A dog is capable of reflecting your true intentions. You may pet a dog and say: good boy, and at the same time fear the dog will turn against you. The fear is what the dog picks up and he will act accordingly. This kind of knowledge is common sense and not that difficult to understand. Applying knowledge that says direct your emotion to direct your dog is a whole other story.
I want to be sir Oliver’s pack leader, and for now it has been knowledge and information. Every time I read about being the alpha leader, the pack leader, it felt a bit as if my solar plexus/stomach area was turned around. It is like getting already goose bumps by the idea that I would be dominant and not equal to sir Oliver.
What I didn’t look at was the fact that I am human and act human and sir Oliver is dog and I communicated human with him. In fact there was no such a thing as equality, as it comes to respecting him for being a dog. So I have been reading a lot about dog behavior and what makes a dog being a dog. My conclusion was that I would do sir Oliver the biggest favor when I would be his pack leader, and not led him be the top dog, having to protect himself and me at the same time against this big angry world.
Sir Oliver was showing me that I did not yet understand what it means to apply myself as a pack leader. He would pull the leash and me when walking, he would leave the house first and enter the house as first, almost trying to get through my legs. When I would pull him back, he would hang in his harness using his entire weight to make his point, saying that he will decide where we are going and how we are doing it, since he’s the top dog. Sir Oliver can be very fixated on other dogs or people walking by and it’s hard to snap him out of it when he is in charge.
The example I had of other dog owners in my neighborhood, was exactly the same as how I experienced walking sir Oliver, when it came to inappropriate top dog behavior. When I say walking the dog , I immediately get a picture in my mind of a dog pulling a human forward. So at first I couldn’t see that anything was wrong, everything was new. Though lately I could see that walking sir Oliver was no longer a pleasure it had become a martyrdom.
There was no other way than coming to terms with my lack of leadership out of fear to be dominant and seeing myself as a horrible person for being dominant. Is the word dominant an entirely negative word? Dominant has to do with ruling over and that doesn’t necessary has to be in a violent way. Being a living example, like how I am as a parent, is leading the way. As a parent I have no issues with it, for our dog it is all of a sudden pitiable. And every time it boils down to, seeing the laboratory where sir Oliver spend his first 4 years as the bad guys, while we adopting him makes us the good guys.
Therefore as the good guy I cannot believe I should be the dominant leader as I define dominant as dictatorship. I then realized I would be far more happier as I would skip this polarized good guy/bad guy stuff. Evening after evening I read about getting a happier dog when I do take my leadership and physically own my leadership. Not fantasizing about it, no, just showing sir Oliver that I can be his pack leader and look after him.
Tomorrow morning when I walk with him alone I will bring into practice what I now still understand as knowledge and information. I will commit myself to let go of the good guy character. We’ve done already good by taking him into our home, that’s it, no heroic drama may come from that, I need to be there for sir Oliver as pure as I can be. Leading and directing myself through the mine field of my emotions, while leading sir Oliver in a dominant though caring way.