Tales of Teddy

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Teddy Loves… The Family Pack

A dog’s place in the family pack is important, especially if you have a potentially bossy mutt such as ours. Kevin-the-Trainer advised us early on not to let Teddy the Miniature Schnauzer think he’s in charge. He gave us some fairly fascinating house rules that aim to emphasise Teddy’s place in the pecking order: we don’t let Teddy’s head get higher than any of ours (for example, we don’t allow him to sit on the sofa while we sit on the floor), we don’t feed him before us (alphas eat first), we don’t let him greet strangers before we do (he must sit when we open the front door, ie. he does not vet who is let in or out), we don’t let him leave the house before we do (the humans can look after themselves). It’s a strategy that has worked so far. About the house, Teddy is a chilled out little character.
But if Teddy knows he’s not top dog, then who does he think is? In our family, it’s a subject of frequent debate. Is it my eldest son who tends to love him from afar (being aloof is a sign of doggy leadership)? Is it me, because I dish out his food (respect is due to the provider)? Is it my husband (the one he greets most ecstatically)? Or is it my fearless younger son, who plays with Teddy energetically but stands no nonsense?
I came across Dr Ian Dunbar’s thesis Connecting With Our Dogs. In light of this essay that touches on many points but focuses on the respect earned by the cool, reserved pack leader, perhaps it’s my eldest son who is showing the way.

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