When we speak of leadership and dogs, we speak of controling resources; these resources are food, water, space, toys, and affection. The leader is always cool, calm and collected for he or she knows their place. We do this on a daily basis with our children and with each other. We control resources for our children such as: “be home for dinner at 6” or “do your homework and then you can go out to play”. We give them chores around the house and reward them for a job well done, and we set guidelines and teach them the rules.
Imagine what would happen if you did not control resources for our children. Would your 15 year old come home at 3am? Would they be the child who walked into the toy store and demanded all of the toys on the shelf that interested him and got them just because they demanded them? How about 15 candy bars in 5 minutes (remember Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?)
It is important to give our dogs proper leadership on a daily basis as we do with our children. Dogs understand what this means as they also do it to each other and it is nothing new to them. Sleeping arrangements, toy possession, spacial relations when it comes to a food bowl etc; some of which is done with just a look. We visit a lot of homes with dogs having behavior issues and 95% of those dogs are being free fed (meaning the food is out for the taking whenever they want), the toys are all over the floor and the dog sleeps in the bed even though he is the one controlling space on that bed. In these examples there is no leadership, the dog is calling the shots. It is a free-for-all with no structure; it is not a healthy environment.
This entry is meant to be food for thought about daily interactions between you and your dog(s). How is your relationship and where do you stand? I am not saying that implementing these guidelines is an automatic cure for behavior issues, but it’s an essential part of pet ownership.
Unleashed Unlimited Dog Training teaches owners how to be their dogs’ leader. We work with dogs and their owners to find the perfect balance that each relationship needs. If you need some shifting of the pack structure and establishing yourself as your dog’s leader, feel free to contact us.