When you read the word, “leader” what images does this convey?
What does this word mean to you?
How have you been impacted by leaders at work, in the community?
Not all leaders are cut from the same cloth.
I know when I was “growing” up in my professional career, there were some truly dismal leaders who micromanaged, were unreasonable and weren’t looking at fostering professional development, but rather focused on exerting control and power.
This didn’t lead for me or my colleagues to build morale, motivation or being autonomous in fulfilling my responsibilities which I set out to do after I graduated and entered into the workforce.
Quite the opposite happened.
These experiences led to avoiding the leader versus being connected to the shared vision and working towards the common goal.
Luckily, I’ve also had wonderfully remarkable leaders which fostered opportunities for growth, learning and setting myself and colleagues up for success and to become leaders in the field. This was their legacy.
In order for a leader to have effectiveness in meeting goals and objectives, they are also responsible for building camaraderie and building their team up too with fostering a positive workplace.
Being our dog’s leader can go either way too.
Many common practices exist in stopping a dog’s behavior.
Using tools which punish and suppress with the goal of decreasing behaviors can lead to a dog is displaying more of the same or even at an increased rate.
Leaders who use aversive tools like shock, choke and prong collars are not teaching their dogs what to do instead.
These unreasonable leaders are just suppressing behaviors like barking and lunging on a leash or at a fence.
Muddying the waters.
Suppression of behaviors is not learning.
Suppressing behaviors doesn’t equal the behavior goes away, it goes underground.
Dogs display escape-avoidance behaviors with the use of prong, choke and shock collars.
Aversive tools lead dogs to avoid the pain or force from them.
Avoiding a punishment is not your dog learning what you want them to do instead.
These tools exist only for the humans to control unwanted behavior.
Benevolent leaders approach learning with the learner as the focus.
The focus being how to teach, motivate and encourage the learner to do what we want to see more of what is appropriate and safe to do.
Benevolent leaders not only look at how consequences influence a behavior, they also dive deep into understanding and interpreting the emotions of the learner as motivating factors for a display of a behavior.
Any benevolent leader from pet professional to pet parent can do the same.
Approaching behavior modification with a Do No Harm approach.
Assess the dog in the environment and first assess how to prevent the unwanted behavior and how to motivate and reward the behaviors you do want your dog to do.
As you establish a solid and strong reinforcement history, the more of the wanted behavior will be displayed while the unwanted behavior will whither away.
No need for adding any force or pain to get your message across to your dog to stop a behavior.
Rather, you will be having more opportunities in acknowledging all the times your dog is doing the right thing.
There will be no room for anything else.