Our family has been watching The Dog Whisperer recently.
Having three dogs can be a challenge at times. It’s been interesting to see what “calm and assertive” leadership has done just in the past few days. All three of our dogs were rescues and are aged 13, 8, and 5. Yesterday for the first time, our most neurotic eater (any human food sends her into shark mentality) sat calmly two feet away from some human food for ten minutes until I brought the food to her and gave her permission to eat it.
The other two dogs were already pretty well behaved, but have trouble obeying immediately once in a while; they had to see we mean what we say. They were always the ones to take us on walks instead of the other way around. Now we lead the pack on walks, and they follow. It’s not hard, but it takes practice. It actually started being kinda fun, once I realized that it should be relaxed and low-stress (at least for the most part).
I’ve learned that a good pack leader has to be vigilant and work harder than anyone else. I’ve learned that actions speak louder than any number of words, and that a good leader must-must-must provide consistency and follow-through. I’ve learned that trust and respect are completely different things and that a good leader should have both. All these things have started spilling over into other areas of life. The Child is calmer, gets her work done with less fuss, and is learning how to be a good leader. My own chores are getting done better. And I’m getting more exercise from walking the dogs on the mountain (which is always a good thing).