The struggle to remain Alpha of the household



A few months ago I reported here we had gotten ourselves a dog. For me it had been years since I had a dog of my own and I remember as a young person it seemed far easier to raise a puppy.

Gunnar came to us when he was only a little more than two months old. A tiny little furball of a Yorkie, I was certain raising the little beast would not be nearly as difficult as the boxers and Boston Terrier I had as a kid.

Nor as challenging as the pug I owned when I was in my 20s who turned out to have mental problems due to inbreeding (when I say ‘problems’ I meant the dog was downright mean one minute, nice the next).

Gunnar has not been trouble, per say, but more of a force to be reckoned with in our home since his arrival.

As we were warned by others with Yorkies, the dogs tend to be small in stature, but they fully believe they are a big, tough dog who is large and in charge — that’s Gunnar.

He has already sized all of us up and has decided the kids are playthings — one is there to cuddle and to give him baths, the other is there to roughhouse with. Anita, he has decided, is in charge and is the only person in the household he truly seems to listen to on a regular basis.

Then there’s me. I’m regarded as a fellow dog, a pet lower on the food chain than him. He will listen to me when it suits him, otherwise I am simply there to throw his toys so he can chase them, to bring him food when he wants it and to take him outside when he has to go — since humans are so easily upset when he decides to use their floor as a toilet.

The latter, of course, entails me cleaning up his messes (and the occasional accident). Everything is game to this precocious pup. Laundry day is his chance to rush the pile of dirty clothes on the floor and take off with a sock or two. All of my shoes must now be kept in the closet because if they are left out, he will steal them and drag them away to be chewed upon.

Keeping him off the furniture has also become a test of wills because he waits until no one is looking and makes himself comfortable on the couch or sofa. When I order him down, he looks at me like: “Well, they let you on the furniture … why not me?”

Still, in all, he has been a fun and loving addition to the family. No matter how frustrated he makes me at times, he can almost always make me smile. And he’s finally hit the stage where after some good hard playtime, he’s ready to curl up on a lap and take a snooze.

But mark my words, no matter how cute, irresistible and persistent Gunnar is, there can only be one person running that household — Anita — so as long as he (and I) remember that, the peace will be maintained.

ggould@mihomepaper.com


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