Take Me To Your Leader…

DogBarks4TheeI am way too old for this crap!

Ziva, being 5-months old, is not too old for this crap at all, in fact, it’s what she lives for. She is convinced that she is the Alpha female of our “pack”.  She rubs this in my face – every chance she gets – just like the little bitch she is.

Please, save your “Oh, she’s just playing!” or “She can’t be doing that on purpose!” excuses. When your potty trained puppy looks you in the eye, squats and pees a river, she knows exactly what she is doing. She did not “forget” or have a “puppy moment”. She is telling you – point-blank -“I piss upon your carpet!”   Looky-Looky

I will hear the sound of Ziva running and leaping up on the couch while I’m working in my office, or the laundry room.  She sprawls out, taking up 2/3 of said couch, like she owns it, not because it’s so comfortable she can’t resist, but waiting for me to see her misbehaving, taunting me as if giggling “Look at me, look at me!”  Indeed.  At first I let myself believe these things were coincidences. Even I, the Queen of De Nile, could not convince myself of this, being the NCIS fan that I am, I know Gibb’s rule #39 – ‘there is no such thing as coincidence.’

To confirm my suspicions (and Gibb’s Rule), Gina, our ever-patient, but tough, dog trainer tells me “Ziva has no respect for you – whatsoever”.  All righty then.  She reminds me of a therapist I once had, who also sugar-coated everything.  😉

Gina points things out that weaken my image as Alpha and how I was handing over my authority to Ziva without realizing it. Luckily, it is not too late to prove myself as Alpha, but it is going to be a lot more difficult than it had to be.  Of course it is. The hard way is my M.O. as anyone who has read more than two of my blog posts can attest to. I feel you out there, nodding in agreement.

I am determined to mold Ziva into a well-behaved pet, that can go anywhere with me and not cause a commotion. She often is the center of commotion without even trying, because people love her and want to pet her. I get that. But as much as I love dogs, I don’t believe I would approach a lunging, barking, growling and salivating LARGE dog. Oh, wait! She only pulls that crap on me.

Ziva is only 50 pounds now, but may grow to be twice that.  God help you if she decides to be your new lap dog.
Ziva “tests” hubby all the time too, but she respects his “power” and place within the pack hierarchy. All he needs to do is speak sternly with his deep voice, and Ziva listens and obeys.

Unlike E.F.Hutton, when I speak, nobody listens. Not my dog, my hubby – nobody. People at work used to listen to me and that was cool. I’m retired now, so that’s over. Fine with me – I mean, it’s not worth going back to work for, right?

Therein lies my problem. I don’t thrive on power and status. I am a follower by nature and I’m not driven to be an Alpha.  Ziva picked up on these vibes somehow, and now have homework.  Gina told me I didn’t even need  Ziva to work with me, at this point. What!?! I need to practice my behavior, so I become more confident in handling her.

Sigh. This is what I get for falling in love with a breed of dog that is smarter than I am.

Not-so-sweet Berner

BabyZiva Lost: Sweet Baby Berner. Please – return her unharmed. We miss her so much! Sizable Reward & no questions asked. And for Pete’s sake- take the other one with you!


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Disclaimer: Bernese Mountain Dogs are a special breed. Not only beautiful, but loving and smart. The only problems we have with our Ziva are because we didn’t know any better.

Ask around and find a good trainer before your puppy has all their shots! You can do private lessons then – only have to wait for all shots before attending a group class. Now we know this, and urge you to stop reading all the dog training books and call a trainer. [Those books never agree with each other anyway.]






7 thoughts on “Take Me To Your Leader…

  1. Yikes. Brooke and I were actually looking into these dogs because they looked so nice. I haven’t even had a do since I was 9 and I definitely didn’t know how to train her. We are planning on getting. A dog this year and this will be a good thing to keep in mind.


  2. I feel your pain. I have almost the exact opposite problem. We have a rescue cattle dog mix (also a smart breed) who was so traumatized when we got her that everything scared her, even a slightly raised voice.

    Being a strong-minded person, it makes me… angry to see anyone (including dogs) cringe in front of me when I haven’t done anything to warrant that behaviour. So my homework has always been to rein in that anger because if I get angry, she gets even more frightened and the whole training thing becomes nothing but an exercise in frustration. We’re both doing much better after two years, but it’s still difficult at times.

    Anyway, it takes time to go against our nature, but in the end everyone will be happier for it. My dog is way happier now than she was when we first got her and I’m learning to be more balanced so as not to scare the dog. It all works out. Good luck to you!


    1. The poor baby! That people mistreat animals, is not that surprising – it’s the degree of cruelty that blows my mind. It’s people like y’all that rescue and treat them lovingly. It’s tough enough training a dog without issues. I can’t imagine the patience to try and undo the fear that someone else gave her. Best of luck to you guys!


      1. We think she was a backyard dog before we got her… neglected more than abused, but whoever left her in the back yard didn’t protect her from kids teasing her or other dogs, etc… It took time to get her socialized and she’s still scared of kids. But she’s way better than she was when we got her. She’s a smart dog.


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