Who's got a job? Who's got a boss or manager? Do you like your boss?
I often think that the relationship between someone and his/her dog is very similar to that of a relationship between a manager and his/her employee. (Hopefully, with you in the "boss" role -- call me right away if you think your dog is the boss LOL!) A good manager is in charge of the employee and has final say, but their main function is (or at least, should be) to empower the employees and make them the best that they can be. In the same way, you are in charge of your dog and have final say, but you want your dog to grow and develop and get good at stuff, too. Let's unpack this!
1) A bad boss orders; a good boss tells.
Does your boss just stand there barking orders at you? "We need this done. Did you hear me? We need this done. Do this. Do this!" A good boss first ensures that the employee knows how to accomplish the task, then tells him clearly and respectfully.
In the same way, puffing up and shouting "SIT!" at your dog probably just sounds to the dog like a lot of barking. Your dog is not deaf, so ensure that you have your dog's attention and say calmly, "Sit."
2) A bad boss is insecure; a good boss is confident.
Do you ever get the feeling that some bosses are secretly afraid of their employees? It's almost as if they're going on power trips to just to reiterate to their employees who's in charge. A boss who's secure in his or her leadership, however, never has to do this.
Did you know that despite a lot of hype about "dominant" dogs, there are very few dogs who actually truly want to take over your house. Even if that's what your dog wants, remember that we humans grossly outweigh them in the brains department. We have the opposable thumbs. We have the knowledge of animal behavior. You can be confident that you can handle the dog, and your confidence will shine through, and you won't end up bullying or harassing the dog because of your own insecurity.
3) A bad boss does not care about how employees feel about the work; a good boss is sensitive to what's going on in their employees' lives.
We've all heard stories where employees are not allowed to take time off for funerals or doctor's appointments. A sense of caring towards employees (or dogs) goes a long way.
4) A bad boss does not think about motivation or rewards; a good boss considers this carefully.
What employees are really motivated to get cheap trinkets with company logos? A good boss knows that, while money's always a good motivator, different employees will feel most rewarded by different things -- maybe a couple of flex hours, maybe some interesting added responsibilities. And when a good boss praises you, he or she really means it.
In the same way, knowing what motivates your dog really helps. And when you praise your dog -- mean it!