I am on a mission. Over the past couple of days The Dog has been getting a bit naughty. We were out for a walk and she started jumping up at the lead then attacked my wellies (which might not seem so drastic except they are Hunters and cost a whole kid's monthly child benefit). I couldn't walk another step without her growling and pretend biting my foot. I then noticed a couple of other things The Dog is doing such as barking incessantly and getting Haribo-type hyper when the kids are running around. So I spoke to my doggy friend who advised that I need to show The Dog where she is in The Pack.
Which got me thinking about the whole Pack Order in this family.
First of all, The Dog thinks she is a kid. The Dog considers herself on a par with the children and obviously sees the way that the children often challenge me -so she thinks she can treat me the same.
So my mission is to sort out where everybody stands in The Smith Family Pack.
Let me explain - in a pack there is a leader and all other members of the pack defer to this leader. There is then a Number Two who submits to the boss and nobody else...and so on down to the bottom dog who submits to everybody.
Now, the leader is also called the Alpha and is the most dominant. Within our pack this Alpha is obviously ME. I will use aggression to protect my pack and I also expect them all to submit to me. Where our pack gets confused is that not everybody knows who is dominant to them and who is submissive to them.
The Husband firmly believes that he is the Alpha. He is happy to hand this over to whoever he considers to be his Number Two (i.e. Me) during the week. But at the weekends he will raise his heckles and reaffirm his leadership. This often results in us arguing over matters such as the disciplining of the children. I don't mind The Husband believing he is the Alpha, in fact I encourage it as it makes him feel better, but I will not have him thinking that my leadership is open to challenge. So I have been taking a firm but fair approach to The Husband every Saturday to assert my rightful place as leader of the pack. He has no idea I am doing this of course, but that's the thing about Alphas - they are sly and cunning.
The Tomboy and The Tweenager bicker constantly, thus ensuring an ongoing argument over who is below the adults in the pack. The Tomboy, when she is not pretending to be a boy, often pretends to be a dog so you think that would give her a head start. But unfortunately The Tweenager is two years older and his seven years to her five years is the trump card.
The Toddler, well, he is the Alpha's cub and will always get that extra Alpha attention. He can currently do no wrong in the Alpha's eyes much to the chagrin of The Husband who is probably about to lose his position as the Number Two.
And The Dog? Well she is starting to learn that she is the bottom of The Smith Family Pack because I have filled a bottle with stones and she hates me shaking it at her when she challenges me. One rattle of the bottle and she goes all submissive.
I am considering using it on the two eldest kids and The Husband.