Monday, March 24, 2008

The Alpha Dog

We live in a small town. We live on a small lot. That means our house is within mere feet of the neighbor's house. The neighbors have a new dog. We don't mind that. We like dogs. We like cats.

The problem is that when the dog is tied out on their back deck, he barks. Yips. Yaps. Barks. Whines. The fella wants indoors where the kids are, where the fun is, where the food is. Can't blame him.

Still. Yipping and Yapping are annoying to say the least. It was especially annoying last summer. Every time we went out into OUR back yard, Neighbor Dog would yip-yap at if WE were invading HIS territory.

DH tried an experiment. He walked outdoors with a hamburger in hand, walked to the edge of the property, faced off Mr. Yipyap, stood there and calmly ate his hamburger. He saved the last little bite and tossed it to Yipyap. To this day Yipyap has never again barked at us while we are in our backyard. What DH did was to tell Yipyap that DH was the alpha male. The alpha male eats first. The rest of the pack eats the leftovers.

The funny thing about this is that somehow Yipyap now assumes that I, too, stand higher in the pack than he. If he happens to be yipping on his back deck, I simply tap on the window, do a stare-down until he is quiet. Now and then I'll have to do this more than once, or perhaps stick my head out the backdoor and give a low growl. He blinks his eyes, looks to each side, pretends he is not watching me, and eventually lies down and is quiet.

A Quiet Yipyap is a much better neighbor than a Barking Yipyap.

Yipyap's two live-in friends, two orange cats, are much friendlier. They are allowed to visit our deck for scratches behind the ears. They purr. They don't yip. That's a nice difference.

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