Dog mom? Cesar says no

In trying to figure out how to handle these two pups we have adopted, I have been devouring dog-training books. See my May newsletter at www.suelick.com for reviews. None of the ones I have read address how to deal with two puppies at once. I hope the next book coming from Amazon will give me a clue. As it is, every time I get one under control, the other pops out. This can go on for a long time, with the husband standing around saying, “What should I do?”

“Grab a dog or get out of the way!”

Anyway, I need to get control, preferably without screaming or having to lift these increasingly heavy dogs to get them where I want them to go. In his book Cesar’s Story, TV’s “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan insists that people who treat their pups as child substitutes are going to end up with dogs that are ill-mannered, disobedient and possibly dangerous. Why? Because dogs don’t need a mommy; they need a calm, assertive pack leader. They need exercise, discipline and affection, in that order. None of this cuddling and baby talk all day stuff. If they haven’t earned affection by their good behavior, we are supposed to snub them. Hard to do when they’re wailing or staring at you with those sweet brown eyes. But Cesar says if their human owner appears to be all emotion and no authority, dogs will assume she’s not a strong leader, and they’ll take over.

I know he’s right, but I am rarely calm and definitely not calmly assertive. I panic and wind up hollering things like “Quit biting me, you little brat.” At least human babies don’t have teeth at eight weeks. Do they? What I know about human babies could fit onto a 3 x 5 card, with room to spare.

So I’m trying. The dogs are in a crate near my desk right now, listening to oldies on the radio while I work. I’ll let them out in an hour or so. All day long, it’s work, dog, work, dog, work, dog. Once they go to bed at night, I leave them alone in their cozy bed in the laundry room, even though I’m finally done working and I really want to cuddle. Can I just hold them and rock them once in a while before they get too big? Just a little?

Most of the childless women I have interviewed have pets and treat them like their children. Would it be easier to treat them like dogs if we had actual children? We’ll never know. One final note from Cesar: People need dogs, but dogs don’t need people. Left on their own, they pick a pack leader from among themselves, find their own food and do just fine.

Now, has anyone got a baby gate I can borrow? The pups have figured out how to get up the steps from the den into the rest of the house.

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