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  • Scott Blenkiron

    November 11, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Here i will provide some comments regarding Leadership.

    Affection don’ts

    1. Soliciting affection – We (our immediate family) have followed this guideline from day one however there have been instances where people outside of our immediate family have not done so successfully thus tipping to entitlement. We always let the people know but can still be challenging from time to time.
    2. Undesired affection –  we have always been aware of this and told the children to stop when there is any signal of Kaia not wanting affection.
    3. 10 Second rule – We introduced this rule early on when reading the Leadership section for the first time. I was always concerned of having a dog with separation anxiety. There are certainly times when Kaia is not at all interested in affection. I use to offer affection to her when she would bring back the item while learning to play fetch. She would almost all the time pull away. I noticed throwing the item again was the reward she enjoyed.
    4. Actively submissive – we are paying particularly close attention to this one now! Odessa clearly understands while Lucius can forget in an instant. Hence the need for supervision!
    5. Kissing – We have been on top of this one as a family but i have found myself kissing her on rare occasion. I will ensure i correct myself in future.
    6. Hugging – Kaia has never really been hugged by any one. She does love to bury her head in your crotch but we have been shifting this as she would do it to strangers. I will squat down and invite her for a petting and she will lay the top of her head on my lap while i stroke her under the muzzle and neck area. This is kept to the 10 second rule. Is this OK or is it considered hugging?

    Affection do’s

    1. From the heart – we have always worked toward this and encouraged the children to have Kaia come to them and sit.
    2. Greetings – we used to ignore her with greetings as I was under the impression it helped limit separation anxiety. When I first read this we happily started greeting Kaia in a relaxed and calm but from the heart manner.
    3. Receiving kisses – We’re not big on having our face’s licked but have never corrected Kaia for this. Is licking a hand for example respect or soliciting?
    4. Tummy rub – Kaia does love a good belly rub from time to time and i feel most have been when called over but there may well have been some leaning toward being “actively submissive”.

    Play time

    From day one I had wanted her to play fetch so that she could get the exercise she needs. Kaia’s breeder taught us the way with two of the same toys. We still use a light line but she will leave any fetch toy on command.

    I later introduced tug after watching your video and being confident there was an appropriate way to play it. To this day Kaia has never won the toy and i certainly feel it fulfills some of her drive. because of her size and strength i am the only person to play this with her.

    We have kept our “own stash” from day one. although we do have one toy that is left down all the time but is not used for play. Should this be picked up too?

    Resting places

    Kaia has never been allowed on furniture or beds. When inside she had her crate to go to which is in the dining/kitchen area. There was one night when i turned around and Kaia was not in her crate. I asked Zamina if she let her out and she hadn’t. we looked around the house and could not find her anywhere. It was dark in the lounge room and she was curled up hiding her nose as if she new the rust markings would give her away. I gazed over the couch and had to second take to notice her there. She was promptly encouraged back to her crate. She ended up persisting for several weeks but seems to have got the message now.

    Food and chews

    1. Removing food – I have never felt removing food was a good idea. My parents would consistently tell me to do it so Kaia knew I was in control and so she wouldn’t be protective around the children. I am glad i never did it! We have always told the children to leave her alone when eating which she always does in her crate in peace. I feel Kaia completely trusts me with food as i have never given her any reason to be protective over it. She will generally always leave anything i ask her to which is seldom and only if i am concerned she will swallow something that may get lodged in her intestine.
    2. Clean up – i would say Kaia has shown resource guarding behaviour a few times. Once was with a visitor who didn’t know she had a bone and i didn’t even know she had a bone. The other was when Lucius would annoy her while chewing on something such as a stick she found in the garden. I now realise even more that these situations are where Kaia needs to feel confident that I or Zamina will do the discipline for her.
    3. Chews – We probably weren’t consistent enough with this until a few months back. Now we typically provide chews in her crate or outside when the children are not around. Old bones are picked up and disposed of when finished with within a couple of hours.
    4. Food rules – very seldom does Kaia have food items in the presence of other dogs. There is only one dog when this would happen and they are kept separated when being fed or given chews.

    Outside access

    We always try and lead and by following quite a predictable schedule we find this reasonably straight forward to manage. We have also found that consistent behaviour form us in certain circumstances has lead to Kaia knowing what is expected of her without being asked.


    I Feel we have done well for Kaia not to be “Entitled” to her basic needs. As far as the scale becoming unbalanced between “Provided” and “Unprovided” we feel this to be challenging. I gather that it will become clearer with time, experience and growing the relationship with Kaia.