When you come right down to it what I show is that dog training really represents a people problem. Behavior issues are a spillover effect from the owner not meeting a dog's relational leadership needs. Similar to the autistic spectrum there is a relational spectrum as it relates to meaningful change for dogs and their owners. This can be problematic even for balanced approaches based on what the individual model represents within this spectrum. The further away one moves down this spectrum the greater the risk of being deceived. While focusing on the owner as the agent of change is not popular it is exactly where it needs to be to provide hope for all dogs.
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From Mind and Body Kinetics
By Dale McCluskey
The term relational misfire is used to describe what relational misalignment represents to the dog via the dog and human connection. Beyond human influence nature's governance takes hold within the pack structure and hierarchy. The pack structure aligns naturally as defined by strength and weakness within the group. While there is more responsibility on the lead dog all the cylinders are firing as defined by nature. The stress and anxiety which often comes from the pressure of a lead role are lessened via the natural order. This however is not the case once relational misalignment has occurred between dog and human. The lead role outside the natural governance of nature represents unbalance for the dog. It does not align with the natural flow of the pack relationship via strength and weakness.
The dog's ability to naturally and fully express this role is hampered by the various levels of physical control and restraint the owner is attempting to place onto the dog. This creates a stressful and confusing relational scenario for the dog based on a disconnect which is happening. On one level, the physical, the owner is attempting to control but on the other level, relationally, the owner is giving power over to the dog. This relational misfire based on mixed messages creates stress and anxiety for the dog. The dog will attempt to challenge and shake off various mechanisms of control in its attempt to fully fulfill the lead role. For dogs with high drives the stress levels will increase. This is where issues associated with fear and anxiety intersect. Training models which fail to recognize the relational connection have great difficulty resolving these stress related issues. Only through proper relational alignment is the burden of stress and anxiety lifted off the dog. Based on the relational dynamics happening it is impossible for a dog to express the lead role naturally via the dog and human connection. This however is not the case within the script of the follower role. It follows the natural path for the dog as all the pieces fall into place at the physical and relational level. It represents fulfillment and harmony for both dog and owner.
Dale McCluskey is a published author with 20 years experience in the dog training field including numerous awards, distinctions and achievements. Dale uses a one of a kind relational approach which offers hope for all dogs and owners.