At times I begin to wonder whether those morons bringing more and more restrictions on looking after a number of dogs compared to an individually owned pet have a point. What if such a thing exists? And dogs being one step away from turning wild and ripping us to shreds just because they are in a pack now? And what constitutes a pack? 5? 15? 30 of the same species? A group of any sort? An individual dog working on its’ own to benefit the pack hunting elsewhere? And what exactly are those implications of feeling the call of nature? How is it any different from having just your owner to look up to?
Then the day passes and I know this is all going to be just a waste of space. You are a member of society even when you are not partying with your friends, and socially acceptable laws apply to you equally whether you are alone or in the battalion. The same goes for our dogs. Good dogs are an asset to any pack. Bad dogs are bad full stop – on their own, or in a team. And the ruling of a pack… Well, Mother Nature made all the wise changes for us. Packs need to be controlled in order to maintain the hierarchy and maintain subordinance, hunt and raise the young in order and hunt and sleep safely. Let a dog (s) be on the top of it and you live by the rule: “If you are in a sled and not the top dog, the view is always the same…”
Yes, you as a top dog will be able to have your privacy, free time and possessions. Walks will be yours, house, bedroom etc. And the pack will respect the one in charge, but not necessarily comply with what he / she says.
And it will not help anyone to learn what to do, when and how. So we can just as well drop this – it’s not going to benefit us a bit!
So what does make sense? Choice! Free range! The ability to learn and the opportunity to experiment. Pack will work out the rest. With its’ energy levels, balance and stability, the pack will educate. On everything, on being destructive, noisy, over-exuberant, hard mouse, persistency and sexual over-exuberance. The ability to copy the elder and imitate the more experienced members of the group is there from birth, being sharper at some stages in life and not so sharp in others.
Do you just let the dog go and learn by “trial and error” then? You can, but not having done so before and not having access to a pack of clever, balanced and gentle Stooge Dogs you’d rather not. Trust my advice. But what you can do is feel a part of the pack, be a model character there, set up the excitement level and reactions yourself – always remember – calm, steady, confident and tolerant to a reasonable level of pushing it on the dog’s side but not accepting it from a certain point in time or after a certain level of disobedience.
Flooding method of training is highly difficult to follow and can have a serious negative outcome due its stress-based nature. So let’s leave it for now, or do it under someone’s supervision / control.
And be attentive to the “free range” rule – if the dog is not free to communicate freely, the lead is tight or you are holding on to them – you are not helping the dog, better save yourself time and do it when you are 100% clear on how to keep the dogs in “off-lead” mode, with or without the leash. Be prepared to deal with the possible scenarios, but do not panic or upset the dog – it is very rarely as bad as most people think.
Safe “pack experiences” with your dog/s, have fun and live a social and ethically-polite life!