There’s a social order in my pack – between the two dogs, Comet and Dexter, and each with me. Comet receives his indoctrination from me, on walks, relaxing and at feeding time. I have been more diligent in expressing my Alpha status from the outset with him. (Dexter is walked primarily by me, but was raised when all our adult children were home, so he really thinks home is a collective). By the end of our first week together, Comet figured out that Dexter didn’t really seem to be challenged by Comet taking a lead on walks. On one occasion as we passed another dog out on his walk, Dexter, as was his routine, made a whimper sound as he wanted to go greet the dog. And this was quickly and curtly dismissed by Comet! You are on a march, soldier!
While Dexter’s priorities on a walk involve sniffing the bushes, telephone poles, mailbox poles and scratching at a couple fresh gopher burrows, Comet gets down to business. And he has to have the last pee on a particular bush or tree. And he has cued Dexter that a walk is a chance for the whole pack to get needed exercise. But they are both now looking at me for direction.
At home, Dexter is much more the teacher. He showed Comet how to use the doggie door, where and how to obtain a dog biscuit and such. He schooled Comet on how NOT to distract me when I was getting prepared for their walk. However, we all learned that Comet has some tendencies that needed to be unlearned. A dog eyeballing the kitchen counter, snacking on a loaf of bread, enjoying the recliner, or climbing into a lap js not acceptable. (I think Dexter is enjoying his ‘new buddy’ getting a little disciplining.)
As we embark on a new year, it is good to have a pack to lead. For in a pack, you have to lead, or follow. And mark your territory. While not civilly acceptable (though some homeless folks have been known to do so) to mark your territory, I am glad I pack several bags on a walk to help the dogs be responsible.