10 Steps To Great Leadership With Your Dog

Leadership is defined as the ability to guide, direct or influence. The following ten tips will help you build a strong foundation for positive, successful training and get leadership.

  1. Think positive, not punishment

Dogs that were trained exclusively using positive, reward-based methods were significantly more obedient than those trained using punishment or a combination of rewards and punishment. “The use of punishment-based training might create a state of anxiety or conflict in the dog that is later expressed as bad behavior,” suggested the authors of the study.

  1. Reward, don’t ignore

Humans tend to focus on what they don’t want their dogs to do. They spend too much time saying “no” and trying to make their dogs stop what they are doing. Start putting all that energy into “catching” your dog doing the correct things and rewarding those behaviors. If your dog has finally settled down and is quietly chewing a bone, do not ignore that behavior – reward it. Walk by him, quietly drop him a treat, and move along. If you don’t have a treat, a quiet “good dog” will do.

Hint If good behaviors are ignored while unwanted ones aren’t, your dog may very well decide that behaving well isn’t worth very much. He’ll continue the “bad” behaviors because they get all the attention.

  1. Manners are learned as rewards are earned

Some people have a hard time using food rewards yet present an entire bowl of food to their dogs without so much as a thought. You are going to feed your dog every day anyhow, so why not let him earn it by using some of that food as a training reward? Plan to use a portion of your dog’s food to train, or use it in food carrier toys such as Kongs or food puzzles so your dog can expend some mental energy working for his food each day.

Hint Dogs who live in the wild spend a large part of their day looking for food. When you put your dog’s food in a bowl and it’s gone in 30 seconds, he has little to look forward to the rest of the day. That’s why some dogs walk the path of destruction – they’re bored!

Training and the use of food toys exercise the mind. In some studies, dogs actually preferred to earn their food rather than have it delivered in a bowl.

  1. Love your dog, limit your dog

Dogs appreciate and live well with rules and limits. There is always time to relax the rules after your dog learns them, but it’s much more difficult to go back and put rules in place when he’s had no structure in his life.

Training is one of the best ways to limit your dog. It should always be fun, but the reason for training is to give your dog some life skills that will help him resolve conflict and live peaceably with humans.

Use your dog’s crate, baby gates or leashes to prevent him from practicing unwanted behaviors. Teach him to like his crate, to be comfortable left alone, and to relax when he is not sure what to do.

  1. Give him physical – and mental – exercise

It’s easy to exercise your dog’s body, but do you also exercise his mind? Hide and seek with his favorite toy, clicker training, food puzzles, special digging pits, trick training, and agility training are all good ways to stimulate your dog’s mind.

  1. Let your dog be your teacher

Learn about dogs. Read, get on the Internet, go to workshops and seminars, and watch your own dog. Dogs are great teachers if you are willing to be the student. They are the masters of body language and have beautiful etiquette if allowed to express it. Learn what your dog is “saying” and your relationship and understanding will grow.

  1. Respect your dog’s boundaries

You expect your dog to respect your space and boundaries; in return, you should do the same. If your dog just settles down to rest by your feet, it is not an invitation to reach down and touch him. In fact, this can quickly teach your dog never to relax in your presence.

Similarly, if your dog shows his belly to you, it is not always an invitation for a belly rub; it might be his way of saying he is worried or concerned.

If you personally wouldn’t like something done to you in the context of what you might be doing to your dog, respect him and back off. Body pounding, constant head patting, and grabbing his face, are all good examples of how a human might invade a dog’s personal space, and while he might tolerate it from you, that does not mean he enjoys it.

  1. Lead by example

Your calmness will teach your dog to be calm. Learn to breath and smile at your dog. The more you display calmness, the calmer your dog will be when he needs it the most.

  1. Listen to your dog

He might be nervous, fearful, overly excited, or perhaps the behavior has not been trained. The same goes for reactive behavior towards other dogs or humans; your dog is trying to express how he feels about the situation and needs some help, not criticism.

  1. Enjoy your dog

Dogs are truly the comics of the animal world. Enjoy your dog for what he is – a dog! There is poetry, music, and laughter in every moment spent living with dogs (some admittedly messier than others). Dogs offer life lessons to anyone who will take the time to look and not judge, and to respect them for being so tolerant of us.

DSCN1388Featured dog- Buddy

Buddy is a brindle boxer. He does well walking on a leash, he knows sit

and is learning to play with toys. Buddy needs a quiet home where he will get lots of attention. He just loves being beside you and doesn’t understand why everyone thinks he is too big for their lap. He would do best as the only dog in the home. He is a favorite with the volunteers at the shelter.


Other available dogs

Middy- Female catahoula leopard dog. Housetrained. Friendly, lots of energy

Poncho- Small terrier blend He came from multiple dog home.

Chico- Chihuahua shy but came from multiple dog home.




Featured Cat- Mia

Mia was found as a stray. She is about 4 months old. She is black and white with unusual facial markings. She is a typical kitten full of energy and wanting to play. She loves toys and will keep you entertained until she runs out of energy then after a quick power nap she is ready to play again. she has been around adult cats.


Other available cats

Ivy- Wonderful girl never stops purring and loves to play with toys. No adult cats please

Spirit -Calm and friendly. Loves attention. No other cats please

Elton- Big friendly gentleman. Calm friendly. No adult cats please


All animals will be spayed or neutered prior to leaving shelter and receive 1 year rabies vaccination and city license. Ages are approximate.

The City of Mesquite Animal Shelter located at 795 Hardy Way is open for adoptions from 11am until 1 pm, Monday through Saturday, Sunday 1pm -3pm. Please call 702-346-7415 during these hours to speak to the front desk. Animal Control may be reached by phone or voicemail at 702-346-5268 

The animals submitted to the media may have changed so please visit our Petfinder website for a current listing and more detailed information on the animals. www.mesquiteanimalshelter.petfinder.com

Please also check our Facebook pages for lost and found animals along with pet information. https://www.facebook.com/MesquiteNVAnimalControl and https://www.facebook.com/FRIENDSOFMESQUITENVANIMALSHELTER