Being a good leader does not mean that you are always out front.
I was reading an article the other day on what makes a great leader. It was directed at being a leader to other humans but as I dug deeper into it I realized that it is the same qualities that make a good leader for our dogs. Being a good leader does not mean that you never let your dog do anything that they want, it means that you guide them through. Without correct guidance, canines can run astray in our very human world. So many people fail their dogs by not offering guidance. They don't want to tell their dog what to do; but left to their own a dog can flounder and go down the wrong path.
A good canine leader
- listens and watches.
- knows that it is not all about them.
- does not know everything and is willing to admit error.
- knows that compromise works much better than "only my way."
- will not knowingly set their dog up for failure.
- does not knowingly place their dog in a bad situation.
- works on the team aspect of dog and human.
- guides with a gentle hand and smart head.
- understands that ever dog has limits.
- every dog has strengths and weaknesses and knows them both.
- does not expect what is unobtainable.
- strives to do better for their dog.
- knows their own personal weaknesses and strengths, everyone has them.
- makes mistakes, but strives to correct them.
- loves unconditionally.
- knows that there are good days and bad.
- is open minded, always wanting to know more.
- will have their dog's back.
- will take the blame when something goes wrong.
- has a kind heart.
- is one half of an amazing team.
One cannot lead on their own. To lead is to teach, guide and assist through the day to day. This list could go on and on but these are the things that came to mind this morning. Life can be a challenge, more so for our dogs. With no guidance, no one to lead them it can be even rougher. Every dog needs a good leader, not just a leader; your dog needs someone on their team. As I sit here with Elsa snuggled up close and Luke under his blanket deep asleep, I feel lucky. When I rise they will follow, we are a team, a pack, one.