The baby I cradle today is tomorrow’s warrior.
But Viggo will follow me if he sees me as his benevolent pack leader.
Reading Your Dog
An often neglected aspect of the training process is how your dog becomes a mirror, reflecting you back to yourself, helping you achieve greater self-awareness by drawing our greater degrees of patience, sensitivity, and emotional self-control.
Another passage from the Monk’s book illustrates the paradox of control:
How to Hold the Leash
When you are working with your pup on a leash, hold the lead in a comfortable manner that gives your pup enough slack to make a mistake. This will probably feel awkward at first, going against your instincts, since most people are inclined to hold the leash taut to maintain some sort of control over their pup. In reality, however, this accomplishes the opposite. When a leash is taut, the constant pressure on the pup’s neck causes him to resist, resulting in more straining and pulling. There is something Zenlike in this:
More control proceeds from less control.
- Holding the “leash-of-leadership” in a comfortable manner requires your steady attention and awareness.
- You don’t train the puppy. The puppy trains you.
- Learning to read the soul of your dog is THE WAY into your own soul.
Being an Alpha to large breed dogs is a lesson in the leadership of people. Trust me — Viggo is my fourth Leo. He’s preceded by Ami — the friend, Budoc — the lightening victory and Kiai — the martial arts battle cry.
What does raising a puppy teach you about leadership? What triggers your awareness of self?
- The Lion Dog is my 15-photo essay at SmugMug
- Take a Dog’s Lead and Take a Pause (Kiai as a pup and as an old dog learning new tricks)
- Leonberger Club of America: LCA’s motto is “Great Dogs, Great People”
- How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: a training manual for dog owners by the Monks of New Skete
- Go to Live Oaks Leonbergers to learn about Viggo’s breeder, Connie Kent
- Go to Mary Decher’s Kennel von Klingelberg to learn about Sigi, Viggo’s father