"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

Every Dog Needs A Job.


I know it is stating the obvious but, dogs are pack animals.

Every dog has an inbuilt desire to see it’s pack survive. To that end every dog in a pack contributes whatever skills it has to ensure the packs survival.

In our pack Zed has taken on the role of warning the pack if strangers approach. If they get too close he is prepared to put his small body on the line and attack, no matter how big the intruder may be. Honey backs him up if his barks rise about the usual ‘there’s someone out there and I’m not sure who they are’ pitch. Honey will make the required noise but it is not in her nature to fight, she leaves the front line defending to Zed.

Honey’s job is to mother us all and make sure that we have clean eyes and ears (if I don’t wake up early enough in the morning my ears get a good going over). She want to be sure that we all get enough sleep and she will lead us by the hand in the direction of the bedroom if she thinks we have been up too late watching movies! She worries a lot about the welfare of the various members of our pack and if one is missing for any length of time she patrols the house and the yard looking for them.

The most important job in any pack is pack leader, but just as in the human world, not all dogs are emotionally equipped to lead. All dogs know that every pack MUST have a leader and if you as the human do not assume that role your dog will step up and assume that job. This can cause your dog a great deal of stress as he/she is probably not equiped for the job. Her behaviour and her health will suffer.

You must exhibit the calm assertive energy that is required of a pack leader so that your dog does not have to do that job.

Obviously hunting is a very important activity for a pack and every member plays their part in finding food and water.

The leaders (often a mated pair) will decide where to hunt and the pack follows.

Every time you go for a walk you are fulfilling this ‘hunting’ need in your dog.

This is why your dog should never be in front of you on the walk; you are the pack leader, you decide where the pack goes.

Every pack will usually have a ‘sergeant at arms’, or a peace maker, if you will.

Every pack will have it’s disagreements as various pack members vie for status within the pack. The leader will not usually get involved (but one look from the leader will usually result in instant obedience!) In our pack Zed would like to be ‘the sheriff’. He know instinctively that unstable behaviour is a danger to the pack and on more than one occasion he has stepped up to deal with it. The dog across the road is badly behaved and Zed has tried to sort her out on a couple of occasions and it matters little to him that she is four times his size! Unfortunately, Zed also sees puppies and small children exhibiting the unstable, loud, erratic behaviour that can threaten the pack so he tries to deal with that.

He takes his job seriously.

My job is to let him know that I’ve got the situation under control and that, on this occasion, I don’t need his help.

Zed knows that small children and little old ladies are evil and must be watched at all times for any dangerous behaviour!

In our pack we go out hunting (going for a walk in human terms) and then we eat, because we have worked for our tucker*.

Every dog needs a job.

*Ausisie slang for food.

Photo credit


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