By Dr. Dan Markwalder, DVM

Most of us want to raise our kids to be leaders – to dream their own dreams stand up against the crowd when the crowd is wrong, and enjoy the joy and accomplishment of working well with others. But, how do you nurture these skills in children? New research offers a suggestion – get them a dog. A poll of 857 Americans found that a whopping 93 percent of C-suite executives surveyed grew up with a pet and 78 percent partially attribute their career success to owning a pet as a kid. Research shows owning a dog offers serious benefits to both future and current leaders:

  1. Responsibility – giving a child a pet teaches responsibility. A quarter of surveyed executives say their childhood pet taught them more than their first internship. Pet ownership teaches discipline (especially if you own a mini-golden doodle) and organization.
  2. The benefits of walks – regular walks require a person to think, focus and keep your mood on an even keel. All necessary requirements for leadership
  3. Empathy and collaboration – recent research has shown that simply having a dog present helps people work better in teams and collaborate more effectively. Dogs seem to make people more trusting, empathetic and kinder.

So, you want to build the next leader in your family – get him or her a dog or cat or snake or bird or hamster – you never know – they may become a future President or hopefully, a veterinarian.