Being the only female in the pack, it appears LW is learning her role well and is busy getting the boys in line. By her apparent way of reasoning, someone has to do it and the boys are just happy to be boys, while someone has to take charge and impose martial er, uh, puppy law. With this in mind, it is now clear LW is operating under the “I know best” set of rules; meaning that when she gets corrected for jumping on the sofa (or anything else for that matter) she looks directly at you as if to say “Me? Surely you don’t mean me! You must be referring to the other two!” Glancing around, I have to laugh as the other two are lying on their beds being so well-behaved. In addition, she has become quite inquisitive of other dogs, especially while at the bimonthly puppy meetings. This leads to a bit of frustration while trying to work on various obedience commands. Again, she looks around as if trying to determine for whom the command is actually being issued. What has become most apparent lately is that she has become a bit of a tyrant. I laugh to myself as I picture her (wearing a sideways ball cap and having squinty eyes) lurking in a dark corner of the hallway next to the lunch room entrance, ready to trip other dogs and demand their lunch money. Yes, LW with all of her labby enthusiasm, has become a dog bully!
Last week presented a unique opportunity to watch an 8 month old German Shepherd puppy for a fellow raiser (we’ll call her “Miss T”). Historically, I haven’t been a huge fan of this “always on guard 4-legged, security system in a fur suit” species; I tend to prefer the “lets go for a run through the woods, catch a ball a 1000 times over, or go for a jump in the bay” type of dog. By comparison, Labs are the type of dog who show up at the beach with the beer and the volleyball net. In contrast, Shepherds arrive with the sunscreen and swimmies.
Upon arrival for her stay, Miss T was instantly greeted by a low “welcome to our pack, let me introduce myself, I’m Moufassa” growl from Orlando, a “happy to see you” wag from Murphy and a “stream train, flip you over on your back, sucker punch from LW.” After the introductions it seemed appropriate to place some distance between them. This would give all time to acclimate to their new “temporary” order in this impromptu pack. This was done by placing a baby gate between rooms and leaving the sliding door slightly ajar, just enough for a little “nose- to-nose” sniffing. While Miss T. opted to stay in the safety of the kitchen; LW discovered she could just push the slider over with her nose and scale the gate. In an instant, Miss T was pinned in the corner. With that, the bell rang (ding, ding end of round one) and these furry pugilists were returned to their neutral corners.
By day two, it appeared the tide had changed! Miss T, being a quick learner went on the offensive by jumping the gate and landing head log into the ensuing three dog circus. Rules appeared to quickly establish themselves…LW grabbing T’s collar appeared to be laying the ground rules for the new pack member…“see the couch?” “Stay off it, it’s mine!” “Oh, and that bone over there is mine too!” “And, forget about the squeaky dinosaur, yes….also mine!” Now the rules were established and pack order determined it was time for a trip to the park and the infamous 3 mile walk our pack gets each morning. This was where I got the shock of my life! From the moment I picked up Miss T’s leash, she forged proudly ahead, shoulders straight, head held high, walking at a brisk but steady pace. It was as if she’d completed her “formal” training and was already a dog guide! I soon discovered there was chemistry with this proudly parading girl. In that instant, my whole outlook on Shepherds changed. After the walk and upon our arrival home Miss T wanted to have a nap. LW, of course, had other plans, so out into the back yard they go, frolicking to and fro limbs flying in a blur. As the wrestling match began, I suddenly found myself rooting for the new pack member. Hmmm…what’s with that?