I can’t help but draw parallels from dog ownership to modern humans and the nanny state.
Backstory: I’m living with my sister and brother-in-law right now. They have two little dogs that are (probably) a mix of poodle and Scottish terrier. (Both have 100% white fur too, master mutts confirmed.) They live a very sedentary lifestyle because both owners are professionals and work long days, and so they stay confined to the living room most days with walks every other day or so. My sister pampers them when she’s around and her husband is a beta male. Sad!
This correlates with a curious development regarding sexual dimorphism. The female dog has become a fat, entitled alpha female. If she doesn’t get what she wants, she’ll do this high-pitched bark like someone is stepping on her leg over and over until they give in. The problem, of course, is that it has always worked before. I’ve tried telling my sister that we don’t negotiate with terrorists, but so far she’s unwilling to go through the hassle of it. In a way, I understand. This last weekend I put the bitch outside and ignored her pleas (except for a bit of mocking through the screen door) and it did that bark nonstop for six hours in a row.
The male dog is a scrawny, clingy, Freudian hot mess of a beta. I think his goal in life is to scramble back inside his mother’s womb and curl up in the fetal position until he dies of old age. He gets extremely anxious if the other dog is on my lap and he isn’t. While the female will quickly get bored of petting and go exploring for novel stimuli, he is never more than a foot away from a human. He just follows, stares at you, and mugs for attention.
Thinking this would not do, I’ve been doing some basic training, running them a few miles per day and giving an introductory course in Pavlovian psychology. They’ve taken to running like fish to water and they’re already pulling at the leashes, where before I could keep up with the sprinting and beat them for distance easily. The bitch now understands that I’m the pack leader, even if she doesn’t like it, and that it’s against the rules of fetch to bite the other dog’s leg if he gets to the ball first. In my opinion, they are both significantly less mental, although the underlying sexual dysfunctions are probably stuck for life. The male has more confidence and the female understands she is not in charge.
Two interesting phenomena came out of this, regarding the subject in the title. First, rather than biting the male dog (while she knows I’m watching), the female will take out her frustration by mounting him and compulsively humping him. As I understand it, transgender identity issues don’t typically translate to dogs. The second interesting thing is that the beta male dog now sleeps with me, while the alpha female prefers to sleep with my sister and brother-in-law.