This Article is About
pack animals
pack leader
alpha male
stark contrast
family group
garage door
This Alpha Bitch Owns The Gate!
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This Alpha Bitch Owns The Gate!

There I stood at the gate. Silent. Still.

I gazed into the distance; feeling the breeze and enjoying the wispy clouds of a blue-skied day. At my feet, in stark contrast, was my juvenile dog, Simba.

Simba was excited. Eager. Anxious for me to open the gate so that she could force her way through ahead of me.

You would think I was contemplating taking her on a great adventure. Hardly. The gate led to the courtyard where I hung my washing. This courtyard also divided the back yard from the garage so that we could come and go without the dog escaping the yard when the electric garage door was opened.

It was a great system because a playful pup was contained in the back yard and my washing was safe from being part of her game.

So why was I cloud gazing instead of opening the gate to get on with life?

Simba had become an exuberant problem. When I opened the gate she was in like a horse out of the gates in her attempt to beat me into the courtyard.

This got really old really quickly! I wanted to go through the gate and hang my washing without her… at least sometimes. I didn’t want this growing pup barreling me out of the way. I wanted to own the gate!

Who’s Leading The Pack?

Remembering that dogs are pack animals helps to put this into context. My dog does not belong to me. We belong to our pack. If I am not the alpha female in our family group then she will step into the role.

Simba knew that the first animal to leave the den, or yard, was the pack leader. This is for a very good reason. This animal is the protector of the pack. They are responsible for the safety of every pack member and will lead the way ensuring safety for those following.

Simba was young but old enough to be testing her status. She knew that to go through the gate first was a position of power and rank. She would never behave this way with my husband who was obviously the alpha male by default.

Perhaps I should have snarled at her savagely and thrown her to the ground for her impudence. Somehow I didn’t think I had what it took to be a convincing alpha bitch.

Thus I stood, still and regal. Quietly conveying the message to this exuberant pup that we weren’t going anywhere until she was in her place.

Simba calmed.

I played with the gate latch.

Immediate attention! Excitement. Action!

No…. nothing was happening. Once more I stood unresponsive, repeating the gate fiddling until Simba was a foot away and relaxing quizzically into the waiting game.

A slight opening of the gate and then shutting it firmly in her eager face.

More waiting.

And then it happened! Simba took herself about nine feet away from me and lay down on the grass to watch.

I opened the gate, unmolested, and walked quickly and quietly through.

That took forever!” I thought glancing at my watch. About five minutes had passed.

The second time was quicker still and with consistency, and giving Simba the correct pack messages at other times as well, our hierarchy was established.

I own the gate! I protect the courtyard! I am the alpha bitch!


Street Talk

Awesome! I like your technique there. To allow time for Simba to figure out who really is the alpha bitch! LOL You must have alot of patience! Kudos to you!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Oh I have all day if it's important enough! Gets down to values really, doesn't it? Wish it was as easy to train kids as it is to get the message across to a dog. Dogs are generally so eager to please!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Well done, I think I need some lessons on being the alpha bitch before I get my next dog. Normally they walk all over me!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Marion, our new dog has a different personality all together but I wonder if him being male has helped our relationship. I have no way of knowing. Where are the experts on this topic?! Need someone wise to comment!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
C. Hughes  

Ah, the waiting game. Looks like you had a breakthrough. Well described process and congratulations on your conversion.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thank you again everyone. I love reading your comments as much as writing the article!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

I really enjoyed that! Very descriptive and the title certainly caught my attention!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
Lemuel  

I thought at first that since you are feeling the breeze you are preparing to jog or something. :) Nice firm lesson you taught Simba there, and she was intelligent enough to understand it. And since she's quick enough to get the message, I wonder if she's quick also to plan something different to oust the alpha bitch? hehe... Nice article. Very descriptive and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Lemuel you should know me better than that!! I started jogging to the school one day as we were late and my three kids all stopped, stared, their mouths dropped open and one of them uttered "mum can run!!!"

Reply
  about 6 years ago
Lemuel  

hehe.. now I know you better.

  
  about 6 years ago
C4rmen  

Nice work at the gate Heather. What an interesting read. So true but I hadnt thought about the 'pack mentality' like that before. We are all animals on some level acting from instinct at times. I guess the difference with us humans is power of free will and choice, cheers :)

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Laughing but so true. Love the article and the lesson.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thanks, Heather. Your article put a smile on my face. Simba is a doll.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Cool! All around.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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