Thursday, July 29, 2010

Still the boss

With two un-neutered males in the house, along with an intact bitch who should theoretically be coming into season any time now, I've been eagle-eyeing the boys' interactions lately.

Magnum acts like the goofy puppy he still is 99% of the time, but he's lifting his leg more to urinate (not that it makes any difference with a corgi, but we won't tell him that), and he's starting to show boy-girl interest in Elli. In terms of status, he clearly sees her as an equal: he goes toe-to-toe with her playing chase games, they rough-house constantly, he tries pulling her out of the pool by her tail, and toys are catch-as-catch-can between the two of them.

When Magnum is not rough-housing with Elli, he is tagging along after his big bro. It's quite funny to watch; Ian stops to sniff where Elli peed, so Magnum does. Ian goes over to the hosta and lifts his leg on it, so Magnum does. Ian goes to check out the limb that fell off of the tree overnight, so Magnum does... you get the point. When Ian runs for the house, he usually has Magnum attached to his flank, literally -- Ian is in a constant state of slobbered-on from the puppy. Magnum jumps in his face, grabs his rough, hamstrings him... basically, he does every wretched Little Brother thing he can think of to get Ian's attention.

To be honest, I've been growing concerned and hoping for one of them to put Magnum in his place. He's the baby of the family and accustomed to getting away with childish behavior with Ian and Elli, but that sort of rudeness is NOT going to fly with a stranger. He's been to puppy class and done well socializing with other puppies, but I have visions of him trying his brat routine on another adult, and getting sidelined from the show ring while we wait for stitches to heal. But how do you encourage the adult dogs to put him in his place?

Apparently, I need to worry less, and trust my dog more.

This morning, while I was drinking my coffee, I watched Elli and Magnum trading off the current high value item in the household: an elk antler. First Magnum would have it, then he would grow complacent and Elli would snatch it. A few minutes later, he'd snatch it back from her. Rinse, lather, repeat. After about 15 minutes of this, I heard Magnum give his high-pitched yalp (yap + yelp), the one that sounds mysteriously like, "But... Mommmmmmmmmmmm!" I looked down. All three dogs were lying on the floor, Magnum with the antler between his paws. Ian lay about 18 inches away. Not doing anything. Not moving to take the antler. Not growling or curling his lip. Just looking at Magnum. Magnum gave a few more half-hearted, "No fair! I'm gonna tell! Pretty pleeeeeaaaase?!" yalps, then sulked off to the toy basket to go find a bone. Ian calmly and with great dignity hunkered down to enjoy the antler.

Magnum may be on the cusp of awkward adolescence, but Ian is clearly still The Man In Charge.


  1. Cathy O-C recommends letting young, intact males run with older intact bitches - they'll tell him what is appropriate in a flash! It sounds like Ian has things well in hand though.

  2. Find an intact Vallhund bitch, and borrow her! ;-P Darby runs my puppies right into the ground. They love it and are constantly seeking her approval, and they spend about 1/2 their time laying on one shoulder, wagging and trying to suck up to The Darby, while she lifts her lip and turns her muzzle from them. They all bow down to The Darby.

  3. Even with neutered males there can be drama. Cove, our snipped rescued mutt, firmly believes HE should be my dog, and that Traum should be dead. One day on vacation in a motel Cove decided this, and the opinion has stuck! *sigh* So, altering doesn't end dominance tuffles in all cases, simply sometimes eases sexual tension... but Cove is MUCH more interested in bitches in season than Traum is, even though Traum wasn't neutered 'til he was 6 or 7.

    Having the new puppy in the house I'm thankful Galaxy has Mama-drive, as she's doing a GREAT job at teaching him manners. He'd sure be a handful without her "Here, this is how it's done!" help!