I had a brilliant question asked of me today, which was “once we’ve taken over the leadership role within our pack, what will our dogs role be?” – because in the wild and traditionally in our relationships with dogs, they have a role to play. When that role stops being the role of overall protector, provider etc, what will they do to feel happy within the pack?
The answer is that every dog is different and they will come up with something that feels right for them to do, so some will take on the job of keeping a look out and alerting us if they think there is a danger so we can deal with it for instance. Their main responsibility though will being responding to what is being asked of them by their leaders. Remember that they are living in a human world, one that they don’t understand, so they don’t know what needs doing, so show them and praise them when they get it right. You can do this by doing some ‘training’ with them, so sit, stay, recall practice etc., and asking them to be your companion and playmate! What a life; imagine if all we had to do was occasional cuddling and play, and a bit of training, to be looked after, protected and loved for the rest of our lives…! We’ve got to be clear on their place in the pack structure first though, without those clear leadership signals, your dog will still be worrying about who is protecting/providing.
If you are looking for a dog behaviourist in Essex then I can certainly help you – please call for an informal chat – 07908 192656