It was a few minutes past nine o’ clock when I cruised into my well lit, lawn mowed compound in my new Ford car. The day had been very busy especially at my place of work, and I felt exhausted and completely worn out. To my relief, I was given a warm welcome by my two companions, Queen and Batista. Batista, the younger of the two, ran up to me wagging his brown tail large and fast. No doubt he was happy to see me back home. He sniffed my frail hand in greeting. The assertive Queen stood calmly in front of her wooden kennel but looked excited too.
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At a snail's pace I started walking up the steps of the house, Queen and Batista ran briskly ahead of me. In the past few days I had granted them the freedom to do whatever they wanted, to see how far they could go. It was a grave mistake I must confess. I witnessed the weirdest behaviour I ever saw in them. They could bolt out of the house before me, scavenge the garbage can like hungry wolves, go into prohibited places like the bedroom, always on people’s faces as they had their meals, and worse still gave the cat no peace in the house.
Watching Queen and Batista feed is always exciting. On this particular day I offered them their best meal, fresh meat. The sound of Batista, my favorite, cracking the bones with his strong canines as he curls his lips into a snarl is incredible. His green and blue eyes looked amazing too. On the other hand, dominance of a king portrayed by Queen never stopped to perplex me. She is a fast runner and she will always want to lead and others follow her. The rules on feeding could never be compromised and they both seemed to understand this very well. They had to sit and wait patiently while I dispense the food. Even on dispensing the food, I had to give them a go ahead by saying “okay”.
They both rushed like a mighty wind across the desert to their feeding bowls. Batista ate hurriedly and cleared his green feeding bowl. Unusual of dogs, where “alpha” dog eats first and makes the rest wait, Queen stood in front of her grey bowl and let Batista eat first. At first I thought that she didn’t like the food. But no, I was wrong. Immediately Batista finished eating it was the opportune time for Queen to attack and furiously tear the portion of meat allotted to her. She then ate it slowly to her fill. It was evident that she was in no hurry to finish. I watched the events of Queen’s queer behaviour unfold from the ceramic tiled steps of my house. Many questions about this behaviour lingered in my mind as I watched keenly. I did not seem to have answers to these questions either. As Queen was eating, Batista could stealthily try to move closer to queen’s feeding bowl. This was not taken well by Queen and she had to protect what rightfully belonged to her. She was not going to let Batista have even the crumbs of her share. She backed and growled at him aggressively. Batista coiled his long brown tail and walked away. The message was put across in black and white and he seemed to have understood it correctly.
The behaviour exhibited by Queen was very unusual to me, having owned and done research on dog psychology for a number of years. It left me wondering who between Queen and Batista was the leader. This meant that I needed to do more research on dog psychology to unveil this behavioral mystery. I always found feeding time of my pets very interesting and a grand opportunity to learn and understand how dogs behave. Feeding also is an important aspect in dog training. I also found a statement made by many dog trainers and psychologists that dogs need boundaries and firm rules to be true. The few days I granted my dogs freedom to do whatever they wanted turned my home chaotic.
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