44. Balancing Our Relationship

Sir Oliver's Granny

The stop and stare to the sky method we started applying 2 days ago, due to sir Oliver pulling on the leash, is becoming more natural for me now. Where I first had to consciously think to stop, now a pull on my arm is enough to stop.  I cannot stop just anywhere, when crossing a street or a car is approaching us or another dog is passing by, I will let go off the method. Safety first.Yet there is something going on with pulling and me.

The first walks with this method, sir Oliver had really no clue of what I was doing. He would pull even harder and not let go. Then later on he would use the length of the leash to walk in circles around me while keeping the leash tight. Only recently he quickly goes into slacking the leash and we continue walking. He had to understand that walking was his reward and he found out that stopping became a bit boring.

Change will not always happen quickly. And the golden tip that explained this method, already said that it is not a quick fix, and when it works it is a long lasting change.

Sounds a bit like us humans, we want to change occasionally, but we rather go for a quick fix and then hope it will be long lasting.

So with this method of changing sir Oliver’s behavior I am changing my behavior as well. I need to be disciplined and not connect pulling to hurting or being mean. That is what I saw, when I pull sir Oliver away of something he may not eat or when rubbing a fence with his shoulder and back. I really feel like a mean person when pulling sir Oliver’s leash, and can’t stand the fact that I feel powerless and not yet able to come up with other solutions that are applicable as of now.

Thus pulling even when sir Oliver does it himself, is a negative experience to me. When I have to stop when sir Oliver pulls on the leash, and while he pulls, I have to pull as well to not fall over. And that sensation of pulling him, while it is more keeping us both in balance, makes it a bit uncomfortable for me. Or I am being hard on myself, since it is not about being mean. It is about being directive and balancing out the relationship between sir Oliver and I when we are outside.

I also read that dogs that have  harnesses on are more likely to pull on the leash. I do not exactly know what to think of that. It gave me some vivid thoughts though, and pictures in my mind. Using a collar and due to not wanting to pull him on the neck, I am standing in the street not knowing how to move myself or sir Oliver. Almost begging him to move and follow. Wait a minute, that is the opposite of natural dogmanship. I am the leader, the leader of the pact. So what does this mind flash or vivid fantasy tells me?

At the moment when I have to pull sir Oliver in whatever situation, I’m almost apologizing in my mind to sir Oliver for pulling him. He might be aware of me trying to be a leader from a point of inferiority and thus he might not acknowledge my leadership from such a starting point and thus pull and lead.

Cool points to look into, and an opportunity to bring change within myself as well. Changing another never goes without changing oneself. I have to respect the workings of the dog brain and not see pulling necessarily as being mean when done with respect and not from a point of fear and inferiority. So I will live the word ‘balance’, where we change both to establish a point of equilibrium. Where pulling is alternated with letting go/slack and merely a form of play or a way to behave together outside, to make walks fun for both of us.


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