By Monday, July 11, 2016 20 Permalink

For weeks, I’ve been watching what I now call the “Doodle dominance dance.” It’s made me question –  at any given time can a pack leader change?…

dance 2

Is it possible for one pup to claim the role of “alpha dog” without any aggressive behavior?

I’m beginning to think this is happening here in Doodleville.


he’s been in charge. #aftermeofcourse

Leo was twice his weight AND height, but never challenged Harley for the position of #topdoodledog There was this un-barked rule between them. They both agreed that Harley was first with everything, even me!

But not this time!

For the past 16 months, Jaxson followed Leo’s paw-steps. Always compliant. Always waiting for Harley to get the first treat, the first meal, entering and exiting the car first.

But for the last 7-8 weeks, Jax has decided he wants to be Harley.

The first time I noticed some “odd” behavior was on the stairs.

Whenever I go upstairs, Jax runs up first and stands at the top. And for however long he stands there, Harley remains at the bottom – as if he’s waiting for “permission” to come up…

dance 3

This is not a hostile take-over at all. They’re still the “Doodle-Ying” to the others “Doodle-Yang.”

They play extremely well together…

dance 4

And mimic two sides of a velcro strip #inseparable

dance 5

After noticing Jaxson’s stair tactics, I’ve become more observant to what I now call the –

Doodle Dominance Dance

There’s a new line up around here. It’s changed from “Cathy – Harley and then Jaxson” to “Cathy – Jaxson and now Harley.#Ineedascorecard

In addition to the dance, Jaxson’s campaigning (hard) to be my main squeeze…

dance 6


I’ve noticed this slickster Doodle move and it happens several times a day…

dance 7

According to Dogster

A dog standing over another dog is a dominance thing. All dogs do it.


Apparently in the animal world to show dominance does not have to be an aggressive act. There is always a dominant Alpha and submissive beta. When the dog stands over the other dog it is a dominant stance. If the other dog does not react it signifies that the dog that is laying down recognizes the other dog as the Alpha in their pack. 

Harley never reacts! #thankthedoodle

What’s happening? Things are going on in my world that I haven’t sanctioned!

From all reports, the two things I need not do is –

  • interfere if it’s not aggressive or volatile behavior
  • feel sorry for the canine order of things

So far, everyone seems perfectly content with this paradigm shift.

So far this Doodle Dominance Dance seems to be good for three #closerthanever

dance 8

Anybody else watching a Dominance Dance between dogs?


So, so proud of my “happy place.” First Charleston becomes the “Best Pet Friendly City for Pet Travelers#goHarleyandJaxson and now this…

dance 9

Come visit and fall in love with Charleston SC!

This week let us pray for our country…

dance 11


  • The Daily Pip
    July 11, 2016

    We have always only had one dog so haven’t experienced this before. We also have three cats and there are definitely some battles for dominance, but usually our cat Rosie comes out on top.

    We are praying right along side you …last week was heartbreaking on so many levels. Hopefully, the worst is behind us and we can move forward in peace.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 11, 2016

      I have felt so sad for our country – it’s been weighing so heavy on my heart. Something has to change. I think you should get another dog so you can watch the dominance dance LOL Do you think cats get along in numbers well? Just curious, I live with an anti-cat man, so I’ll never know….

  • Monika & Sam
    July 11, 2016

    Maybe Harley just needed some shade? 😉

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 11, 2016

      HA! Could be – I’d love to get into their heads.

  • Kimberly Gauthier
    July 11, 2016

    I see this all the time with our dogs. Sydney and Rodrigo like to make sure the puppies now their place – even now, 2.5 years later. And every now and then, Rodrigo does this to Sydney.

    Rodrigo has also started resource guarding me. This is when I start to make changes. He doesn’t grown, he just blocks the puppies from getting to me (he can’t block Sydney, because she’s not having it).

    It’s exhausting keep up with them, but interesting too.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 11, 2016

      Interesting is an understatement. I find the entire thing FASCINATING. Harley is fine as long as he can see me, but Jaxson has to be under me.

  • DashLilly
    July 11, 2016

    This is a great question! I swear that my two switch off being in charge– and I’m sure animal behaviorists would disagree. But I swear they do. Lilly is my baby and act like that — she demands the spot next to me, pushes Dash away if he is too close … but Dash is the boss when it comes to time for playing… time for going out. Being in the new house has been a little trying for all of us –Lilly even growled at Dash for getting to close to me which upset me greatly… but I think we are now starting to find our groove. Love the prayer picture. LOVE it. We are all three praying–storming heaven with our prayers! Hope you are well —

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 11, 2016

      I know exactly what you mean about the new living quarters. I went through that too! It works itself out. We haven’t had any fussing – just seems to be something that they understand and I don’t #whatelseisnew I’m good, just baking in this heat LOL Black people do tan 🙂 #whoknew Take care my friend!

  • Emma
    July 11, 2016

    Katie was the top dog in our house until I was about four and decided I wanted to be queen bee. She relinquished the reigns and I took over. Bailie has attempted to challenge, but I refuse to give up my crown which has created some tension. It often happens when a dog reaches maturity. For now, Bailie has backed off on her plans and will happily just live in my kingdom.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 11, 2016

      Well Jaxson seems to want to “share” Harley’s kingdom and Harley seems to be okay with this new arrangement. I don’t know whether or not to be happy of offended that he’s so willing to share me equally! Makes me wonder….

  • Katie J. Ewing
    July 12, 2016

    I just adopt another dog so this post means a lots to me. I hope my Matt and Ginny will geting along soon.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 13, 2016

      Congratulations Katie! I hope so too! Just give them plenty of time. Dogs are super smart and seem to work these things out on their own schedule. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  • Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom
    July 13, 2016

    My wifi connection is being a pain in the rear end this afternoon…just deleted my original comment. Grrrrr.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 13, 2016

      No sweat! I’m still feeling the love girlfriend!

  • Peggi Duncan
    July 14, 2016

    I have two females–Lab & Staffordshire Bull Terrier and I am thinking of adding a nine month old male labradoodle. Any tips for introducing them?

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 14, 2016

      The two times I brought a new pup home, our greeting was done “outside” on neutral territory. When we came inside (hours later) I continued to keep them separated, making sure the new dog was stationary allowing Harley to explore, visit, and examine at his pace. There were a few growls, snaps, and paw swipes from time to time for a few weeks, never aggressive, never lethal or vicious. Just the canine way to establish pack order and to teach the pup respect. Thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to look at my series of “Diary of a Middle Aged Puppy Mom” and other posts I’ve written about adjusting to a new puppy!

  • Jan K
    July 18, 2016

    I think Cricket and Luke often take turns being top dog, but Sheba has no interest in that position! Maybe Harley was ready to take early retirement? 🙂

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 18, 2016

      I’m not so sure Harley is interested in early retirement per say. He just seems to be very comfy with Jax having a lot of mommy and me time all of a sudden. #gofigure

  • Carrie R. McNair
    July 18, 2016

    Wow, your post is very nice. And the pics are really great. Thanks for sharing!

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 19, 2016

      Thanks so much Carrie – please come back again – soon! We love new friends 🙂