Dear Readers - When asked for responses about a perturbed pooch-owner, whose poodle, "Tux," prefers the man's wife (August 2 column), many of you showed dogged determination to offer advice.
Some canny views stand out - e.g. Tux's "pack" instinct, male-female attraction from poodle to people, and the dog's competitive interference between the sexes.
Here's a selection:
Reader - "The owner is NOT second rate. The dog greets the wife who's been gone all day and returns to the pack. It's welcome-back greeting behavior; the dog wants to "chat with her " about her day away. But he loves the stay-at-home man just as much."
Reader - "Humans react to people differently, too. ENJOY the wonderful Tux and don't fret over "unequal" treatment."
Reader - "I see the dog's point of view. He has a perfect family/pack. Then one important member disappears. Of course he goes hysterical with joy when she returns.
"The husband-pack-leader should echo his joy, and join in the hysterical welcome. The wife can respond to both, then Tux and the pack-leader become a team. It's more rewarding than being competitive and more psychologically mature for the owner."
Reader - "He should accept that Tux wholeheartedly shares his opinion of his wonderful wife."
Reader - "Although I'm the owner who cares for and loves my Shih Tzu, her big excited greeting is for my son-in-law when he comes home from work. She just wants to be with him. I know she loves my daughter and me too but I think it's really about his having been out... or else it's about being attracted to the opposite sex."
Reader - "Our daughter gave us a dog as a gift on our 50th anniversary, to keep us company. She's very attached to me - if I'm watching TV, she'll allow me to hold/hug her. But when she goes to my wife she'll only lay beside her, never in her arms.
"As a female she wants attention from the Alpha male, but sees my wife as her competition. Tux, a male dog, wants the attention of the wife and sees the male as his adversary."
Reader - "Many dogs are very protective of their family and some become uneasy if one member wanders away.
They instinctively know that their own safety depends
upon the continuing integrity and strength of the pack. The return of a senior pack member who was "lost" may therefore be cause for celebration.
"The poodle pup's enthusiastic greetings when your wife returns isn't proof that he regards her any more highly than yourself. He's merely welcoming her back. So relax, husband! Since you're rarely absent from the pack for any
significant period of time, the pup has no particular reason to greet you effusively."
Reader - "My husband and I have shared a series of dogs since we retired 20 years ago. I've found the more one "works" with a dog the more devoted the dog becomes. This can involve walking, feeding, playing, as well as grooming and obedience training (these last two can really bond dog and owner).
"However, when our children come home to visit, the dogs go crazy. If our daughter stays overnight, the dogs run to her bed to sleep with her, run to greet her in the morning, and are very eager to go out with her. My husband and I definitely become second choice. I put this down to the novelty of her visits. Change can be so exciting even if it's only someone coming home from work."
Reader - "I know exactly how this poor guy feels. For 11 years our two dogs have tolerated me, the main caregiver/kisser, but I'm ousted by my husband, whenever he's near. This man has never liked animals, and although he holds them when they want, he's never really bonded with them.
"After watching different dogs for years, I'm convinced they react to their sense of smell ... obviously, my b.o. just isn't good enough."
Reader - "My advice is simple: let it be. I don't think any sort of behaviour will help teach the dog to love both owners equally. My wife bought us a dog but she (the dog) has formed a special bond with me, about which my wife is a little annoyed. But it's the dog who makes its decision and you should just be as good an owner as you can, and accept the pecking order."
Tip of the day:
"Man's best friend" can be doggone insistent about preferring a woman.