Movements of the pack

Shifting in my chair sends Elsa to her feet.  She's ready, she's always ready.  She is a girl on a mission; she knows the routine and follows it like drill sergeant.  Luke also has an eye on things; albeit at a much more mellow pace now.  He was just like Elsa; I couldn't make a move without him jumping to his feet.  I think that he follows me too much for a 12.5 year old; he makes me feel guilty every time that I do have to move.  But Elsa can handle the up and down, she's got more than enough energy.   But both move when the pack moves.

Many people over the years have complained to me that their dog constantly follows them.  They act like it is a clingy thing and are not fans.  Clingy maybe, if it has become an issue but it is typically a pack behavior.  Depending on the dog, it can become a problem behavior but the normal following is very pack related.  I love it, where I go my dogs go.  Where I'm hanging they hang and if I'm doing something they want to come along.   It is only as my dogs age that it starts to bother me and it is not that I don't like it; I don't like to see them struggling to get up and down as I move around the house.  But there comes a time when they stop following; first it slows and then they sleep so soundly that they don't even realize that you have moved.  For now I enjoy the following and try to sneak away quietly if Luke has fallen asleep somewhere, so as not to wake him with every move.

Our dogs are watching, always watching us.  As I often write, it is this watching that should create a sense of  watching how we react to things.  But each watches differently.  As far as movement of the pack is concerned they are all watching but in their own way.  Luke has always been a foot watcher.  He not only wanted to know when you were moving but exactly which direction you were going in as well.  Elsa is a fine tuned movement detector; I cannot make a move with any part of my body without her jumping to her feet.  Once on her feet she will watch and fly into action if required to do so.  If there is something important following to do, like feeding time or walk time then she likes to move ahead of me; believing that this will help to guide me to my appropriate destination.

The natural following behavior in dogs will vary with each individual.  Some dogs are not big followers and only move with the pack if the pack is doing something big like going for a walk.  They are fine viewing from afar and don't have the need for closeness.  Many dogs need to be in the same room with you; these have always been my dogs.  Not so much Jessie but most definitely all of my poodles.  Then there are the ones who need to be by your side; Luke and Elsa fit into this category.  They aren't crazy cling-ons with the need to be touching but they most definitely want to be near.

There is a fine line between needing to be close and a separation issue.  If your dog just simply enjoys being by your side, great.  If they must be or they come unglued; not so great.  Anxiety is a horrible thing for anyone.  To live with it as a constant in your life is not a good way to live.  That goes for us and our dogs.  Our dogs need to learn to be okay without always being by our side.  We need to offer them a life of being a "well adjusted dog."  If your dog has separation issues that revolve around you then you need to address them immediately.

Typical pack behavior of following the leader is a natural one.  I enjoy it.  It keeps us close without being on top of each other.  We pretty much know where we all are at all times of the day. But if I happen to go out without them, that is fine too.  I try to keep Elsa on her toes by switching our up our routine; otherwise she becomes a bit of a control freak.  You should be the leader and your dogs should follow you; because you are their leader.  Our dogs need guidance, they need training and they most definitely need a leader.  If you are not the leader then who is the leader of your pack?