Conscious Pack Leadership with Mary Ellen Walsh
“Why is my dog listening to you? You’ve just walked in my door and she is already behaving better.”
"She's not jumping on you and grabbing your clothes? How come?"
Bewildered dog owners ask me these questions on a daily basis. With mouth and eyes wide open, they act as if they have just witnessed "something magical, something extraordinary" between their dog and me. Wanting to keep "the magic" going a moment more, I tease a bit with the reply "I don't know but I do know I can teach you. I am certain that I can teach you how to "think like your dog" because dogs taught me."
Dogs have held a special place in my heart since I was a little child. Learning about them, their breeds, their individual habits fascinated me. Little did I know then that living and sharing my life with dogs would become a lifelong passion and career. However, there would be a lot to learn about myself before I could learn about dogs.
A German Shepherd Named King, and the Beginning of a Lifelong Relationship with Dogs
I was not a patient little girl. Nothing could ever happen fast enough. Impatience and determination (aka stubbornness), were two of my childhood traits. Thankfully, a love of dogs was deeply infused in my soul. As a toddler, I have a vivid memory of meeting my first dog. As I looked into his eyes, I squealed a high pitched scream of joy. My father, on the other hand, tripped over his feet to get to me. My new found friend was a German Shepherd named King. He was massive! My dad must have thought that I would be devoured. Thankfully, King was a gentle soul who tolerated me more than he probably should have. King and I became fast friends.
As I grew, our friendship grew. King would follow behind me wherever I would go. There were no leash laws at that time, so we were free souls. Because of King's easy manner and devotion to me, I simply had no fear. I was the leader; he was the follower. King's devotion and acceptance, empowered me to believe in my authority and empowerment which was a very big deal to this little girl. I acted in-charge and along with King the neighborhood dogs accepted my leadership.
Lessons from my Father - the Start of Conscious Pack Leadership
However, it was my father's love, patience and guidance, that taught me that dogs would not listen to a little girl who made demands and refused to give in. My education in understanding dog behavior was about to begin. Happily, my dad was eager to share his knowledge, wisdom, and love of animals with me.
He taught me his golden rules of living with and loving animals. These rules were indeed "golden" to my dad; respect for all living creatures was at the heart of all of my dad's deeds.
He taught me that dogs are vulnerable, they cannot defend themselves, that it is our responsibility to invest the time in a dog's training and well-being.
The 6 Golden Rules of Conscious Pack Leadership
Dad taught me 6 Golden Rules of living and working with dogs. These rules read like the commandments to me, and are the same ones I share with my clients today.
- Treat your dog the way you would like to be treated
- Never lie to your dog (or try to trick the dog)
- Never ridicule your dog (never point your finger at the dog and laugh at her; dogs are sensitive and feel embarrassed)
- Always praise and reward your dog's efforts
- Keep your teaching fun (have a smile and thoughts of successful training/good intentions)
- Learn to be "in-the quiet" with the dogs or "let sleeping dogs lie"
Treating the dog the way I would like to be treated became my mantra and the basis for my "Think Like Your Dog" teaching method. Lessons I learned as a little child from my dad became my anthem as a dog advocate.
Respect, Patience and Power - the Conscious Pack Leadership Trifecta
What I came to realize as I grew was that dad's belief in respect, patience and the power of love would become principles that would guide me through my life. A respect for and a connection with all living creatures had been deeply woven into the fabric of my being.
When I married and had children, I realized that I did not "own" these children. They were their own little beings who lives had been entrusted to me to love, to nurture and to educate and to love enough to say "no" when necessary. I learned that the definition of "discipline" means "to teach". My lessons learned about teaching dogs were easily adaptable to young children. Boundaries and guidelines were needed to teach children just as they were required with the dogs. Dad's philosophies reached across my entire world.
A Career Working with Dogs
While raising my family and with their help, I also bred American Kennel Club championship Labrador retrievers. As well as obtaining their AKC titles, many of the pups from my litters became guide dogs for the blind, search and rescue dogs and much loved family pets. My breeding program provided much joy for me, my family and the people who lived with those puppies. For over twenty-five years, I instructed people on the proper care and feeding of Labradors.
Curiously, I began to get phone calls from strangers who had dogs of other breeds asking for help with training. My Labrador owners were recommending me to their friends who were experiencing difficulty with their dogs. The local veterinarians also were happy to have my unique teaching method available to their clients.
There it was; the realization that there is a great need for education amongst dog owners. People are hungry for knowledge about why their dogs do what they do. It was then twelve years ago that The Grateful Dog and Conscious Pack Leadership methodology was born. Over those twelve years I have been privileged to work with many wonderful dogs and their families proving that we humans can learn to think like our dogs and build successful, fulfilling relationships together.
Bring My Principles Home to Your Own Pack
I hope that the Conscious Pack Leadership methods will help you experience the joy of living with a dog that is a true companion. A dog who is trustworthy, who keeps all four feet on the ground, who is well balanced and makes your heart leap with joy when you look into those beautiful eyes.
Download my special eBook on the Three Principles of Conscious Pack Leadership here. It’s a free download, and will give you immediate access to the decades of insight I’ve learned about how to create a new and lasting relationship with your dog.
In the Three Principles of Conscious Pack Leadership eBook, you’ll learn
- The secret to building a rewarding relationship with your dog. This secret, once learned, will change the way you interact with dogs from this day forward. You will never be the same!
- A dog’s body language and his non-verbal cues. Your ability to think like your dog by knowing his language will save you thousands of dollars in dog training, and I’ve laid it all out in this free eBook.
- How to recognize the feelings of fear, anger, joy, relaxation and acceptance in your dog. Your dog has some of the same types of feelings that humans do, and he’s sharing those feelings with you all the time!
- How to establish yourself as Pack Leader without resorting to yelling, hitting, or any other aggressive behaviors or “training paraphernalia” like choke collars or shock collars. In my Conscious Pack Leadership method, all “old school” aggressive dog training tactics are put where they belong… in the trash.
- My patented 4-Step Conscious Pack Leadership Method. You won’t find this teaching anywhere else, and you’ll never look back once you master it!
- much, much more.This eBook represents 50+ years of wisdom I’ve gained from living, working and building friendships with dogs, and is available for immediate download now.
I have poured my heart and soul into these teachings, I hope you love them! Order it now for immediate download.
Mary Ellen Walsh