Friday is upon us yet again and I'll be heading to the beach with the hounds. I love walking the dogs at the beach; I would love it more if they were allowed off leash but there is only one spot here in the OC that allows that. And if I'm not up for a 1/2 hour drive to get there in freeway traffic then it is a leash beach. I've adapted. My dogs love walking at the beach, mostly my poodles but Jessie loves to hang her little arms in the wading pools to see what she can fish out; nothing so far.

I wanted to discuss leadership today; its a big term thrown around lately so I wanted to give my two cents worth. What does leadership mean? Leadership: an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction. A true leader is fair, understanding, confident and kind. Yes there are leaders who should not be leaders both in the human and animal world. Those who allow their leadership to inflate their ego giving them an almighty sense; and these are the leaders who will fail in the end.

As a leader I take my job seriously; being a canine leader is a big responsibility. And if you don't take your job seriously and allow your dog to step up into the position; that is where the problems start. I do not believe as some do that our dogs must always be behind us, never allowed to walk out in front or exit a door before us. If you watch a pack of wolves you will see that the Alpah wolf is not always out front and is often in the middle of the pack in travels. But he/she is the one guiding the pack; they will go where the leader goes.

All dogs are different and it is that difference that determines how much guidance and control is needed. Some dogs slip into their follower roles easily, never baulking never challenging. And then there are the dogs who will challenge you at every turn. Even the most challenging dogs can assume a follower position by simply implementing house rules which are enforced.

Don't allow your dogs to be the ones to greet visitors first. Don't allow excessive barking; allow some alert barking and let them know that you will take it from there. You own the best spots in the house, couch, bed etc. They are only allowed on if you say so. Never allow food grabbing, all dogs wait politely before given their meal etc.

Yesterday I was sitting at the side of the house watching my daughter plant her flower box. There are no comfy beds at the side of the house as it is reserved for making gardening messes. All three dogs lay by my side in the dirt on the concrete. Where the leader goes, they will follow. I love dogs, especially my dogs.

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