“If you give only 80% leadership, your dog will only give you 80% following, and the other 20% of the time he will run the show. If you give your dog any opportunity to lead you, he will take it.” - Cesar Millan
The Leadership Approach
When a dog is born, it is born naturally submissive, with a need to follow a stable leader. At birth, that leader is their canine mom. If you have ever watched a mother with her puppies, you will see her consistently and calmly correct their behaviour using her body language, touch, and calm presence.
When a dog comes into our human household, it comes with that same need to be led by a calm and assertive leader in order to feel calm and balanced itself (both in our presence and when we leave them alone).
In order to feel that way, they need:
Consistent rules and boundaries: including consistency among family members;
Structured daily exercise in order to stimulate their inherent need to migrate, and
The right kind of affection: ensuring we aren't accidentally rewarding negative behaviour or creating unnecessary excitement.
Unfortunately, we humans have a tendency to nurture our dogs as we would our human children. This nurturing often means we are leading with emotions, pampering, excited energy, and allowing them to claim us and our household.
When our dogs don't see us as their leader, they will 100% of the time step in and take over. This can present itself in many different ways: aggression, separation anxiety, pulling, marking, claiming, barking, etc.
I'm not here to train your dog, I'm here to give you the tools you will need to create a balanced happy dog and a calm household. Your dog's progress will 100% depend on how much work you put in! Please only book if you are ready to make some changes.
We will start by sitting down together with everyone who lives with the dog and discussing the behaviour at hand. Understanding more about your family, as well as the dog's daily routine, will help pinpoint where the behaviour is coming from.
We will then re-create the situations that cause the behaviour, if applicable, and I will teach you how to address it and prevent it. Including, what new boundaries and rules your household can implement in order to see continued change.
We will also go out on a pack walk together, where I will teach you how to get your dog(s) to walk calmly with you. Most dogs who misbehave in the house, also misbehave on the walk. Proper exercise together is top priority when it comes to creating a peaceful state-of-mind in your dog and establishing ourselves as their trusted leaders.
Our pets come to us with all different histories, experiences, energy levels, and breeds (eg. what were they bred for? can we help them meet those needs each day so that we can stimulate their needs and help them relax?) This isn't a time to blame yourself or others, or to delve deep into the dog's past negative experiences. In fact, we often unintentionally prevent our dogs behaviour from changing by holding onto these negative stories and projecting them onto our dogs.
Let us leave the past in the past, and I'll help you start fresh. Old dogs still want boundaries and limitations, and can definitely learn new tricks! It's us humans, as their leaders, who often need a little more help moving forward!