Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tentative Symbiosis

The Scout-Violet relationship is growing day by day but still uncertain at best. Violet is a dog enthusiast already, but her enthusiasm does little to quell Scout's baby loathing. Now that Violet is mobile (no, not crawling; but scooting, reversing, butt-pivoting, and toddling with help from a friendly finger), Scout has more to fear. When and if Violet does begin actual forward crawling, I have no doubt it will be the dog that motivates that movement. Her smelly fur is irresistible to the baby and Violet would like nothing more than to suck on her long, hairy tail, oblivious to the fact that it probably grazes every dump Scout takes.

The baby-dog attraction I definitely get. Scout is the best toy in the house; unpredictable and unattainable. What I don't get is why Scout doesn't get the hell out of Violet's way. The dog is way faster on the ground and able to jump up on any piece of furniture in the house. Yet, there she sits, a mere 10 inches from the baby, and then growls and bears her teeth when Violet yanks her furry rear end again and again. She yips but hasn't bitten; so far Shawn and I are always close at hand to scold her. I have even gone as far as to pick Scout up off of the floor where Violet is playing and put her on the sofa. She immediately jumps back down and goes back to laying within a foot of the baby. Go figure.

I would like to think Scout's constant proximity to Violet is related to some primal protective instincts, like that dog that suckled the tiger cubs. But knowing Scout, I think it has far more to do with Violet's burgeoning consumption of human food. Human food, any variety, is ambrosia to Scout. She is consumed by the desire to get her mustachioed under bite around even the smallest morsel of human food. Now that Violet is eating, and doing so messily, I might add, Scout is much more interested in her. Scout sits under her high chair during meals and is right there when we pick her up after eating, cleaning every grain of rice that falls from the baby to the floor within seconds. In many ways, this is nice and eases the burden of cleanup for us parents. But in other ways it is annoying, as Scout rears up and whimpers begging for the leftover baby vittles if we don't immediately wipe out the seat of the high chair.

Forget giving Violet a pretzel or some cheerios to nibble while she plays on the floor. Scout is there like a vulture, gently but persistently weaseling the food out of Vi's hand. And it doesn't help that Violet's eating patterns involve a lot of sucking followed by waving the food around for a while. As soon as she goes to wave her gooey pretzel in Scout's general direction, the dog politely removes it from her hand and devours it with minimal chewing.

I realize Cesar Milan would probably be having a heart attack if he read this. This certainly is not how a pack leader would behave, letting a lower order canine steal food from her pup. And I also realize that it is just a matter of time until Scout crosses the line with Violet and that is something I really don't want to deal with. So if anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with dog-baby relations in the Pierce household, I'm all ears...

1 comment:

Babs said...

Maybe you'll hear from Cesar. I hope so, as I'm no help. Scout lifted a barely de-salted pretzel from Violet while I was with her this morning!