Thursday, April 15, 2010

Canine Camp Director Leadership Skills

Controlling a group of dogs means knowing what you want to do with the dogs, setting the agenda. Sometimes the agenda is as simple as I'm taking all the dogs to the northwest corner of the park. 
The big problem is to keep people (humans) focused on what they are doing. All too often people playing with dogs drift into thought. We need to stay focused. 
Our yards are large enough that dogs can go off to do their own thing, which is very cool for dogs. When they are out exploring, we must know where they and what they're doing is obvious; isn't it?
Part of setting the agenda is to call all dogs to you. Heads up! This is the key part of how to do this!! 
As they head toward you, look at them, call them by name. Then tell them how by gosh happy you are that they are coming.
Dogs love it when they know we like what they are doing.
If you are really a class act in the dog park, when the dogs get to you you greet each one and then give them a thump or a stroke. You will know you are in control when your dogs line up to greet you. No pushing, no jumping. 
This puts you in the leadership role, dare I say dominent, in a lovely way. 
Don't drop the ball now, you have to throw enough for all dogs; none of this one or two dogs getting the ball and the rest just standing around. 
When you lead keeping all dogs happily occupied, hmm I just know I don't need to finish that. 
So does this make sense? What questions or comments??
In the years that I personally did the day care I never had a fight, a bite or a spat. 

1 comment:

  1. "You will know you are in control when your dogs line up to greet you. No pushing, no jumping."

    Hmm.... need to work on this one. After being reminded of the little things, it reminds me that you must live the leadership role, there is no "down" time. Any inconsistancy will be noted by our body language loving canines. I used to struggle exlplaining some of the basic routine that establishes leadership. I never realized the power of it until I tried to help a friend with a young out of control lab puppy. I would take my friend's puppy for a week at a time and never experienced any of the problems she would complain about. Strange, I thought, so I took her for a month once to see if maybe she was on good behavior because things were new. Every time I sent the puppy home her owner would rant and rave about how wonderful she was doing for a few days... then, no surprise the bad behaviors would come back. This was one of those "light bulb" moments for me when I realized how powerful daily leadership and consistancy is. I didn't ever "train" this puppy, just worked it into my pack's daily routine. The puppy thrived on this. It completely makes sense to me that this is what dogs thrive on in a daycare situation as well. The power of redirecting behavior before something "bad" happens (whether that's chewing on the couch, peeing on the rug, or having a spat) is immeasurable. It takes a talented and observant person to be one step ahead of the game. If you are, there are no limits to what you can achieve.