Saturday, April 28, 2012


When it comes to training my dogs, I am not an expert, but I know a few things thanks to professional dog-trainer-friends and Caesar Milan. And the fact that regardless of the dog make up of my little household, I'm the leader of the pack.

In the first 24 hours of Tuck's arrival into my home, he made one thing clear: he is alpha-dog. This was reinforced by an apocolyptic fight between him and Skye on Day 1 that resulted in a large bite mark on my forearm because I decided to manually separate them. This never ends well for me.

After the fight, Tuck thought he was cock of the walk, and if you haven't heard that term, basically he thought he was shiznit. He exhibited his newfound arrogance by refusing to allow Skye in my bedroom.

This was the night he learned that he might be alpha-dog, but I am queen.

Now our arguments have moved onto other topics like shoe- and anything-hard-plastic-chewing. Oh, and that we may rise at 6:30 every other morning, but SATURDAYS ARE AN EXCEPTION. But since we were up, we walked and I wore his ass out, which is just satisfying to see his lumbering self tired. He's like a toddler you wear down for nap/bedtime. And then when they're sleeping, all is peaceful.

In subtle ways, his splash into our realm has changed Skye's and my life a little bit. The dogfood bowl is kept up since that's a fight. We walk a mile EVERY morning. My work days are a tad shorter and I work a little more from home. I say "Tuck! No!" what feels like 50 million times a day. I fill the water bowl more frequently. I bought two kiddie pools instead of one. I photograph two dogs instead of one. I make an extra potty break happen in the middle of the night. 

And then in other ways, we're completely the same. I tell Skye she has to "stay home" and that I love her and I'll see her soon before I leave for work. And I tell Tuck that too. In what is a huge relief, we still road trip together, and in peace. I spend most of my home time sitting outside, as I am now, except I have one shepherd laying next to me and another farther off chewing on a water bottle (guess who that is.)

Tuck's training is coming along splendidly, and I'm sure he'll end up teaching me as much as Skye has, in his own way. He's a willing, eager student, intent on watching my near every move and trying to anticipate what I want him to do next. My fault will be running out of things to teach him.

Tonight when we finished walking - the physical part of our exercise regiment - we moved easily into the mental aspect with what are currently simple commands, like sit.

Skye is never far and follows the orders at a distance, and then runs in during praise time.

Can you see why I feel doted upon?

And then after training (after he's fulfilled a request the first time he's asked, whether it take 10 minutes or 30) we sit and enjoy dinner, the Texas spring wind, and Tuck chews on anything he can find, while Skye lays down beside me.

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