Mom just got home from a walk with Lego around the golf course. He did good, she said, so she let him off leash when he was doing his best, as a reward for his effort. He is a totally different dog when he’s by himself, or at least when we’re not all there, because it’s not until then that he really relaxes. When the whole pack is together he slips into his role as the look-out, and isn’t able to let go and have fun. Also, I’d say that when the whole pack is gathered my folks tend to tense up a bit cuz they feel like they need to be in control of, and prepared for, everything the whole time. And sure enough, when they don’t relax, Lego doesn’t either. He’s extremely sensitive to the slightest mood change, but also to some weather. He’s a little skittish in the dark and doesn’t like it when it’s windy or raining. Of course, keeping up with 6 dogs on a walk that includes lots of people and dogs (some balanced, some not), high traffic and loud noises, isn’t always a piece of cake. It could, should and will be, but it takes a lot of practice and concentration. Before Alfie got here my mom didn’t have any trouble at all on the walks. But when they added a large, clumsy and alert puppy like him, things have gotten a little more complicated… Like all of us, Alfie has a role to play when out with his pack. He’s supposed to guard and protect us. What all of us need to feel though, is trust in mom. She makes the calls and keeps us safe. She just needs to get that through to all of us. Alfie and Lego are the last ones to learn this. The way to get there is by spending time alone with them, building a special and unique bond with each one, and when that’s done, add them to the pack and go easy in the beginning. Their reward will be a smooth and pleasant walk without interruptions.
The goal is not only to achieve balance within the pack because that’s already been done once. The real goal is to keep it, and that’s the hard part – but also the most rewarding! You can already tell that Alfie will grow up to be this noble, elegant, confident and relaxed dog. All the raw material is there, my folks just have to preserve it. I have no doubt in my mind that the pack will go back to its original balance before we know it.