Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ben is Relentless

Ben loves to chase the dog. He's relentless at times. We've tried putting him in his playpen for a couple minutes. We've tried slapping his leg. Nothing phases him. A moving target is just too much fun. Cockers are not known for getting along well with children, and Lexie, who lived with us for 10 years before we brought Benjamin home, is a classic example. Regardless of breed, many dogs would not like that at all. Lexie is at a disadvantage, too, because in the past few years she has lost all her hearing. She has no chance to move if Ben comes at her outside her line of sight. At first she tries to run off, but ends up standing her ground and growling, sometimes snapping. Her displeasure is completely lost on Ben, who just laughs harder the more she reacts.

Even before Ben hit the "terrible two's" he did this. Lexie actually managed to get a tooth on him once. I say "tooth" because she doesn't have many left. That was when she went to live with Shannon's mom. When we moved down to this area, Ben didn't chase Lexie at all. We thought maybe he had outgrown that. No luck. It took him about a week, but once he was back in his own house with her, he was back to his old games, and with a renewed fervor.

It bothers Shannon much more than it does me, of course, because she's the one at home with both of them all day. When she gates Lexie off in a separate room, Lexie just barks incessantly. I've heard it. It would not be fun to listen to all day, and would not be fair to Lexie. To put her outside in 100-degree heat, when she's never been an outside dog, just would not be good, not to mention that we don't want her bark echoing throughout the neighborhood. Disciplining the dog is pretty much impossible, too, since she can't hear. Besides, it doesn't seem right to smack her snout when she's just defending herself.

It is not that they actively dislike each other. We've tried to teach Ben that when he touches the dog, he needs to be "nice" and we illustrate that word by gently stroking her back. He does this sometimes while saying, "nice" over and over. Lexie lets him pet her, and even will try to give him kisses if he leans his face in close to hers. It's all very sweet until Ben decides it's time to chase her around, laughing like a madman.

Anybody want a very sweet, deaf, cocker spaniel who is losing her sight but is otherwise very healthy? I'm halfway joking, but we just don't want her to end up hurting Ben. Sorry, Lexie, but human child trumps canine child every time.

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