One of the main foundations of raising a puppy is to establish an Alpha male role. Apparently if this is not readily apparent to the puppy, it is a bad thing. The puppy will naturally decide that this role is absent in the household, and it will attempt to fill the role itself. This would be laughably improbable for a miniature dachshund.
I learned a lot in my attempts to establish myself as the Alpha male. You would think this would be easy. Puppy: six inches tall and four pounds. Master: six foot six inches tall and two hundred and twenty four pounds. Let’s just say I think I can take him. But we named him Gimli for a reason; he has an unrealistically high opinion of his ferocity.
I did find a few tricks that helped me establish myself as king god of his little world. None of these tricks involved beatings, or time outs alone in a crate or cage. I used puppy psychology.
I noticed that there are a few activities that really define what it is to be a puppy. It seems that a puppy’s life is defined by chewing sticks, peeing, digging and sniffing. I figured that if I demonstrated that I had unachievable prowess in these activities I would win his respect.
This weekend I put in a section of fence. I put the puppy out in the back yard with me while I worked, then I made sure he was paying attention to certain activities.
For instance, he would go to a part of the back yard and proceed to dig up some choice morsel, like cat poop. When he was done I took him over and let him watch me dig a foot deep hole with a posthole digger. Yes, he was impressed. He left after the second hole and didn’t dig for over an hour, probably from a feeling of inadequacy.
Later Gimli was happily bounding around the back yard with a pencil sized stick in his mouth. He was actually strutting around like the stick was a hard fought for prize. He ran up to me just as I picked up an eight foot 4×4 with one hand. He dropped his pathetic little pencil shaped piece of bark and watched me cut the 4×4 in half with my chop saw. Again, I think I left an impression.
Putting in fencing is hard thirsty work; I drank a lot of Jones Strawberry soda. I think you know where this is going. So after praising Gimli for peeing on the grass, I took him on a little walk to a more private portion of the back yard. I believe I really made an impression. I can only imagine what was going through his little puppy brain. He may have tried to imagine how many fire hydrants I could tag with that single effort. Puppies have a difficult time trying to imagine numbers that high.
So, in only one afternoon I firmly established myself as the Alpha Male. However, I believe that I did fall short on one aspect. He holds all titles on sniffing powers. Gimli can sniff so hard and for so long that his back legs actually leave the ground. He can concentrate for an unreasonable and entirely unwarranted amount of time inhaling every tiny little odor left on a single blade of grass. It’s like he is trying to develop the nasal acuity to identify what sandwich a fisherman ate prior to handling the fish that was processed into the cat food that our cat processed into a tiny speck of material that ended up on a single blade of grass in our back yard.