DOG TRAINING: THOUGHTS ON MANAGEMENT

I’ve had conversations with two different dog trainers over the last month – and the first words out of their mouths, once they knew that I was a woman, have been: “You’ve gotta be tough – and let the dog  know who’s boss.”  If only they knew me better (as our Fortune 500 clients do) they could rest assured that toughness isn’t a quality that I lack.  However, as those of you who have read my sixth organizational management text, Sunday on the Hill: Organizational Change Management, you already know about my strong views opposing the old-fashioned, brute-force style of dog training, where the dog is ground into submission by a series of human aggression approaches and the dog is turned into a lump of potato instead of an actual dog.  My approach to dog training and dog management is a psychological one, based on love and trust extended to the dog and in-kind treatment expected back from the dog.  I always manage to greatly annoy old-school dog trainers by saying that we’ve always trained our dogs simply through our love for them and their love for us.  This approach is heartily endorsed by our homeopathic veterinarian, Dr. Stephen Blake, who is probably the most empathic person in his interactions with dogs that I have ever known.  That same approach, by the way, is the one that I endorse (and the one endorsed by my mentor, Professor Peter Drucker) for use with one’s employees, wherein appropriate attention and concern is extended to all employees (the business equivalent of the term “love” that I use in our work with dogs).  There are many ways of extending that attention and concern – these have been discussed in depth in other of my organizational change management books.  But, in essence, it is a process – and one based on human caring and concern – or “love.”

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