WILSON: New pup scopes out household, meets his adopted humans - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

WILSON: New pup scopes out household, meets his adopted humans

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My wife's newest pet nearly has us trained.

Barkley entered the Wilson household early this month and began barking out orders immediately. The French bulldog pup also happens to be the son of Dozer -- the 5-year-old who until recently considered himself the youngest member of the Wilson family.

Note that I did not say I consider either of them as children or family, but to a canine, the pack is the family. To my wife, "the boys" are an important part of the family.

Barkley's name had not been decided until we got him home. It was only after he launched into a series of staccato barks that the name was even considered.

Dozer, you see, doesn't bark. He must truly speak French, because his sounds are more like what people expect to hear when human language is played backwards -- a random selection of vowels and consonants.

For the first few days, Dozer's greatest interaction with Barkley also was backwards. Instead of sniffing him face to face, Dozer preferred to check out Barkley's tail and nearby locations.

Dogs get plenty of their information through the sense of smell. The vigorous interrogation of the new arrival wasn't surprising. I was, however, more grateful than ever to those generations of humans who created language -- so that we don't need our noses to get acquainted.

Alma immediately was accepted as the alpha female and the pup wanted to be held and cuddled and babied.

Dozer suddenly realized that's what he wanted too. As the 8-week-old pup bounced toward Alma, Dozer did his best imitation of a bulldozer and pushed his way into the spotlight.

Before the pup arrived, Dozer seemed to be bored with his humans. Now his jealousy made us irresistible.

It was difficult to convince our three grandsons that unless they wanted the older dog on their laps, they should not sit on the floor and call the pup. Of course, all three of them sat on the floor and called the pup at the same time.

It was easy to see that the jealousy Dozer experienced was not too far removed from the jealousy the three brothers exhibited as they got upset at each other for dominating the pup's lap time.

When the kids left, Barkley found that his best course of action was to approach Alma's easy chair and bark to let her know he was ready to warm a puppy-sized portion of her lap. She was easy to train.

On the other hand, I apparently was the very epitome of the "you can't teach an old dog-owner new trick" cliche. Barkley didn't understand why I smiled and laughed at his antics and extended a hand to scratch behind his ears and yet somehow missed the invitation for pick him up.

Alma has been out of the house this week helping meet family needs.

The boys have missed her desperately, as I am a poor substitute for the woman of the house. I understood how they felt. I missed her desperately.

Barkley approached the easy chair last night when I was watching TV. He yapped once and I put him on my lap.

I'm pretty sure he was proud of my progress.

--dwilson@whig.com/221-3372

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