Saturday, May 11, 2013

Awful Realization

I was doing a little more research on dog training, pack leadership etc. and came across this article.

Oh, fuck.

I realized almost immediately that I have never been the pack leader to O. Baby Girl was pack leader. I can totally see it now - she was so mellow and stable, older, and he looked up to her. She wasn't a dominant dog, but she was calm and unafraid, at least at the beginning of his life. This also makes sense as to why the dogs he knew when she was still alive are okay with him and why he feels aggressive to new dogs.

I, on the other hand, was weak. I gave him tidbits from my meals. I let him sleep in my bed. I loved all over him, giving in whenever he wanted attention. And I babied him. I consoled him when he was scared.

This is all my fault.

This makes so much sense why he was so much more confident with Baby Girl around. Why he started to get worse when she started to decline, and why he got a whole lot worse when she passed.

There was no pack leader, so he had to step up.

He is not confident enough to be a pack leader, so this is causing him way too much stress. This is why he feels the need to discipline the puppy constantly, and why he is always so fear aggressive on our walks.

I need to step up, and I'm not sure how far to take it. I kinda wish I could get Cesar's take on this, or at least a trainer that will school me on the best, least disruptive, and quickest method back to pack leadership. I have started not letting him walk ahead of me through the doorway or on walks. I have also stopped feeding him any of my food, and asked my husband to do the same. I don't let him eat before me, I'm making him work for his meals, and I'm not letting him into the bedroom unless I expressly invite him. I'm also attempting to withhold affection unless I decide to give it to him and not allowing him to jump up on me any longer. This is what I'm doing right.

But here's what I'm doing wrong and I'm not sure how to change it. He still sleeps with me in bed. I am willing to give that comfort up for his sake, but he cries when he's not in bed with us. This, I blame my husband for. There was one night, early in his puppyhood, where H decided to let O sleep in our bed. Of course, the next night when H wanted O back in his crate, O cried and whined until H couldn't take it anymore. At that moment a monster was born. Unfortunately, H doesn't have the patience to outlast a whining (or barking) dog, and that's not good for training. But do I want to even try to make O sleep out of the bed? There will be, at the minimum, a night of whining and we probably won't get any sleep. I will have a grumpy husband and whiny dog. Is it worth it? Is there any way to get around it? I'm not sure, but I know O will be better and happier when the pressure of pack leader is lifted off his shoulders. I hope that we can accomplish this so that O can be a dog again.

1 comment:

  1. That is going to take some time from what I read in the article. So much "unlearning" for both of you. I'll have to remember to do the same with my dog if I get one in the near future.


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