Kayte’s Dogs in the City 2

Dogs are like kids in so many ways. They depend on you to feed them, take them to the doctor, wash them...they are pretty much helpless without you! And, like kids, they will often embarrass you in public.

I took Hektor, Ella, and Mischa to the dog park today. Hektor and Mischa had a ball, Ella basically sits on my lap and watches the other dogs play. That is the extent of her exercise, but she is so cute when she does it.

I don’t know what Hektor ate today while I was at practice, but whatever it was is some form of an aphrodisiac. First he set his sights on a Jack Russell Terrier and went to town. Keeping an eye on three dogs off the leash is a challenge, so I didn’t see Hektor until I saw the owner of the Jack Russell trying to pry Hektor off his dog’s back side! A few minutes later, hip aching and feeling a bit like a busy ride at Six Flags, the Jack Russell decided socializing wasn’t all that fun so she headed home. Feeling bad that my baby would do something so embarrassing, I was kind of relieved he was gone.

Like kids, when dogs have mischief on the mind, mischief is never hard to find. So his next victim was a little white Karen Terrier. I am sitting with the other “dog moms,” talking with another beagle owner who is considering getting a second dog, telling her how getting dog number two for me was the best thing I ever did. No sooner did I complete the sentence when I saw Hektor enjoying a romp with ANOTHER unwilling participant! Way to make a liar outta me, Hek!!

So I had no choice but to use “the voice.” Every parent has “the voice,” the one you use in public settings when you’re not allowed to handle the situation they way you really want to handle it. All I did was say his name and he stopped dead in his tracks. But, much to my dismay, apparently the “fat lady” hadn’t yet sung her song! An English Bulldog/Puggle mix changed Hektor’s mind. By this time, completely ashamed and tired of explaining that he doesn’t normally do that, I had had enough. Hektor had apparently gotten his fill of exercise even if it came at the expense of my shame.

I called my mom when I got home to tell her that the embarrassment I had just felt leaving the dog park must be similar to having a son whose hobby is looking up girls’ skirts.

Hektor is the third dog on the totem pole. Ella established Alpha dog status at 4 lbs. and 8 weeks old. The vet told me that in 99% of households with a male and female dog, the female will be the Alpha dog (just like humans!). When Mischa joined our little family a few months ago, she, too, established her dominance over Hektor. He doesn’t seem to mind -- he’s happy if there is someone to howl with and a human to pet his chest. But maybe this park behavior is his way of being the Alpha dog somewhere.

It’s not just Hektor who is acting out. Ella never does anything wrong, but Mischa is having some problems sharing her toys. I have a basket of dog toys that I’ve accumulated over the past few years. Hektor and Ella generally tear the squeaky thing out of any toy, then the stuffing and then they’re done with it. Thank goodness I saved them anyway because Mischa loves toys. She barks at Hektor, because in her pea-sized brain, barking equals playing. And when Hektor doesn’t respond, she goes to the basket and entertains herself for hours!

Since Hektor and Ella aren’t big on toys, Mischa generally has the run of the basket. Occasionally Hektor and Ella get the itch to chew on a toy for a minute or so, but Mischa is not a fan of sharing. I scold her and she sits there and growls under her breath. It didn’t seem like it was that big of a deal so I kind of let it slide. Not long after that began, we were all lying in bed and Hektor wanted some cuddle time. Mischa went crazy...I thought split pea soup was going to start spewing out of her mouth. I scolded her using “the voice” and she burrowed under the covers continuing to grows. This dog thinks I am her TOY!!

I watch the Dog Whisperer (I mean who doesn’t?). And, all I could think is, don’t “enable” her just because it’s kind of cute that she thinks I am hers. So I gave Hektor attention, then Ella, and then Mischa, hoping she will understand how sharing works.

I didn’t expect overnight results...after all she is a puppy and like kids, puppies will challenge the rules. I randomly get new toys for the dogs because I spoil them. The newest addition is a Canadian Goose. I expected that Mischa would claim it as her own, so I gave it to Hektor first. It took him two minutes to rip the sqeaky toy out and then he willingly passed it along to Mischa.

Mischa fell in love with her new goose. She carried it with her everywhere. The next morning I woke up to discover Mischa’s goose under the covers. At some point during the night, she got out of bed, found her goose, and brought it back to bed with her. The funniest part about the whole thing is Mischa sleeps under the covers on my left side. She put the right along my left side between us. ... So now I sleep with Hektor, Ella, Mischa, and the goose!