. is a problem solver not a problem complainer.

DEBORAH LEE PRINCIPLESAboutDeborahLee.htmlAboutDeborahLee.htmlAboutDeborahLee.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1

 ABOUT DOGSAboutDogs.htmlAboutDogs.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0

COMPANION DOG       TRAININGCompanionDog.htmlCompanionDog.htmlCompanionDog.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1