From the Editor

Follow the Leader

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As I read this month’s feature “Stress Travels Down the Lead” (page 28), I remembered one day when my Miniature Poodle, Jäger, was around 5 months old.

As we stood on the sidewalk, waiting to cross the street, a big construction truck approached. This was by far the largest and noisiest vehicle Jäger had encountered up to that point in his young life. As the truck rumbled past, he jumped, obviously startled.

Then something amazing happened.

Jäger looked up at my face, then looked at the truck, looked back to me, then again at the truck. I stood still, saying nothing, my body language nonchalant. After a few moments, he visibly relaxed. I could almost hear his doggie mind thinking, “Mom’s not worried about that big, loud thing, so I’m not worried either.”

It was incredible to realize how much my dog looks to me for leadership. Dogs are so attuned to their people that I could clearly communicate to him without saying a word or moving a muscle.

At 9 months old, Jäger’s pretty confident now, but whenever he encounters something new, he still looks at me to gauge my reaction. I always marvel at our silent communication, and feel blessed that I am able to experience the extraordinary bond that exists between humans and dogs.


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