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Short Case Study: Jill, One Example of a Great Pack Leader

Jill and Todd are the PAFP adopters of Gracie, a 1 year old Bichon Frise.  They also own a purebred 4 year old Rottweiler, George.  

They adopted George from Metro Animal Services after he had been at the shelter for a month, and before that, he had been at another more rural shelter for some time as well.  

When George first went home with Jill and Todd, he had some undesirable tendencies that needed to be addressed. 

When I went to process the adoption for little Gracie, at Jill and Todd's home, Jill shared with me a short, great-pack-leader story. 

Here it is, in Jill's (paraphrased) words:

    It was probably just a few days after we adopted George, when         one day I gave him a pig ear.  He was laying on his dog bed               enjoying the treat, when I had to enter that vicinity for something.     -George growled at me, as if to say, 'don't come near me and my         treat.''   

    This dog could kill me if he wanted to, crossed through my                  mind, but my irritation with the fact that he had growled at me            took over, and I just reached down, and firmly took that pig ear          from his mouth, saying, "No!

    Then I put the pig ear on top of the mantle, near his dog bed so          he'd be able to see it and smell it, all day.  

    After that, he never growled at me again.  He knew who was boss.

~Is not a picture worth a 1000 words?!

    ~They key to the successful outcome in this situation was Jill's instinctive, firm response... that, 'oh no you didn't m.f.,' feeling she was able to harness and relay to George as she took the pig ear from his enormous mouth (this is a 120 lb. dog we're taking about!) was key. 

    One should never attempt taking a treat from a growling dog unless one is 100% in 'pack leader zone.'  Animals are far more adept at sensing fear and hesitation than humans are, so sincerity in action and application is crucial.

    When adopters call me with issues of dogs acting out and not being respectful, I always give a 'pack leader pep talk.'  

    I emphasize finding and tuning into that 'inner, innate leader' we all have somewhere inside of us.  

    Working with dogs, if you want to do it right at least, forces you to tap into that side of yourself, that we otherwise may not get to utilize often in the modern world.  

    There are exceptions of course: nurses have to tap into their 'calm, inner leader' constantly, teachers too, business executives also I guess, attorneys... but what's interesting is: just because someone has to turn on their inner pack leader at work doesn't mean they're necessarily able to turn it on with their pets!   -Some people absolutely melt in their dog's presence.  We just love them so much, and the pet triggers relaxation and love endorphins in most minds.     

    But there must be that balance.  

    One last noteworthy point: in George's case, his recognition that he wasn't running the show, nor would he be, was pretty instantaneous.  Most of the time, that's not the case.  It's usually more of a 'work in progress,' so don't get discouraged!

-As Cesar Millan best puts it, "Dogs need rules, boundaries and limitations."

Frankie and Gracie just hanging out

P.S.  I've been wanting to create new rescue blog posts once/weekly or biweekly for years now, but haven't had the time.  I have no shortage of content ideas~ time has been the issue.  With adoptions being so slow right now, a couple of my regular fosters taking breaks, and having Dee help out as the rescue's 1st p.t., temp employee (thanks to the Give for Good campaign), I'm hoping I can start making more posts.  Thank You. JLP




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