Leaders Initiate. Followers React

Everyday I wake up and wonder, "What kind of dog day will I have today?"

Loki changes daily. When we first got him, he was fairly mellow, kept to his comfort zones, and was easy to discipline. He also had no issues with separation anxiety. Now, he is bolder, likes to explore, and is no longer easy to discipline. He has also developed separation anxiety when we leave the apartment.

In order to try to nip some of the undesirable behaviors in the bud, it is necessary to establish ourselves as the pack leaders. Now while being dominant comes much more easily to Yun, it is pretty much foreign to me. I've spent my life being a strict rule follower and an obedient daughter.

So how does a petite, obedient girl establish herself as a pack leader?
Leaders Initiate. Followers React.
This has become my new mantra in dealing with the little willful critter. Before today, I was overly concerned with what Loki wanted.
Did he want to go out on the balcony? Was he lonely? Did he want to play?
He whined! Oh, did he need to go potty? Was he thirsty?
Oh, he's scratching at the door! He wants to be let inside.
Wait a minute! How did I become a servant to a dog? I always intended on establishing myself as the pack leader, but where did my efforts go wrong?

Today was a new day for me. I established a schedule for Loki and I am the one dictating everything he does. Most importantly, I am initiating all playtime and attention. All whines, scratches at the door, and whimpering must be ignored (not even a look). He does not get let inside until he is calm. He does not get let outside until he is calm. He walks on the leash at my pace and he stops when I want to stop, not when he finds a new scent.

Of course, all of this
is much easier said than done. But I'm going to stick with this concept and see if his behavior improves. Being the leader does not mean aggressive tactics and instilling fear, being the leader means leading.


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