Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pack leaders and human misery

I have been enjoying watching episodes of the dog whisperer with my dogs. The show basically has one theme and that is in order for dogs to be well adjusted they need a pack leader. The leader is not a tyrant merely one that is consistent and worthy of respect. Without a pack leader, the dogs in the house set up their own rules, which are almost always disastrous. These dogs are aggressive, destructive, bolt at the doors and rush at strangers or other dogs. Some dogs even throw themselves on the floor and jerk their legs as if having a fit if they are not paid attention to. Many of Ceasar's clients are literal slaves to their furry house partners!

A dog with a pack leader is well adjusted, calm and able to interact with other dogs and other people. In other words, a good pet! Dogs have a complex system of social interaction and once they have a pack leader, they fit in very well. They then know what is expected of them and how to behave.

I have known many families who have no pack leader. The children watch videos and need to be coaxed to do something with the family. The parents barely speak to each other and the entire family is busily pursuing their own interests. Families such as these do not even gather to eat together, they snack and run. They do little, if anything 'together' and there is no negotiation. Like neurotic dogs, if they don't get their own way, the children whine (Bark) or misbehave until the parents capitulate. Like the badly adjusted mutts featured on Ceasar Milan's entertaining shows, the children have no clear leader and act out of fear, aggression and insecurity.

In any social group, we as humans need a pack leader. It is someone whom we respect and whose authority we defer to. It is someone who 'sets the tone'. In a family this is crucial as young children are learning how to behave around other children and adults. They learn their socialization skills mainly through their parents.

Ceasar Milan should expand his practice to include parents!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bubba replies

I am Bubba and for the past 6 years have lived with Karine and Cyril. Unlike most dogs, I am an intellectual and enjoy working. I work as a volunteer visiting Alzhiemers patients. It is very rewarding but exhausting work. Most of my patients have suffered many losses in their lives and I offer a warm touch and a few kisses. I am beloved where I work and some folks even sing songs to me. This is what I call a welcome!

Sophie moved in about a year ago. She is obsessed with food. Honestly, I just sit back and shake my head. I know my meal will come, and sometimes I have brunch instead of breakfast. Sophie is always trying to cuddle with me and within a week of moving in, tried to steal my bed.

I now volunteer twice a week for about an hour at a time. I would do it daily if I had a choice, but my driver has limited me to twice a week. My driver, is also my mom Karine.

While I am pretty wise, there are a few things about humans that elude me. The first is, what is their fascination with computers? The sun is shining, the snow is almost gone, and my mom is here typing my thoughts. I also want to know why I am not taken everywhere when my mom or dad use the car. I love cars! I wanted to be a race car driver but I cant reach the pedals. My last question about why cant they all get along. I watch the news at times with my mother and I am dismayed at the number of wars and conflicts. Dogs just dont do that. We say hello to all the other dogs. While I have heard of some doggie psychos who attack other smaller dogs in parks, I am pretty convinced that this condition was brought about by their environment, ie humans and not a genetic condition. If we dogs ran the world, there would be treats for all, and fights for none.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sophie the Finder

My name is Sophie and for many years I just survived. I did not really have a lot of joy in my life until I was adopted over a year ago by Cyril and Karine. I share my home with Bubba, the therapy and wonder dog. Sometimes it is really a pain sharing space with super dog. To show him who is boss I will sometimes put my nose on his back..just so he knows or give him a little slap when he comes back from work in a coat. Oh yes, Bubba the super dog works.

As for me, besides adoring my meals and a warm loving home, I have discovered a hidden talent that my mother finds charming. I can find things! Yesterday I found a silver ring while on a walk..but today I found a rabbit. I used to chase them but now I just pointed it out to my mom. It was nearly dark but I could see him... a frisky little brown thing that would make for a great chase. Somewhere in my brain my hunting background was awakened and on that darkened suburban street, I felt like Sophie the huntress. Yes I was Diana with her bow...only I was on a leash. I pointed out the rabbit and my mom was thrilled.

She came home and announced to my dad that I find things. I smiled smugly at the 'super dog' who was being warmed up by a blanket. I find things...yes you may work and win accolades and yes your wardrobe is a lot bigger than mine...but I find things!

Don't get me wrong, I love Bubba, but I want him to know I am more than just a pretty orange face!