"Alpha? Who cares as long as I have you Mom."
I can't take it anymore and I finally found the training program that told me I'm right.
Blue is an amazing dog. Sweet, shy with strangers, a huge heart and all he wants to do is be loved and play. He...just...wants...to...play.
Finally, someone told me today what a wonderful quality that is in him.
It doesn't mean he's dominant.
It doesn't mean he's trying to control me.
It doesn't mean I don't have my dog under control.
It doesn't mean he's aggressive.
It means just that: he just wants to play and have fun.
I don't want the perfect dog. I don't want a dog that isn't happy. I don't want a dog that is afraid to be himself.
I want a dog that is secure, well mannered and a good friend.
I started a new class with Blue 2 weeks ago. Today, we did an exercise. We were told to forget about controlling the dog with the leash and voice. Instead control (and therefore teach) the dog with our body language and energy. We each took turns to hold the leash loosely, walk with our dog to the center of the circle, stop and turn around and walk back.
We all agreed to be critiqued by the others. What happened was amazing.
Each dog is an individual, just as each person is. Each dog in class has their own shit to deal with. Some dogs pulled and tried to run around and each time the human was advised to stop and ignore the behavior.
Each time it worked.
Our turn came. I stood up tall, relaxed the leash and marched to the center of the circle. Blue followed. As soon as he would pull away, I stopped and ignored him. I turned around and he followed.
Suddenly, Blue is all over me, jumping and wanting to play. I stop, turn around and ignore him. I said nothing. I did nothing and waited.
Of course, he has NEVER done that on our walks.
The trainer smiled as we got back to our spot and I waited to hear what everyone had to say.
She said "What did you all see? Did you see aggression? Domination? What?"
All said "He wanted to play!"
"Yes! That's right!" the trainer said as she walked over to Blue. "And I love that about this dog! He's beautiful and amazing and a wonderful dog!"
I was stunned. I expected to hear "Get your dog under control! Don't let him push you around! Show him who is in charge. Now!"
We were then told how the "Alpha" theory and "Pack Leader" theory has been debunked for many years now. We were told to Google it and I did.
Here is a link that I found that made me smile: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/05/09/dog-behavior-myth.aspx
I know my dog doesn't think of me as another dog. Come to find out, the man that originally came up with this research has asked everyone to stop publishing his work as it has been altered and the study done of wolves was not done in the wild. It was done in captivity. :http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2007250,00.html
Now don't get me wrong; I love the work that Cesar Millan does and I am in agreement with most of his philosophy and tools. This isn't about him or his work.
It's about what works for me. And if it works for me, then it will work for Blue.
I have no interest in trying to convince Blue that I am an Alpha. I'm not a wolf nor a dog and he is not a human.
All he wants to know is what is right and what is wrong.
And my job is to teach him that and help him be the best FAMILY member he can be.
Yes, he's my family and to think anything other than that does not work of either of us.