What in the world is a cat doing on a Dog Blog? Well, this is Shaka, and he is a 3 year old Birman who is always at the house and is ALWAYS off limits to every dog that comes into the pack. The reason Shaka is gracing the front of this post is because of his leadership with dogs. He corrects with calm/assertive energy. He's not mean to them; he is assertive, which is what every dog is also looking for out of a pack leader aside from being calm.
This is not to say that Shaka always knew what to do around the dogs. In fact, he had to learn that running is a game and creates excitment in the dogs; therefore, they chase. However, when he stops he gives the Pack Leader look that says, "Knock it off!" He also has learned that if a dog is too intense and too curious that I'll make the corrections (I'm a cat pack leader, too? A pack is a pack...) but if I'm too far away he can correct on his own. Rarely does this mean that he swats them away. Sometimes just his own "Tsch!" sound changes their state of mind, but sometimes they are too close and he "touches" to snap them out of their thought process.
Only once have I seen him actually pursue one of the dogs, but he did it to Stella because she was not in the right state of mind when she walked away and so Shaka had to "follow through" with the message being sent. Therefore, Shaka puts into practice all of the techniques that I talk about with changing a dog's behavior.
Recently I've had Luci (Great Dane/Lab mix) at Kamp K-9. Luci has not had a problem with Shaka but really chases the cats in her neighborhood or the ones that straggle into her yard. Shaka has gotten very good at judging a dog's energy and possibilities and he never had a problem with Luci. I think this confused Luci and she became curiously interested in this cat that doesn't run and isn't upset by her sniffing around him. In fact, Luci came up to Shaka the other day and started just barking at him, almost to say, "What are you doing just lying there in front of me?"
That's when it dawned on us what Shaka has really been doing with the dogs all this time. Shaka laid on the floor and looked PAST Luci and ignored her, slowly flicking his tail and no matter how loud she got he ignored her and never flinched. And she walked away and laid down very resigned and calm/submissive.
There are those who write reams and talk incessantly about how this type of dog behavior training is wrong; that you should use treats, and spend thousands of dollars "training" your dog, never correct them, never enforce rules/boundaries/limitations, instinct training is all tricks, etc. And yet, here is an entirely different species who has never been to "dog behavior instructor training", doesn't have any certifications, is sometimes known as a sworn enemy of canines (and vice versa), has never watched TV or the Dog Whisperer and he knows INSTINCTUALLY what to do to change a dog's state of mind: Calm/assertive energy; send the right message, touch correct to change the state of mind if sound didn't work or when the dog is not giving respectful space to another pack member, follow through on the message you are sending, no touch/no talk/no eye contact with a dog that has the wrong energy until they calm down, and know when to address behaviors and when to ignore them.
Until the next time, stay calm & assertive with ALL of the species in your pack!