Here is a list of items to remember about how to help our pack members, and how to be a better pack leader!
Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations!
Set them. Respect them. Follow them. Expect them to be followed. Behavior must be invited not just accepted.
Dogs follow and respect BALANCE
This is demonstrated through your energy (state of mind). A balanced dog is calm and submissive, obedient and well behaved. A truly balanced dog does not need a leash between him or herself and the human.
Your energy dictates your dog’s behavior. Behavior = Mirroring.
Nose, Eyes, Ears
After energy, dogs respond to nose, eyes, ears in that order (dogs are born with their noses working; 15 days later their eyes open; 21 days after that their ears start to work so they respond to energy and scent FIRST even through their adult lives).
Exercise, Discipline, Affection
IN THAT ORDER! Exercise can be a mental challenge or physical ritual and acknowledges instinct; discipline means direction – dogs live for and are happiest with direction and challenges to their intellect; affection is food, their name, actual touch – anything that rewards a DESIRED state of mind in the dog and fulfills emotions.
Animal, Dog, Breed, Name
Dogs relate to, and should be considered, in this order: animal, dog, breed, and name. Animal first (all animals can be dangerous and lethal); dog second (all dogs are pack/social animals and their balance requires interaction with other dogs), breed third (different breeds are developed for different specific jobs so we should nurture and respect their purpose and continue to keep them working), and name lastly (this is the human side of the dog – more about what we make them than what they make of themselves).
Body language in a dog will communicate two things: 1) state of mind of the owner and 2) state of mind of the dog. Body language in a human will communicate the exact same things.
Pack leaders cannot be intimidating, frustrated or angry (energy, once again) because the pack will not show respect or trust, and therefore will not follow. They must be authority figures in the eyes of the dog(s) and are calm and assertive.
The walk is important to maintain pack structure and hierarchy (human directs, dog follows direction). Sniffing, exploring, and “being a dog” is for when pack leader says it is okay – dog does not dictate when to do what. Display the right energy!
Correcting Unacceptable Behaviors
All unacceptable behaviors must be corrected immediately and before they become an issue! Correction could be as small as a look or as serious as a touch. Hitting or punching a dog is counterproductive to the psychology of a dog (for example, if a dog is truly engaged in a fight striking the dog will empower them to react even more intensely and they will not shy away).