In the morning when her lady owner comes downstairs, Mia will open one eye and beckon with her paw as if to say ‘You may come here’!
The lady will then go over to her, get down on the floor and make a big fuss of her. Homage! People often just don’t realise how much their dog controls them until they see it through the eyes of somebody objective like myself.
Mia is adolescent. She has just had her first season and she is becoming a bit of a bully with some other dogs, especially smaller, less confident ones. This has escalated and for the first time she has bitten one. Her owner is devastated, because she has put a lot of effort into socialising and training Mia who has been very popular in the area until recently.
In the nicest way possible Mia needs to be brought down a peg or two without the use of confrontation. If a command is used and she is defiant and refuses, what next? If they back down they have lost, and if they try to insist they risk making her angry. She needs to be eager to cooperate.
At present every resource belongs to Mia, and it’s obvious she considers her lady owner to be a resource also. She objects when one of the young daughters wants a cuddle. She will grumble when one of them walks past her bed. Depending upon her mood, she may grumble when someone comes near her while she has a chew. She has become very touchy when one of the girls grabs her around her neck to cuddle her.
I suggest that now nobody invades Mia’s personal space, either upon her invitation or not, but that she also is encouraged to respect the personal space of her humans. We don’t want to reduce her confidence in any way but she is beginning to show some instability. She is too powerful to be allowed to rule the roost. For her to become respectful and controllable out on walks with both people and dogs, she needs to be respectful and controllable at home. In many ways Mia is a credit to her owner, but this goes a lot deeper than ‘training’. Knowing what is required of her is one thing, but whether she willingly does it or not is another! She is a teenager after all.
Once again, it’s about parenting and leadership. In Mia’s opinion, just who is the real leader and decision maker in this family? I think we know!