How my dog teaches me to be a leader

You guys…

I have a cute dog – a really cute dog.

So I need to repell myself or otherwise my day just consists out of kissing
(in a motherlike kind of way, you dirty minds!) and hugging my dog.

Because he is so cute and looks so innocent, I’m finding it hard to set my boundaries.
Because I feel for him and in my heart I want him to be free. That is why he keeps testing me
and my leadership.

But guess what I found out…
I thought his happiness completely depended on his freedom.

Boy, was I wrong.

During walks he tends to be very stressed and alert. Our dog coach says that during walks he builds up a lot of frustration: he sees a cat, he can’t chase her, he sees another dog, can’t chase him either, sees a bird, can’t run away because I’m on the leash…
So what happens, when we arrive home? He has a lot of built up frustration.

So first thing that is key is: play more frequently and more focused with your dog. That is one of the ways in wich they can release stress and frustration.
So we made our walks shorter and our playtimes bigger
(for example one or two walks of 20 minutes per day and one or two intensive playsessions of 15 minutes).

Okay fine, but what does this have to do with leadership?

Two things:

First, your dog can teach you to become an intuitive leader. Follow your gut. I noticed that my dog likes to secretly take magazines and tear them apart into tiny pieces (he loves that). I felt that this was one of his ways to release built up emotion, so now and then I give him an old magazine that he’s allowed to tear apart. I’m not sure dog coaches recommend it, but it works for and for him, so… 😀

Second, if you give your dog(s) rules and boundaries they feel more safe. In the beginning it seems weird, but that’s how it is.
Also: if you act like a strong leader and really take the lead, your dog will feel more safe around you (since you are able to protect him).
So don’t be too ‘emotional’ about giving your dog rules. If you want a calm and happy dog, step up and be the leader he needs you to be.
Reward him for good behavior and punish him for bad behavior.

In short: freedom comes in many ways and forms.
It doesn’t always mean what you think it does…

Good luck.