Many dog owners have no idea how their weak leadership and uncertainty is impacting on their dog. Lack of confidence can negatively affect a dog’s behavior in many different ways. On the one hand, if a dog is born with a dominant personality, that dog can be easily motivated to exercise his dominance if he’s in the hands of what he perceives as a subordinate. Alternatively, if the dog has an inherently submissive personality and yet the handler is even more gentle in nature, the submissive dog can become very skittish and insecure.
A very dominant dog with an unconfident leader can be a recipe for disaster. The dog will not regard the handler as a capable, strong leader, but rather a follower. It doesn’t matter that the handler is bigger in stature, or has hold of the leash; it’s what the dog perceives in terms of the person’s personality that influences a dog’s thinking and, ultimately, actions.
What happens then is the unintentional creation of an edgy dog with a tendency toward aggression. Whenever the dog encounters situations where he believes he and the rest of “his pack” are under threat, the dog will feel compelled to deal with the situation himself. Even if the dog doesn’t “like” something or isn’t comfortable with a certain circumstance, he might act out by barking, growling, or even biting. And, this is apart from the myriad other problem behaviors that can manifest in your daily life with your dominant dog – from digging, stealing food, chewing your belongings, and taking over the furniture!
The only way to resolve this situation is for the handler to re-invent himself and purpose to become a respected authority so that the dominant dog will hand over the invisible reigns, take a step back, and trust in the handler to lead and set the rules. This is not an easy process, especially if the handler and dog have a long history together, but it can – and should – be done. Safety is always the biggest consideration.
A gentle, submissive dog, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily want to lead, but he can feel forced to deal with situations when no-one else around him is stepping up to the plate. He’d rather defer to a strong, capable leader, but if he doesn’t perceive (remember that perception is everything) the presence of someone to keep him safe and secure, he will eventually feel compelled to take the burden upon himself. At first, he will hesitate and try to ignore, avoid, or hide, but if pushed, he can act out. This is where you see a skittish, nervous, insecure dog reacting shyly or strangely in all kinds of situations but then one day he lashes out. Again, the solution lies in the handler developing himself into a confident, reliable master.
That’s why my Perfect Dog system is so helpful and empowering. My training gives every dog owner – men and women, young and old – everything they need to transform themselves into the kind of leader that will bring peace, harmony, security, safety, and freedom (because the dog can be trusted to behave) to their dog’s life. It’s a necessary part of our loving provision for our dogs. Dog owners need to know the “how” and they need the tools to get there, but most of all, they need to be able to approach their goals with confidence – a belief that they can and that they will. And, this is the best thing that the simplicity and ease of my system provides.
– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”
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