Say My Name – The Importance of a Dog’s Name

30 10 2008

Names are very important to all domesticated animals.  Some people spend a lot of time thinking of names.  My doggy mom’s name was Sunny’s Autumn Uno, Autumn for short.  Why?  Because her mother’s name was Sunny and my doggy mom was born in the autumn and she was the only puppy born.  Uno is Spanish for one.

Tax is my brother and best friend, and he got his name because he came to live with us on April 15th.  For some reason, humans have to pay the government taxes.  My human mom said that this is Tax Day, so he was ended up with the name Tax.

Once you give a dog a name, you should use that name every time you talk to him.  I know that sometimes dogs can be stubborn and not listen.   People get irritated with us at this point and begin to call us every name they can think of.  Some of those names are not very nice.

Please do not refer to your dog as “Hey”, “Hey you”, “Stupid”, “Dumb dog”, “Stupid dog”, “Jesus Christ” unless his name really is one of these.  One should hope not.

When you have decided on the everyday name for a dog, you should practice that name until he knows it.  Take a treat and hold it in front of his face.  Say his name while bringing the treat closer to your own face.  Sometimes, people will add the word “watch” or “look”.  Now give him the treat!  Continue to practice for a few days and he will learn to look at you when you call his name.  Make sure you use the name you plan on calling him, without not all those with the dirty words attached.

One dog I knew was called P.A.  This is what we called him most of the time because mom said that we should not call him by his registered name, “Piss Ant,” in public.  He got his name because of his affinity for getting in trouble when he was a puppy.  He was ALWAYS in trouble.  Apparently, his doggy mom had not given him any home training.  Mom would correct him and call him, “You little Piss Ant.”  When she decided that he would stay, rather than be adopted out, he needed a permanent name.  Mom decided that since he was black all over, she would name him “Midnight.”  I do not think he go the memo abour Midnight, because he wouldn’t answer to anything but “Piss Ant.”  Lucky for us, he finally learned that P.A. was a nickname for him.  Somebody called AKC would not let Mom officially name him Piss Ant, so his legal name on their papers was P.A. Pom.  Legal names are the ones that are given to dogs who actually know who their daddy is.  I guess the AKC is the place that keeps all the legal names and who was the daddy to whom.

I called him THE PISS ANT, because he was the alpha dog when I arrived, and he stayed the alpha until I could not find him anymore.  Mom said that he went to doggy heaven.  That’s when I became the HDIC (Head Dog In Charge).

All of that being said, you should be very careful with the words you use around your dog.  He just might think that one of them is his name, like P.A. did.

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What Is An “Alpha Dog”?

28 10 2008

Mom says that dogs are basically nothing more than bred down versions of wolves.  A dog’s hierarchy is generally not as well-defined as those in a pack of wolves.  But we do hold to that system, as is suits us very well.

Mom also says that humans are the ultimate “alphas” and should be respected as such. This is why I must not jump on a human or go into a door ahead of a human because I am showing respect for their position.  I was trained to do these things, and all dogs should know these rules.

However when it comes to a group of dogs, known as a pack, we need a dog in charge!  It is not always the biggest dog or the oldest dog or a male dog.  People cannot pick a certain dog to be the alpha and it has nothing to do with size, weight, age or sex.

Alpha is an attitude.  Some of us want to be in charge and some of us do not.  I am an alpha.  I was not always the alpha, however.  When I came to my pack, the alpha dog was a six pound Pomeranian!  One day, I could not find him and mom said he had gone to doggy heaven.  Since he was gone, we needed a new alpha in our pack.  I decided to be the alpha of the pack, even over my own doggy mom.  She was one of those dogs that did not care to be the alpha.

After I became the alpha, my mom knew it was very important to show the rest of the pack that I was now the dog in charge.  Whenever we ate, I was the first dog fed.  Whenever we went outside, I was the first dog after the humans.  Whenever we were told to SIT, I was the first dog mom released.  And when we got our treats, I was the first to get them.  These actions are the only way a human can to reinforce the alpha position to other pack members.  These actions will not change the hierarchy of the pack, as that is determined within the pack.

I have certain duties to perform to maintain my role.  Sometimes mom says that I rule with an iron paw, but I established myself as the alpha quite well.

For me, I found that intimidation works well.  The first part of my intimidation is eye contact.  Also, my body language shows no fear as I approach with my head held high.  If I am challenged, this is followed by a growl as I continue to move forward and maintain eye contact.  If a challenger has not backed off at this point, I will show him or her my teeth.  Any time during this period, a challenger may back off and he would be well to do so, since my packs rolls three deep.

In my own pack, if I want a bone, I just need to stand over the possessing dog, and he will leave it and walk away.   If I want to sit somewhere, I  walk over and stand until they move away.  This does not work with humans like mom.  She is the ultimate alpha, and she will tell me to go away.  All of these actions are reinforcement of my position as the alpha.

When two dogs meet for the first time, they will stare at each other and after a few seconds, one will drop their head.  This is a sign of submission.  The submissive dog will smell the alpha dogs lips, ears and gradually work his way to the rear end.   Humans think this is gross but at least we don’t have to touch each others paws!  We transmit a lot of information from our anal glands and basically, a submissive dog now has all the information he needs to ensure that he is in the company of an alpha.