Dogs and Leadership

Today I'd look to look at leadership. Not the sort of leadership often talked about at length on TV in relation to dog training…no, we’re looking for stories, examples and cases of where you’ve seen DOGS show leadership credentials. Before we ask today’s question, let’s take a look at what leadership is generally considered to entail.

Leadership is commonly described as: the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.”

Running huskies 2
  photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar

But can leadership ONLY come from people, toward people?

There is no common, absolute definition as to what leadership actually is, but it’s generally perceived by many as one person or authority group passing on instructions (that are complied with) to another person or authority group.

Yet within the social structure of a dog pack, we know full well that there is a top down hierarchy. We also know that the dog or dogs who inhabit the higher reaches of the pack’s leadership do not always conform to the human definition of what a leader might be.

So let’s examine some situations where a dog could be considered to be showing leadership.

1. A search detection dog leads its human handler to find items that it has been trained to find.

2. A sled dog would – literally – lead a pack to a given point, defined by a human.

3. An assistance dog leads its human companion to safely accomplish many tasks that would otherwise prove difficult or impossible.

4. A dog may may take the lead in assigning himself the duty of keeping watch over his human family, without being trained or told to.

These are but a few short examples of dogs genuinely leading in a human environment.

Our question to ponder today is a simple one.

What leadership qualities do you believe dog’s posses that humans could learn from and benefit from?

Related Articles:

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About Me
Ryan O'Meara
Ryan O'Meara is the founder of Total Pet Publishing, a former professional dog trainer, current publisher of K9 Magazine, author and commentator on social issues relating to dogs and business. He is a World Animal Day ambassador and one of the co-founder's of the leading UK dog adoption website DogsBlog.com.
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about.me

Ryan O'Meara

Total Pet Publishing : K9 Magazine : ViVo Media

My name is Ryan O'Meara.

I am the publisher and editor-in-chief of K9 Magazine. I founded Total Pet Publishing, a specialist media company deciated to pets and pet owners as well as ViVo Media, a hyper-local media venture. I am a former professional dog trainer and author of three books, Clever Dog (life lessons from man's best friend), Newshounds and Amazing Dog Facts & Trivia.

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Dogs and Leadership