The pack leader


  • Humour Me
  • Tuesday, 10 Dec 2013

Cesar Millan's latest show, "Cesar Millan

Humans tend to ignore their intuition as they are so conditioned to think with their minds instead of following their hearts.

ONE of my favourite TV programs is The Dog Whisperer, on the National Geographic Channel. It’s a reality show which documents dog behaviour expert Cesar Milan’s work in helping dog owners to rehabilitate their problematic dogs. During the period, Milan also trains dog owners to become the pack leader.

Establishing oneself as a pack leader is crucial because dogs are inherently social pack animals. According to a dog’s rule, if you are its owner, you are a member of the same pack. What we see as a family, they see as a pack. As a  pack animal, it is also in a dog’s nature to submit to those who are dominant and dominate those who are submissive.

Milan emphasises the importance of maintaining calm and assertive energy when handling a dog. If you are a calm and assertive pack leader, you will have a balanced dog. But if you are not in a constant calm state of mind or unable to maintain assertiveness, your dog will end up dominating you.

This is something a lot of dog owners are unaware of. Because, as humans, we operate based on different rules. For example, we identify one another according to names and faces, not energy. It is common for people to look up to those who are wealthy and of a certain social class. When it comes to choosing our leaders, we do it based on their political aspiration, affiliation or promises. In fact in many organisations the leaders are not appointed based on merit.

One thing I learned from Milan is that energy isn’t something I can fake. The vibes I send out corresponds with how I feel inside.

This takes me back to a time when I was selling unit trust . My upline (business leader), liked to say, “fake it till you make it. According to her, in order to be successful, we need to look the part. What she meant was I need to drive a big car and wear branded clothing items. By doing this, she said, I would attract a lot of clients and potential business partners.”

In human terms, this could be possible but may not necessarily last. Sooner or later those facades may crumble because leadership comes from within. In retrospect, I figured, no amount of expensive clothes or branded shoes can camouflage how one feels inside. Come to think of it when I meet someone new it’s always the personality that attracts me. Not the physical appearance.

I think pack animals like dogs get it right. They choose their leaders based on their energy. If a dog in a pack displays a sign of weakness like over-excitement or aggression, one of the members would correct it. And they do it immediately. Dogs do not recognise gray areas and see weaker energy as a breakdown in leadership hierarchy and as a sign to takeover. To dogs this is basic instinct.

Humans however tend to ignore their intuition as they are so conditioned to think with their minds instead of following their hearts. At least, that’s how I was. When my son was three, he wanted to go to school. After checking out a few schools, I settled on the last one.

I saw the first warning sign when the principal introduced me to my son’s future teacher. She was rather uninvolved . But I ignored the little voice in my head. My excuse, the teacher was probably tired.

Then every time I picked up my son, the teacher would have something to complain about. I also began noticing that the playground was always empty. The kids would be sitting quietly inside the living area while waiting for their parents, instead of playing and running around like most kids that age would.

Soon, my son started saying that he wasn’t enjoying school as he’s not allowed to play at playschool and was always getting scolded. “Teacher always say, eeeee gerrrrramnya,” he told me several times.

I pulled him out of his playschool when he started display signs of distress. In the morning, he’d cry, every time we reach the playground which was near his school. Some days he’d refuse to get out of the car. Later, I found out that the teacher had actually slapped him for not sitting still during class!

I had ignored all warning signs, at the expense of my own son. Guess, if I were a dog I would have probably sensed it from the beginning. I would have probably been able to tell that the teacher did not have the “right energy,” let alone be a pack a leader, in this case, of a group of rambunctious kids.

A few years later I discovered that the school was closed down after many complaints from parents. The playschool incident has taught me a valuable lesson; to let my intuition guide me.

The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.

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