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pack dynamics and my animals

One of the lecture tapes from the Seeing Eye talks about pack dynamics: the idea that the dog needs to know its place in the hierarchy in your home. I've been thinking about this a lot since getting home. There are a lot of dynamics here for Loretta to figure out, and I'm not even certain that I understand them. If I don't understand them, how will I weave her into this complex team that has been working like magic for several years? In a way, this is all stuff I have been working on for a while--it's part of why sometimes my cats fight. People may not like to admit it, but cats are social beings, too; and when there is order in the house, there are no cat fights.

So who is where, and whose job is what?

As far as I can tell, Inca pretty much rules the roost. She orders the filling of the feeder, the giving of pets, etc. Sierra takes a close second--and she can order me to bed when Inca won't have anything to do with me because my brain is acting up. Sable stays in the background but wants attention now and then and even wanted something in the way of training for a while. Ideally, the cats work around each other to meet my various needs as well as ask for their own to be met, alerting me to the activity of my brain and my asthma attacks and requesting attention because they need their own personal reassurance.

Meg fit into all of this nicely. She was with me when the cats couldn't be, and at home she loved on them too. It's hard to really assign all of this a hierarchy; but there was certainly a structure to it. The only key that I can find is that everyone had expectations to meet and everyone got their needs responded to. That is about all I can give to Loretta; but she is understanding that there is structure. She saw Sierra chase Inca away last night, and she tried to do the same. I had to correct this and teach her that Inca is good. Today, fortunately, things are going well.

I am falling asleep writing, but I do want to note that Sable is now walking through the room without flinching. "Cat" is really taking off now!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 10th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
So out of curiosity, are you're cats trained in some way? You talk about them as if they almost have training to help you stay "centered". Sorry if this question is out of mine, but I'm curious. And, I love cats. :-)

Take care and glad to know things are settling down for you. It's been really neat to read about you're experiences with a new dog as an experienced dog owner.

Jun. 10th, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
my cats
One of my cats trained herself to alert to my seizures. I had no idea that she would do it until I realized that she would not stop meowing at me until I went to bed and there was a pattern to the behavior. Inca and I have played a number of informal games over the years which have ended up training her to alert to anxiety attacks and asthmatic episodes. I definitely had in mind to shape certain behaviors, but it was something I was doing out of fun or desire for temperament characteristics and I had no idea that she would become capable of medical alert tasks later in her life.

Thanks for your compliment, and don't feel badly about the question. It is unusual to have cats working, and most people are actually quite skeptical about what my cats are doing until they see it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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