Shaping Temperament: Leadership

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© By Linda J. Brodzik, Dog Trainer & Behavior Specialist Good leaders are calm, self-assured and in control of themselves and the situation. Good leaders empower their followers with what to do and the ability to succeed in any given situation. Good leaders are also fair, consistent and trustworthy. Trust is the most important part of relating, communicating and teaching. Trust occurs on three separate and inter-supportive levels: emotional, mental and physical. It is important that our dogs feel safe with us and our guidance if they are to commit to us and learn from us.

Timing & Attitude
Timing in communication is the most important aspect of animal training. Attitude is the second most important. Your body language, facial expression, voice and actions all communicate your attitude and intent. As humans, our communication is 93 percent body language and inflection. Only 7 percent of all communication is actual verbiage. Your body language is a flashing, neon billboard displaying your true emotional state. You cannot fake this and, if you try, your body language will display your uncertainty.

When interacting with and teaching our dogs, it is of the utmost importance that we become aware of our true intent towards our dogs and the lessons we wish to teach. If you are stressed, anxious or angry when communicating to your dog, you’re setting up a barrier between yourself and your student. These emotions set a tone that something is wrong and will only serve to put your dog on the defensive. He/she will then be worried about dangers that may occur. If your communication is challenging or threatening, your dog will either take the challenge, or retreat and try to protect himself/herself.

Remember, leaders empower success.

Read the Shaping Temperament Conclusion.

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