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  • Writer's pictureDogs Taranaki

The three Cs of good leadership.

Teaching your dog the basics starts with owner basics - being a good leader and providing solid direction your dog can look to and understand.



Owner basics are too often overlooked while we try and get a dog to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, and when it doesn’t go right, issues are often put on their shoulders, without looking further at ourselves to see how we could be helping them.


Being a good leader, and these apply to any setting, comes down to three key Cs…



Be Calm.


High levels of anxiety, excitement, frustration, anger or activity at pace will be fed straight to your dog. Calming your dog’s mind starts with your own. We live in fast-paced and stressed times with kids, work, life, so if you haven’t found your inner zen, learn to slow down. Stop, breathe, then do everything in what feels like slow motion, whether that’s putting their food bowl or walking down the road. If your dog is rushing you, go slower, hold your head higher, and breathe slowly.


Be Consistent.


Be the leader your dog needs. Keep routines and commands clear and simple, and the same. Reward and praise when they do things right, not when they do things you don’t want (remember your attention alone can be a reward). Stay measured so the dog will know to always look to you for direction.


Communicate Clearly.


“He’s stubborn. Strong-willed. Just won’t listen. He knows but he just ignores me.”


If you find they’re not doing what you’re asking them to, stop for a second and consider whether your dog actually understands what you’re asking them to do.


· Is the command short – one word is ideal

· Has your dog has been taught the behaviour you want

· Has the command word been paired with the behaviour you want


If your dog doesn’t understand or the command isn’t simple, all they’ll hear is “blah, blah, blah”. If you’ve taught the word but not the behaviour, it won’t hold meaning. Go back a few steps so they understand what you’re asking. Teach the behaviour you want, give them the word to associate with it, keep it simple, and keep repeating the learning until they respond every time and it stays in their memory.


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