In the books it sounds so incredibly simple: you must teach your puppy that you are the pack leader or he will believe he is the Alpha dog, which is stressful for him and will make life difficult for you.
Step one – something as simple as going for a walk.
“Always leave the house first – the pack leader is always in front.”
So, following the instructions, I stand erect, have a confident air, step into the sunshine, wind or rain and walk briskly and...yank. At the end of the lead is a dead weight. Bertie sits on the threshold looking up at the sky with a bemused expression, which says, “I think I’ll just stay here. You go, if you like.”
Much commanding, cajoling with treats and eventually lifting outside, later...
“Make sure your dog walks either beside you or slightly behind you. You are the pack leader.”
Off Bertie goes ahead of me. He is far quicker and more agile than I am and for a while there is good deal of rather undignified jostling for front position...
“If your dog runs ahead, call him to you or tell him to sit.”
There is something particularly humiliating about calling, “Sit!” in a public place, while being dragged along by a small Bichon who is great at sitting in the kitchen when I have treats in my hand and we are alone (“Yes,” he says, “I can adopt the cutest and most well-behaved pose – anything for a puppy treat!”) but outdoors, treats are insignificant compared to the countless smells to be explored.
Next thing, he weaves a sort of web with the lead as I try to pull it in and I find my legs so bound that if I try to move I will fall over. Bertie sits down and...if you have ever seen a Bichon, you will know that they can and do laugh!
We make some progress eventually and things fall into place until Bertie decides he doesn’t want to walk anymore and I end up carrying him halfway home. I arrive back exhausted. He licks my face as though we had a wonderful time...and now he wants to play...and the games he chooses...well that’s another story. And now it’s time for a walk. Okay, stand erect, shoulders back...I am the pack leader...
What a beautiful boy. Thanks for the laugh out loud moments!
Thank you, Tess :-)
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