By Koru K9 Dog Training + Rehabilitation
Let’s take a trip down memory lane for a second…back to when you were a kid. Your home, after school, and you know you should be doing your homework, but instead you decide to sneak out to hang out with some of your friends. Your kid brother catches you in the act, “You’re supposed to be doing homework, not hanging out with your friends!” he asserts, “you are grounded, young man!”
You look at your kid brother, laugh and shrug him off. Whatever, who does he think he is? He’s your stupid kid brother, he has no right to say that to you, let alone try to ground you. What a joke…he’s crazy. This time you grab some of the stash from your parent’s liquor cabinet. You are your friends are going to have a good laugh and a drink over what your dumb little brother just tried to pull.
Just then your mom walks through the door and sees what is going on. “You’re supposed to be doing homework, not hanging out with your friends!” your mother exclaims, “and is that my mega expensive bottle of your father’s favorite liquor?! Young man, you are grounded!”
You immediately apologize to mom, return her liquor and head on up to your room to do your homework.
Okay, I know what you are thinking, what the heck does this story have to do with you, your dog or dog training?
If “Like” us on Facebook, then you saw our recent status. For those of you that don’t “Like” us, here is what our status read:
“Is your dog reactive on leash?
Dogs are reactive on leash, typically, because they feel that they have to be. This problem stems from issues found not only during the walk, but largely in the home as well.
The good news? Proper training/leash handling, awareness, structure, rules and leadership can help address nearly all unwanted reactivity issues.
If your dog is reactive on leash that is NOT okay (even if it is a little dog!), it’s not a problem that will just go away or that can be loved away. A professional dog trainer can help you to achieve a happy, well behaved and balanced dog…and help you enjoy walking your dog again!”
One of the key components that I addressed in this post is Leadership. First of all, let’s define “Leadership.” At Koru K9 Dog Training, we define Leadership as an effective, dependable and calm authority figure that will keep you safe. This is not somebody who wants to “dominate” your dog, or a trainer that wants to come out and hammer your dog to “assert their dominance” or to “prove that they are alpha.” Or a trainer that tries to treat or love away away bad or unwanted behavior.
Think of what defines an effective Leader to you. It’s not somebody that is a push over, or that is too harsh…it’s somebody who is balanced, somebody who can effectively communicate, somebody who can show you the difference between right and wrong and guide you, somebody who provides you with the necessities for what you need in any given situation. Somebody that you look to with respect and admiration and who you want to follow because you know they they are leading you down a good and safe path and, at the end of the day, who will have your back.
In the scenario above, your kid brother…you clearly don’t view him as anybody that is in a leadership role above you. As a matter of fact, when he tried to correct you, you thought he was crazy…then your behavior got worse. You don’t have to listen to him!
But when mom walked in and correct you…you listened! Mom is clearly an effective leader in your eyes and you respect her…what she says goes.
Stay with me here, I promise this has everything to do with you and your dog…
If your dog exhibits problem behaviors, one of the first things we do is look at your role as a leader in your dog’s life. If your dog views you in the same way that you viewed your crazy little brother…guess what, they are not going to allow you to influence their behavior and their behavior will probably get worse over time. Your dog looks to leaders to be calm, effective, dependable and somebody that will keep them safe.
This isn’t something that happens overnight. And it’s not something that can only be an occasional occurrence. Being a leader is a full time job. It’s not always going to be easy, but it is always going to be worth it.
Need help with establishing yourself as an effective Leader? Give us a shout…