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pack animals
pack leader
good wife
cows
autumn
gates
horses
best friend
Does Your Dog Dominate It's Master?
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Who eats FIRST? Your dogs or you? This has become the topic of discussion (dare I say heated?) between my wife and I.

The difference between dogs and other animals on the farm is that dogs live in the house. Dogs are man's best friend. Never heard that said of cows, have you?

Strange comparison!

I grew up in rural America, out on a farm where we had cows, horses and the like. I learned very early in life that the animals were the number one priority when it came to eating time. They didn't have the ability to open the gates and scoop the proper amount of feed into the trough and then help themselves to breakfast. My Dad made sure we kids knew that we didn't have breakfast before the animals were all taken care of.

What does this have to do with dogs?

I usually am up before the sun, and of course, remembering my upbringing, I feed our 3 dogs, Autumn, Boozer, and Knoxie. Then I and my wife, Kat, sit down to breakfast. As we chat about the day ahead, and then she drops the bomb! "You really shouldn't feed the dogs before we have sat down and finished eating."

"WHAT?", I cried, "You want me to have those ding dang dogs pestering me about having something to eat until after we have eaten? You have got to be kidding me!"

My good wife set me straight. "You are confusing the dogs!", Kat said.

"The dogs are confused? What about me?", I replied. I just couldn't believe that I could let those poor, defenseless, feed-me-now-before-I-die dogs wait!

I have to admit, what came next, floored me.

Here's what my wife said: "Dogs are pack animals. They live in our home. If dogs are to learn to behave, then they must come to know us as their pack leader or in other words, the Alpha dog."

Ding, Ding, Ding! It was as if bells were going off in my head. I felt like I was hit over the head with a 2x4!

So when I feed the dogs first.....I am telling them that they are above me in the social order of 'my' house. They take control, because I have given up the Alpha position.

Then I am to expect them to listen to me? Yeah, RIGHT!!

My proverbial knot in the head has since healed and I have noticed something. Now that we eat first, the dogs have relinquished the Alpha position. They are much more willing to listen to me.

The take home message here is that if we are to BE the Alpha dog, then it has to be in terms that mans' best friend can understand. It comes down to this: Who eats FIRST? Lesson learned.


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