I recently adopted Ruby, a beautiful six-year-old red merle Aussie whose entire life, until now, has been spent having a succession of litters. So when I put a leash on her to take her for a trot around her new surroundings, my little rescue has some issues with taking it all in.
They say that dogs exhibit aggression due to fear or dominance issues. Sounds like the two biggest concerns that plague mankind as well! In an effort to assist her in adapting, and under the guidance of a dog-behavior specialist, I tried a variety of leashes. I tried a harness which latched around her midsection and a short leash to keep her close to me; a halter collar, which looped high around the top of her neck and over her snoot; a prong collar that simulates the mother dog biting her pup's necks to teach them respect.
All the while, I'm looking at her strugging unnecessarily while knowing the whole world is open to her. She is safe. There is a neighborhood of friends to be made and I will protect her from any threat. When she discovers this and learns to relax and to walk calmly beside me, we'll enjoy a lifetime of exploring all of the wonders, sights, and smells the world has to offer. And I was immediately reminded of myself. Until I learned to walk calmly beside the creator in complete trust, I had fear and dominance issues. I was in relationships that harnessed my heart in such a way that it caused me to pull away. I had gentle leaders that tried to guide me but I wasn't ready to be tamed. And I've walked through life getting pinched as I repeatedly chose to stray from the desired path.
I know I'll have relapses. I know Ruby may, too. But then I remember who I'm walking beside and it makes all the difference in the world. Hopefully, it will to Ruby as well in the years to come.