Because pack & heard animals live their life on a totem pole, you have to pay attention to how un-conscience they are about constantly one-upping you. This mechanism is ingrained in their basic biology to get to the head of the pack or family system in place. Make no mistake that as a horseback rider or pet owner, your animal is always manipulating you. Of course we can’t blame them- they need to do it almost as if it’s a part of their very existence, and it is.
What I’m referring to, is a dog in a down stay that may inch his way up by rolling over to his side, the horse that knows he shouldn’t walk in front of you but tries anyway and the wolf who may casually steal another wolves bone when they aren’t looking.
This ploy may seem malicious, almost as if they are doing this in spite of you. Even if you’ve taught your dog a million times not to race out the door, he still may try to anyway.
So what is your job as head leader of this system? To Constantly push them back down again on a daily basis.
Why are details so important when it comes to relating to our four legged friends? Because what you may not even pay attention to, nor care about is very important to your pet. You may not see it but they do.
When you can start seeing through the eyes of your pet is when you will tap into a world where the littlest things hold the most meaning. For example, an empty dish that lies on the floor, has the smell of left over food. You don’t control that smell but your dog does. Until you pick the bowl up, the smell still means food and food is the highest rescource to animals so you better own the food.
Old scents hold different meaning than newer ones. The one with the most scents spread on the ground in a particular space or room, holds the territory card and owns the area.
Space is always being accknowledged- how much there is of it, who owns it and when can we get out of it for a more exciting activity such as a walk.
Doorbells, keys, pocket change, foot steps, car engines- all sounds are heard and trigger a meaning or an action. For instance, keys mean leaving or coming home, leash means walk, door lock means going out. A dog that is “trigger happy” is one who gets too excitable, anxious, aggressive or fearful based on sound. In order to make this go away, we must de-sensitize them to the sounds.
What makes a good dog or domestic animal handler is looking out through the eyes of your animal first then through the eyes of what you want them to accomplish from a human perspective. Animals will work in co-operation for you if you show an equal respect for them as much as they do to you 🙂