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Energy & Leadership

These are two of the biggest deficiencies that dog owners have: their dog has too much energy (and they don't know what to do about it) and there is a breakdown in leadership in the dog's mind.

If your dog has too much energy it will be much more difficult to have the dog pay attention to your direction. It's not a matter of physical energy as much as it is mental energy; because of this, simply throwing a ball or a Frisbee over and over and over again does not challenge your dog mentally and therefore they can do that forever and ever without getting "tired". Learn to bike with your dog (there are inexpensive 3 wheel versions available if you are afraid of being pulling down), rollerblade, or challenge them mentally in waiting until the ball is thrown again. The point is always to put your dog in a calm state of mind before an activity begins so that the association is calm/submissive state before rewards.

Human Leadership is the other deficiency. Allowing your dog to go out doors first, into dog parks first, pulling you around on the walk, deciding when they will get on furniture/beds/car seats, etc., all are deficiencies in leadership. Just because you are the leader of the free world, as in the accompanying photos, doesn't mean you can lead in the animal/dog world. And please don't think I'm only selecting our current president -- I have similar photos spanning all the way back to Kennedy.

Leadership is being confident in your abilities and demonstrating this in a calm state of mind no matter what endeavors to stress you out. In a recent dog class I conduct, I had everyone in the class walk a particular high energy student by themselves. The point was to demonstrate leadership in a dog that is not yours just by taking the leash. It caught some pack leaders off-guard because they were focused on their dog which is a different and lower energy, but all discovered that once you set and enforce rules in a calm state the dog can and does respond immediately.

Until the next time, stay calm/assertive and be a real leader for your dog!

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