Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the fight for Alpha!

Between the hubbie and I, there's really no question of who 'wears the pants' around here - the good fellow let me win that particular wrestling match a long time before he asked me to be his wife!

Big kid and both doggies have happily filed into rank behind Daddy, but our littlest hasn't quite gotten the message yet. He's making it a point to challenge Momma at every juncture - and he makes no bones about it!

Just today he had a bit of a strop when Mommy's bowl of yoghurt and cereal was 'all done', standing up indignantly beside me on the couch his little feet started to trample angrily, when I wouldn't relinquish the bowl and spoon for him to play in. After setting the bowl out of arms reach, I tried to temper the storm and leaned in for a kiss. The little thug gave me a kiss alright - a Glasgow kiss - smack dab on the nose!

Between themselves the toddlers are tousling more and more for third rank - baby just won't let up on big bro. He's constantly dogging him, and pulling his T-shirt, or muscling in on our eldest's game and spoiling his fun. On the whole, he's not intentionally trying to rain on big bro's parade, but trying to convince our 2 year old that he should be flattered at all this hero worship and attention is nigh on impossible.

Big brother, who is barely more than a babe himself, has an accelerated role, with the little one growing up fast behind him, and his responsibility is great for one so young. I try to get him to nurture, and love baby bro, in spite of baby's tendency to shove, and bite, and hit. And for the most part our eldest is forgiving, and will walk away from our naughty nipper when he's got the devil inside him.

But of late, baby's gotten too big for his boots, and big kid has started to push back. He stands his ground more, less willing to relinquish his toy to the terror tot who wants everything that big bro has. I can't say I blame my two year old (in fact I'm glad he's asserting himself) and yet I continue to discipline him and not my youngest.

I definitely intervene and distract baby, but he's still too young for 'Time out'. So heartbreakingly, big kid is already learning that the world is not a fair place - he gets into trouble for hitting back, and baby appears to get off scott free! But not quite...  and despite my reticence to unleash 'Time out' on his hellacious hiney, the clever mite seems to have connected the dots that he ends up confined in the horse bouncer if he plagues his big brother too much....

As if there isn't enough civil warring between our toddler troops, there's trouble a brewing in the base 'K9' ranks. Our senior dog, only four years old, decided who her boss was from the get-go. Her love of Momma hasn't let up since I walked her out of the pound she was raised in. It took some time for her to warm to Papa, and though she readily heels for him, and heeds his commands, she'll always be a Mommy's girl. Her gentleness and easy respect and care around the bairns wins her Top Dog prize.

She's never had to play the 'bitch' to establish her rightful position as first place hound -at least until the pesky pup showed up. Unfortunately now our lady is having to defend her pole position every day.

Having much less time to 'parent' the new pup, we put our mature dog to task, hoping  she would whip him into shape for us. And up until recently, she's been doing too good a job of cutting pup down to size - he wears a bump on his skull to prove it.

I sometimes worry about their doggy dramas. Most of the time they play incredibly well together, but our lady likes to mount her buddies - not very lady like I know- and the guttural barks that accompany the shag-orama are enough to make a porn star blush! I can't help feeling a little like a pimp, putting puppy to 'play' with such a dominatrix doggy! Ah well, nature can be cruel, and I try not to interfere too much - after all, pup was only brought into the equation to keep our lonesome doggy 'entertained' since all our attention is
now maxed out on toddlers.
Puppy (white dog) getting the better of our lady (red dog).

Even though we've tried hard to stay out of it, at times we've scolded our bigger dog for 'too' rough play, taking pity on pup, but now he's reaching a comparable size, I'm feeling the need to help her out a bit.

Their feisty play reaches a nasty climax daily, usually ending in pup being pinned by the throat. But still pup continues to challenge her, and beating him down looks to be more valiant a victory each time they clash. It's time the little upstart got a bit of a handicap in his quest for Alpha-dom. Our far reaching rover may submit to his lady leader a little easier with no balls in his court!

Pushy pup also dares to be a little defiant around Momma and Daddy - especially when there's love in the offing. He vies diligently for the same attentions that lady receives, and trying to satiate a second pegging, stroke starved hound dog is a never ending challenge. But, I try so hard to make sure the endless pool of Mommy love extends down to pup, as I've always thought that the key to obedience and loyalty in both kids and dogs alike is to lavish them in love and hugs. In all our doggy dealings, we reinforce our first dog's Alpha status; she's fed first, petted first, and always released first. Pup knows where he stands in the pecking order and acquiesces on most every issue - but there's an inherent rebel lurking beneath his demureness.

Getting the doggies to know their rightful place - beneath the tots - is really important for me, and because of their comparable heights, it's a little harder for the kids to pull rank, especially with pup who can be clumsy and unaware of the kids when he's playing, and, despite our reprimands - and much to the kids' frustration - delights in licking their mucky chops. Both boys love to pet and 'walk doggies', and a Mommy approved mutual respect is building between K9s and kids. Our eldest boy does a good job at ordering the pooches around -  imitating Mommy and Daddy's gruff commands - and I've no doubt that the littlest will soon come in to his own,  especially as he has no problem asserting himself with the 'leaders' of our pack.

The fight for Alpha is still an open battlefield - and with another female competitor on her way to the front line - the natural order of things is sure to get a good shaking up. I have a feeling baby (and possibly Momma) is in for a rude awakening!

No comments:

Post a Comment