Over the last several weeks we have discovered some tools that deepen the bond between our animal companions and ourselves. We can now use those same tools to develop our leadership role in a natural, gentler manner.
There are hundreds of ways to be a leader without resorting to brawn. Using only physical leadership often results in fear, insecurity, mistrust, anxiety and a host of other emotional problem which undermine confidence. But, to me, the biggest ‘sin’ in this scenario is the quashing of the beautiful spirit that IS your companion. It is widely agreed physical leadership often gets quick results; it is also agreed it has more to do with the guardian’s ego and how the ‘performance’ of his animal companion directly reflects on his skills as a ‘trainer’. Positive spiritual leadership does not get the fast result, but it does have a lasting effect with the added benefit of encouraging the wonderful animal inside to bloom.
Animals which live in our society do need to understand their boundaries, after all, some things that are acceptable in their society do not work out so good in ours, so we must educate them in what is allowed and what is not.
Let’s look at the simple act of feeding your companion, because whoever controls the food controls the world. The guardian should decide where and when the food is distributed and who gets a bowl first, a bale first and so on. The guardian is also in charge of manners at the dinner table. Stealing is not polite and it is one way an animal can get a foot up on the hierarchy, which the guardian should control. An easy way to maintain manners is with ‘blocking’; a technique whereby you place your leg or body in the path of the robber when it is still an idea in his head. There will be a wondering eye, a slight pause before he heads for the other animal’s dish. That is when you block and add ‘wrong’ or ‘uh, uh’. Of course, the trick is not to wait too long to make the correction because if you do, you could end up with a nice little tear in the leg of your jeans like I did. (Good thing I have fast reflexes).
If this scene is dissected we find that we have practiced our degrees of correction, word vibration and mom’s lesson of distraction and leadership. Blocking is a form of mom’s distraction method. An example is when puppy won’t stop nipping at her lips and so she begins to lick his ears, which makes him forget what he was doing. (Bless the attention span of a baby). She thinks he has had enough milk; she gets up or moves away. (She who controls the food controls the world).
There are many ways to modify what moms have taught us. Look at other areas where you think you might be able to apply some of the tools we’ve talked about and nurture a deeper, more meaningful bond with your companion.