Have you ever been part of an organization whose leadership was weak or non-existent…. members did what they wanted…no one followed the rules…..chaos became the norm and pretty soon the organization fell apart?
Or, have you ever had a job in which the employer wasn’t around……your fellow employees came late to work and left early?And, while they were there, they talked on the phone the whole time or played on the computer…..thus, not much work got done?
For most people, these images conjure up uncomfortable feelings because a lack of leadership, whether it’s with an organization or an employer, means that no one is in charge, no one makes the hard decisions, no one tells us what we’re suppose to be doing in order to be successful.
Sometimes when a leader is not present in the group, one or more people will assume the responsibilities… each with a different idea of how things should be run, each with their own agenda. With this sort of imbalance, members/employees are unhappy and dissatisfied….chaos usually erupts.
Now, let’s make the jump to our pet families. Our furry critters depend on us for leadership, yes even our cats. They look to us for food, water, love and affection….they also want us to be in charge…set the rules and expect that they will abide by them. They need us to be strong, consistent and loving when enforcing the rules of the family. In the absence of strong leadership from us, our pets will try to take over and impose their own rules. This is never a good idea.
I have talked to pets whose humans are not around very much….the animals are left to their own devices to figure out what is appropriate behavior. Because our pets aren’t equipped to make these sorts of decisions, bad behaviors can develop…for example…a young dog who is left alone for long periods of time without guidance or leadership might think that cupboard surfing and eating a cake that was meant for a birthday party, is an okay thing to do. A cat (Miss independent) might think it’s okay for her to bully her sisters to the point where they’re afraid to use their litter boxes. Or, a horse in the corral might decide that it’s a good idea to bite and push the younger horses around. Without strong human leadership, our animal families descend into chaos. Besides developing bad behaviors, they can become depressed, unhappy and may even go on to have some physical ailments.
In order to prevent this from happening, we need to set rules and be consistent with them…..”I don’t want you to sleep on my bed, you will sleep in your kennel on the floor.” Or, “it’s not okay to bite the younger horses and push them around, when you do that, you will have to go back inside your pen in the barn.” These rules are not cruel or unrealistic. Rather, they are important, sensible guidelines that pets will thank us for.
Of course there are pets that walk into our lives and decide they want to be in charge…..they are usually strong-minded animals who want to do what they want to do. It’s even more important that we, as their humans, take them firmly in hand and let them know the way things are. Handling these animals can be very difficult, but, it’s important not to give up and let them have their way. We must remain consistent and lovingly firm with them.
Before I end a conversation with an animal, I always tell them that I will pass on to their people everything they told me…..I will let their mamas/daddies know that they want more food, more walks, more treats, etc. But I always tell the pets I’m talking to that their humans are in charge and will be the ones to decide what happens. So if mama decides that “Skippy” is getting enough treats, then that’s the way it is.
We love our pets…we make sure they have enough food, water, exercise, love and affection. We also need to lead them to a happy, healthy life.
Blessings to you and your furry friends,