Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 275 - The Leader of the Pack

In my home there exists a triangle.  I've blogged about relationship triangles and I don't believe that taking a side of the other two points is good at any time.  But this triangle needs to be a line and not a triangle at all. The shortest distance between two points in a straight line.   Here is how it goes.  My boyfriend and I have a dog.  Her name is Mattie.  Mattie seeks my attention and loves me unconditionally.  I got her for him but because he wasn't home the first few days she was here, she attached herself to me and my rules.  I didn't even want the dog but he kept sending me photos of dogs from the dog shelter, so I thought I'd be proactive here rather than wait for some German Shepherd to just appear on our doorstep.

I'm stern and direct with her. I show her love on occasion but for the most part, she is just a dog to me.  Now Steve loves the dog unconditionally and shows her affection as soon as he wakes up.  In a high pitched tone, he says, "Hi Mattie, How are you?"  To me he gives me the gruff voice of "mornin'" as if life sucks to be him.  He then pets her while rolling around on the floor or sofa with her about three or four times a day and then covers her up with his t-shirt in the doggy bed when when she goes to bed at night.

The dog doesn't cook for him, pick up the socks and shoes he left in the living room, take care of the plates and cups left in the living room, and in general be his life partner through thick and thin.  If I'm not home, she doesn't even sit with him, she sits at the window waiting for my return. I'm told that on occasion she whimpers also. 

Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer says this is the biggest mistake we make as dog owners.  The dogs seek leadership as they are the followers and we are the leaders of the pack.

The number one biggest mistake dog owners can make with their dogs is to treat them like humans. The human race is such a kind, compassionate species that we tend to look at our canine companions as little humans. When in reality, they are canines and have a very different thought process. This is what differentiates mankind from other species in pack societies; there must be a specific order, from the leader on down to the last follower. Everyone has a place. The leaders are the strength of the pack. The followers need the leader to guide them. A dog has an instinct to constantly test the being above them and an instinct to be tested by the being below them. Instinct tells them that if there is not a strong being in charge their life and the life of the rest of their pack is at stake. This primal instinct keeps the pack secure and happy.

Dogs instinctively need rules they must follow, and limits to what they are allowed to do. When dogs live with humans, the humans become the dog's pack. For the relationship to succeed, humans must become the dogs pack leader. The mistake is made when the humans in the pack only give the dog love, and the other factors are overlooked. To a dog, constant affection without rules and limits goes against every grain in a dog's instinct. While dogs enjoy being loved on it does not satisfy the animal and it is not what makes them well balanced, stable minded, secure and happy. Affectionate love is a human trait, not a canine trait. Affection does not make dogs happy, satisfying their instincts do. You need to provide a proper emotional stability in order to achieve this, and showing you have an orderly pack with rules to follow is what the dog needs. Giving your dog affection is important for the human, and enjoyed by the dog, but must be done at the correct times. 

Here is a video clip that shows a perfect example of humans giving a dog affection at the wrong time. This is a result of many years of being treated like a human. The dog is terrified of the thunder and fireworks she hears outside. This dog is in a weak state of mind. The humans in this clip are comforting the dog in a way humans understand, but not in a way a dog can understand. The comfort means two different things to the human and the dog. The dog sees it as everyone around her being weaker than she is. For a dog to be in a weak state of mind, then be surrounded by pack members who are in an even weaker state of mind, well this really messes up a dogs psyche and intensifies their fear. Watch the clip. While watching keep in mind how the humans feel they are comforting, and how the dog's instincts do not see it that way.

Cesar Milan also states that when we take our dogs for a walk, they are to know we are the leaders, don't allow them to walk ahead of you.  You are the leader. When taking Mattie for a walk, I keep her to my right and don't let her walk in front of me.  She knows who is the leader, me.  Now as for my wishes, I wish there were more people in my home that were leaders of the pack.  Leaders who cared about the people they lived with more than the animals they live with. This is the right thing to do if you really care and love (human emotion) the person who loves you.

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