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Who's Leading Who?

Who's leading who? In many cases, it's the dog leading the owner, both literally and figuratively. The following leadership tips from Melissa Berryman will help. Melissa is founder of Dog Bite Alternatives, an organization that offers education and solutions to dog owners, communities, and shelter/rescue groups. "As a former shelter manager," says Melissa, "I dealt mostly in crisis situations and remaining within their families. My emphasis is on coaching people to be better leaders."

* Dogs are not little humans; they are predatory pack animals who follow a leader.

* Leader dogs need to know that their owners are better leaders, and flight dogs need to know that they will be protected when their environment scares them.

* To be a true leader, give constant feedback and keep control at all times.

* If a newly adopted dog growls or snaps, realize this is normal. The owners need to assert leadership to convey to the dog that they won't tolerate this behavior. "If you back down, or become frightened, your dog gains power over you."

* Seek out an obedience program that focuses on teaching you how to provide leadership, relationship building and problem-solving.

Last Updated: April 26, 2018 (LET) PawSupport