Diplomacy and the Art of Dog Training

The word diplomacy is derived from the ancient Greek diploma, meaning an object folded in two  a reference to the documents through which princes granted permission to travel and other privileges.

Dog training, like diplomacy, is really more an art than it is a science. There may be many methods and techniques, but the true art of training is how you apply these methods and how you approach each unique dog and owner and their situation. The methods and subsequent rules and protocols simply provide the framework or construct for a successful dog and owner relationship, but they are not absolute and certainly not one-sided. Training should be a conversation between the dog and the owner with each responding to each other to build a relationship based on trust, respect and consistency.


What is a Diplomatic Dog?

Dogs really are the original diplomats as they had to adapt to humans to create a symbiotic relationship and those that stayed close and eventually joined the human settlements were most certainly the ones most skilled at reading human signals, whether verbal or nonverbal. The calming signals dogs use to maintain social hierarchy and to resolve conflict are akin to the diplomat's skill of perception and reading subtle signals that carry great meaning and implications.

Today dogs use these skills daily to navigate what can be a confusing world in which they do not speak the same language as their pack. We as owners then must also be diplomats—attentive and responsive—who help guide our dogs through daily life with the protocols and etiquette rules that make communication simple and ultimately allow our dogs more freedom.

The Diplomatic Dog in essence receives "the documents which granted permission to travel and other privileges", not from princes, but from you, his owner and guide.



What I Do

I train both owners and their dogs in the art of diplomacy with the ultimate goal of transforming your relationship into one where you feel comfortable and empowered taking the lead - not for the sake of being the leader, but to guide and influence your dog through life.

To accomplish this, I use obedience exercises to create protocols and structure that, like in human diplomacy, ensure relationships and interactions are more predictable and ultimately less stressful for both you and your dog. In essence, these obedience exercises become the common language between you and your dog. Today’s chaotic world can be a confusing sensory overload for many dogs, but by focusing on the process of training and the protocols you can change your dog’s state of mind from one of excitable, anxious and stressed to cool, calm and collected and, most importantly, relaxed.     

I look forward to being the interpreter and bridge between you and your dog and helping you both learn the protocols that will allow your own Diplomatic Dog to journey with you anywhere life leads you.

Kathleen is an excellent trainer and coach with impressive interpersonal skills. She doesn’t just train a dog to be obedient to commands, she modifies the dog owner’s behavior so that the owner can take the reins (leash!) once the training sessions are over.
— Mary and Gary P.