Imagine your are set down in the middle of the Australian outback, with a group of strangers. You have been given a weeks supply of food, water and some equipment to assist you in your journey to safety. So you only have week in which to figure a way out, know how to make use of everything provided to its fullest and to take the journey. You are reliant on the skills of the group to get to safety. Each person in the group has a different set of skills which if the group works well together will get them to safety. However, if the group cannot work together and make good use of the skills, some may survive but others will perish in the outback.
Some people in the group start to panic, and start rummaging through the supplies taking what they think they will need; another couple start making commands for everyone to follow their lead; and another person wants to set up camp in a nearby area. Everyone is starting to get on edge and there is a lot of disagreeing with what should be done first – panic is setting in. One of the members of the group – Jo, asks everyone for calm and suggests that there is a way out of here if we sit down and establish what we can all contribute to the group; and then make a plan on what we need to do to get out as a team. A few people sit down together without a fuss, and some sit down muttering and are not really willing to following the instructions of Jo, as they think he is trying to take over. When everyone has sat down Jo calmly says “why don’t we take turns and introduce ourselves one at a time with our name and how we think we are able to contribute to the group?” One person pipes up and says “oh so at least we get to know everyone before we die out here!”. Jo ignores the comment and remaining calm suggests he goes first. He does this and through the exercise they find out that they all have very different skills, each skill is very valuable to the task they have to accomplish. Now that everyone has seen that all the contributions made by each member creates a great team, they feel confident about their survival. By now the group has calmed down and they each know how they will contribute and what needs to be done to work together on a plan for their survival and journey to safety.
The group has shown that they respond to Jo’s calm manner and direction and not to other members, who take the more aggressive approach or to those who are quickly panicked. Now that Jo has laid the foundations for a team able to work together to survive, and everyone now knowing their role in the group, he has shown he is capable of leading the group to safety. So a vote is taken and Jo is chosen to lead the group. This does not mean he will not be tested along the way. There will always be those team members (yes the ones that didn’t vote for him) who will question him. He will have to constantly convince the group through calm and consistent behaviour that he is still the leader so they listen to him and follow his lead of their own free will.
Looking at this through our dogs eyes – leadership in the dog pack is vital for survival. What is the most important thing to a dog? Survival of the pack. Each dog has their role in the pack and as long as they have a leader to make the decisions, they will be able to function as a great team. To a dog you are part of this pack – even though you are not a dog, they still see the whole family as the pack. So who should be leader of your pack? Yes YOU!
Your dog lives in a world it does not understand, and is faced with a thousand threats every day – and if your dog is leader, this is where things go horribly wrong. Your dog is doomed to make mistakes if he/she is given the role of leader in your household, where everything man made is alien to him/her and could be a threat. The pack comes and goes as they please and never listens – no wonder they can get things wrong – all they are trying to do is their job, and no one is listening! And they are failing through no fault of their own – but they will never give up as their pack survival is their main priority and if you don’t give them a reason to follow your lead, they will always feel they have to take on the role of leadership in the pack. To be a good leader you need to communicate to your dog in a language he/she understands and you also need to communicate this language in a calm, consistent and convincing manner.
Just like the group in the outback, without a leader, a pack will most likely not survive in the wild – yes a few individuals may but as a pack you are thinking of every member of that pack and the packs survival as a whole. Our dogs will give everything to ensure the survival of their pack, even if it means misery or pain for them. That is how incredibly special they are! So do you want your dog to live like this? Constantly stressed trying to do a job they are not capable of? Or do you want a dog free from decision making – one that can be happy and relaxed and enjoy being part of your pack – and to follow your lead of their own free will?
With Jan Fennell’s method “Amichien® Bonding“, you can learn how to communicate with your dog in a language they understand. The method is simple, kind and effective and explained in Jan’s book or DVD, which you can purchase here and implement the method yourself for only $20. Or if you would like help to implement this method please contact me (qualified Dog Listener and member of Jan’s Quality Assurance Program) to find out more about how I can help your individual situation by offering a consult in your own home.
Yes there are all different types of leaders – to read more about what kind of leader you want to be click here.