Nature knows best
One of the things about watching dogs meet for the first time is that if you know what you are looking for there is actually an awful lot going on. You see, dogs instinctively know that there are leaders and followers. This dear dog in the video named Willow was very clearly told that she was going to be a follower by my two girls. After all, Willow is still a young puppy and my two girls are aged 4 years and 8 years of age.
It happens as soon as Willow meets them, and it’s often very subtle, but make no mistake, it is all absolutely crucial. All the ignoring and growling at Willow is my dogs putting her in her place. When she tries to demand attention, my little dog really steps it up and growls at her until she submits. What I love is how all of this is so instinctual to dogs. They understand the need for leaders, especially good leaders! Have you ever wondered what messages you are giving out when you meet your dog? After all you want to be the pack leader with your dog, right?
The attention seeking pack leader
There is nothing most dogs need more in this world than strong human pack leaders. To make all the big decisions, such as what to do when the mail man turns up and how to respond to the neighbors cat who keeps coming over… Dogs can never fully understand all that goes on around them in this human world that they are made to live in, with all our rules and strange comings and goings. Dear Willow had been given the message that she was in fact the pack leader and so she thought that she could do what she liked. Unfortunately this was starting to become a nuisance to her owners when all she was doing in her mind is constantly telling them that she was really in charge. One of the ways she did this was insistently demanding attention and refusing to take “No” for an answer.
Take away the job of pack leader
Every year I work with hundreds of people who have dogs causing all sorts of issues. A very high percentage of these dogs are constantly demanding attention like Willow here. It can start off fun and entertaining, it can initially feel quite nice that your dog follows you and wants lots of cuddles, but it can soon leave you feeling drained, exhausted and frustrated. The solution is simple. When you take away their role as the pack leader by putting in place the 5 Golden Rules then without much extra effort you will be in a position to get your dog to switch off and relax.
Remember it all starts when you meet your dog.
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