Pack Leadership: Behavior

Posted on October 11, 2009

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Kai, flat-coat/chow mix, and Rustle, miniature poodle

Kai, flat-coat/chow mix, and Rustle, miniature poodle

I used to worry about my dogs mis-behaving, until I realized there was no such thing. There is only behaving. Very quickly thereafter, I picked up on one of Cesar Millan’s tips: You can’t teach your dog unless it behaves. Every behavior is an opportunity for training.

That freed up our walks tremendously. Suddenly we could go anywhere, and we did. I wanted them to deal with bicycles, kids, other dogs and animals, people, traffic, and anything else the world was likely to throw at us. That’s why I took them to the Seattle AIDS Walk. I knew that I should see opportunities to train, not frustrations.

I wish I’d known that when I was a manager. Back then, I always looked for the quiet moments, when everything went according to plan. When I thought I needed to train someone, I would push them into training situations. For example, if I wanted to make sure my assistant manager was ready to take my place, I’d take him to meetings with me or send him to meetings in my place. I wish I had known that my job, as a leader, is when things go horribly wrong. In the midst of chaos, where I’m actually happier, is where training opportunities – and therefore leadership opportunities – abound.

So this week, keep your eyes and ears open. Not just to reward success (because you look for that all the time, right? Right?), but to greet mistakes with a smile and a training lesson.

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Posted in: dogs, Leadership