Last week I met a rescue dog whose owner complained of its unruly behaviour. As she entered the house the dog jumped all over her barking defiantly as she attempted to push him away. She’d tried so hard to provide a good loving home but it simply wasn’t working.
During the consultation the dog continued to misbehave as the owner shook her head in frustration.
“He takes more notice of the cat than he does of me,” she confided.
I halted the interview and asked her to take the dog outside while I brought the cat into the hall. I then opened the front door for the dog to enter.
The dog immediately headed for the lounge but the cat blocked his path smacking him across the nose as he tried to advance. He made a beeline for the stairs but found the cat hissing in his face. The dining room was a no-go area, finally the dog wandered into the kitchen and lay down on his bed, the one place the cat did allow; There were no more tantrums. So, what was going on?
In order to settle within his new ‘pack’ this dog needed leadership. The cat was simply letting him know the rules and boundaries acceptable to her something his doting new owner had failed to do.