Dahlia the Drama Queen. This posted was intended to be a humorous story about an incident on a recent walk I had with my dog. However, recently I've taken some heat from it (not surprisingly, from the Alpha Crowd).
I wrote in that post that Dahlia "kept wanting to cross the road and I kept telling her that it was a bad idea because the road had been pretty clearly heavily salted."
One person recently said the following to me in regard to that post:
Well, don’t you keep repeating ad nauseam that your dog has a CGC title?
Why you don’t gave to her a command? Stay, Sit etc.
To answer those questions, yes Dahlia has her CGC title. What is the CGC you might ask? It's the Canine Good Citizen test. The CGC involves a variety of tests to show that the dog is well-behaved and well-trained. Some of the things involve mimicking a visit to the vet or the groomer, meeting other people and dogs while out on a walk, and basic obedience commands.
What this means is that, yes she knows sit and stay (among many other commands).
But here's what this person doesn't understand and I suppose they need to know my dog better to understand what I meant by "kept wanting to cross the road." I'm guessing they believe that she kept trying to pull me across the road, but this is simply not true. Dahlia rarely pulls on the leash (the sole exception is when she has a reactive moment, which due to diligent training have become few and far between).
So what does she do? Well, I've always given Dahlia a lot of freedom to choose the direction we walk in and we've gotten into an understanding as to what her signals mean. When she wants to go in a different direction than I do, she sits down and looks at me. When she has my attention, she looks in the direction she wants to go, and then looks back up at me.
I interpret this as her asking to go in the direction she wants to go in.
At this point, one of two things can happen:
(1) I say "Nope, this way!" and point in the direction I want to go. Dahlia will get up and join me.
(2) I say "Ok!" and we head in the direction she wants to go.
I'm a firm believer in this sort of freedom of choice. I think having some freedom is a very important thing for a dog. It shows that not only does she trust me, but also that I trust her. Trust does go both ways.
In this particular instance, she would follow me, only to sit down and ask again. After the third time, I acquiesced and hoped that the salt wouldn't bother her paws too badly. Obviously I was wrong, hence the remainder of the humorous post.
This person also pointed out that if Dahlia had been hurt, it would have been my fault. No doubt that is true, but I can assure you that Dahlia was in no danger the entire time this was happening. Yes, her paws got a little sore, but she was not in danger. Unfortunately, "sad paws" are a common occurrence here in the winter. There's little one can do to avoid them.
So to sum up, this does not prove Dahlia is my "alpha," as this person claimed. Nor am I hers. We're partners and companions. I like it that way.