Having an 11-year old Bichon, and recently adopting a 10-month old Bichon has brought up the subject of “sibling rivalry” in our household.
Does sibling rivalry exist among dogs? That’s what I Googled. There are pages after pages of information on this subject. The bottom line? The answer is “yes.” Although we have noticed that sometimes Riley wants us to pay attention to him instead of paying attention to Stella, in general, he is the greatest “big brother.”
When Rick leaves to go run in the morning, Riley has taught Stella…. “If we wait here, he will come back.”
He has taught Stella that if they both stare at me long enough, I can’t stand it, and I will quit working and play with them.
Riley taught Stella to stay close to the curb when we go for walks, in order to be safe. But we think Stella misunderstood, since she walks closer to Riley than she does to the curb. Riley tolerates it, but I think yesterday he was asking me, “Do you think she’s EVER going to get it?”
Riley taught Stella that hanging around the kitchen at dinner time is a good thing. Sometimes food accidentally gets dropped on the floor. You never know. Better be there, than be sorry you weren’t.
But Riley has also taught Stella values, like how to watch for strangers and how to bark and seem really scary. He even taught her the best look-out point, the outside door that leads to my office.
But I think one of the best things that Riley has taught Stella is that she can trust us. She came to our house being afraid of everything, cowering when anyone near her moved, and afraid to come when she was called. She wouldn’t roll over to let us rub her tummy, because it placed her in a vulnerable position; but now she rolls over for a belly rub anytime someone sits down by her. Of course, she likes her back rubs too. And the best thing? “Dad” has 2 hands. That means he can scratch 2 dogs at the same time. That goes a long way toward reducing any sibling rivalry in our household, and creating a bond of trust and love among all of us.