Pack Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Occasionally I work with families where the little ones are around. I don’t mind having them participate for a number of reasons, and here are two big ones.
First, they don’t live the same back-story their parents sometimes do about the dog and what they’ve gone through in life. Children really do “live in the moment” and so their energy tends to be a little more real and lots less stressed.
Secondly, and probably most important, they will become tomorrow’s balanced pack leaders if they are allowed to exercise their abilities with dogs. For example, my niece is a pack leader in how she directs and controls her dog. Granted, Nathan is small but how many adults do you see pulled around by their small dogs that are out of control?
Another example is friends of ours who have three daughters, who Koa probably outweighs with their weights combined! However, even in a very public place with many distractions, Leah is handling herself – and Koa – quite well!
When you look at all of the pictures, you will see what I try to teach adults who might be having problems with their walks: loose leash, comfortable body language, calm/assertive demeanor, and enjoy the walk! Remember that YOU are walking and the dog is accompanying you; you are not “walking the dog”. It’s a matter of perception, but a powerful conversation you should be having with yourself. If you are walking the dog, then it is no wonder the dog wants to do what it wants to do and you are just along for the ride… or the pull!
On the other hand, these photos should indicate that the girls are all taking a walk with a companion but there is no dispute who is in charge and control.
Until next time, stay calm and enjoy your walk!