Thursday, July 28, 2016

Why Alpha?

The case for leadership in dog care

When do you and puppy cross the road? When there's a squirrel on the other side, or when it's safe to do so? And whose decision is it?

There is confusion between dominance and leadership. Dominance is a forceful attempt to control others, emerging from helplessness and frustration; it's a decision based on deficiency. Leaders are calm and assertive influencers of their environment, who act on purpose. Leaders can be kind and powerful, whether a human Dalai Lama or a canine Border Collie herding the sheep with calm and poise. 

I remember seeing my friend Natasha crying the premature death of her miniature poodle after she ate a poisoned bit left by the garbage bin by a cruel, malevolent human. The dog was on a leash, and faster to swallow than my friend's attempts to get her to spit. It was tragic.

Who decides whether a chicken bone from the garbage bin is a good idea for a snack, your dog, or you? And if your command: 'Leave it!' or 'Drop!' is successful, was this an act of evil dominance, or loving care - effective loving care?

The Alpha dog doesn't bark her head off, or bite: she elegantly embodies love and power and with just one look and the right stance, the pack will follow.

There is a family who adores their dog, but when it comes to obedience, they feel frustrated and annoyed. They constantly scream from the top of their lungs at their dog, whenever there's too much barking or running around, and they did exactly the same thing with their previous dog before this one. It is not the dog that causes the screaming: it is what these people do. 

The Alpha doesn't scream: she whispers. The Alpha doesn't scream, because she doesn't have to! The Alpha embodies love and power in her stance, her breathing, her movement, her touch and her voice. The Alpha protects, provides, soothes and leads the way to safety. 

The Alpha leads with elegance.

In this photo I'm sticking my face in Kinook's bowl to teach her that it's okay for me to handle her food. She first got worried at my 'Yum! Yum!' sounds, but quickly got to make peace with my touching her meals.

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