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The wolves - our teachers

By fircroft, Saturday, 3rd March 2012 | 0 comments

 

Wolves and what we dog owners and dog trainers can learn from them.

I have just read ‘The Wolf Talk’ by Shaun Ellis -  a book that  gives a fascinating insight into how the wolf pack is structured for harmony and survival. We dog owners can learn much from how carefully the adult wolves teach their pups to survive and live successfully within the pack. What I found particularly interesting was the chapter entitled ‘Pups’ and how the wolves taught their pups the important lesson of food guarding! This is a very important lesson for wolf pups but certainly not for puppies destined to be family dogs. Dog aggression over food is now one of the big problems we frequently encounter here at Fircroft Dog Training Kennels.   So often owners of new puppies are told by well meaning friends/ ‘experts’  that they must dominate their pup and to do this they must be able to take its food from it.  So they try to do what they were advised and constantly attempt to approach and remove their pup’s food, bone, toy etc.  This is exactly how the wolves teach their pups to actively growl, display their teeth and guard their food. Far from the wolves giving their puppies a lesson in adult dominance they are teaching them a life skill for survival. For the domestic dog such a skill is more likely to shorten rather than lengthen its life. So to teach our puppies to be safe around food we must teach them that there is no need to guard it, that it is not scarce, that there is plenty more. Teach them that far from taking their food you are actually bringing  them more, put small portion in their dish, when they finish lift the dish and let them see you drop in some more. Keep the tastiest bit for the  last few ‘drops’. Far from wanting to drive you away they will want you to lift their bowl in the hope of something extra nice. In my dvd ‘Puppy Guidance Programme’  we see Ciaran and Flurry (age 6 weeks) happily learning out how this works. Enjoy your puppies, Mary



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