The Hierarchy of Dogs

The other day, in the kitchen, my little guy told me that he didn’t think Louie liked him very much. Louie is our 11 year old lab/shepherd mix, and on this topic my son is quite astute. Louie doesn’t like him very much. It’s not that Louie would hurt him, but Louie is the grumpy old man of our dogs and he prefers not to be bothered by Kiefer’s high energy most days.
I contemplated how to explain this to my son and finally decided to go all dog whisperer on him. “Kiefer” I said, “It’s not that Louie doesn’t like you. It’s just that he doesn’t see you as his equal.”
The three minutes of confused staring told me that Kiefer needed more information, so I went on with my analogy. “You see babe, dogs have a hierarchy, or chain of command, that they follow. In Louie’s mind our family is all one big pack. This includes me, your father, Jericho, Sadie Blue, and you. It also includes French Fry and Jellybean.”
-Side note here…French Fry and Jellybean are also dogs, with French Fry being the middle dog, and Jellybean being the kid sister of the group. Are you starting to see a correlation here? Good, because each dog belongs to a specific child and, with the exception of Jellybean, they all know it.-Now, back to the story.
I went on with my explanation, telling Kiefer, “In this pack Louie see’s himself as higher up the chain than he actually is. Louie knows that myself and your father are the alpha dogs, possibly Jericho too, but after that it starts to get fuzzy in his mind. I don’t know where he see’s Sadie Blue, but you, well you come below French Fry and right above Jellybean”.
The smile spreading across Kiefer’s face told me he got the joke, and he thought it was kind of funny. From here the conversation descended into kid craziness, but I think I got the point across. Now, to help Kiefer move up the chain. I think it’s too late to get through to Louie, but French Fry and Jellybean may still be pliable. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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