Magazine article Talent Development

Seeing Yourself in the Eyes of a Dog: What Dog Training Can Teach Us about Communication Basics

Magazine article Talent Development

Seeing Yourself in the Eyes of a Dog: What Dog Training Can Teach Us about Communication Basics

Article excerpt

Learning emerges from the most unlikely sources. In my case, the source was a dog and the curriculum was a refresher course in communication When I first met my son's dog Oscar in April, he weighed 60 pounds--a rascally, rambunctious former stray of dubious parentage, indeterminate age, and boundless energy. I gave thanks that he didn't live in my house. But in July, despite serious misgivings, I agreed to become the foster master for Oscar while Red deployed to Iraq with his Army unit.

Into a dissonance between wild dog-ness and hesitant master-ness stepped Ethan, the dog trainer Now Oscar is finally getting the basics of canine etiquette: to walk calmly on a leash, sit, lie down, come when called, stay, heel. I'm learning to teach him by what I have dubbed, Ethan's edicts:

* Be lavish with and exaggerate your praise for what the dog does right. And the corollary, correct him clearly when he's wrong.

* Only give a command once.

* Never give a command you won't or can't enforce

* Be consistent. …

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