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Cheryl's Pets

Mini picture of 2 dogs

Sparky & Tyler
2000-

With two fairly dominant dogs life has sure become interesting. How well do they get along? Who's the boss? Depends on what's going on.

Small picture of dogs waiting for me to throw ball

Of course there were problems. There still are problems. Sparky loves to play. During March break, I went to Montreal to see a friend and Sparky got to play with their dog. When I returned home, he just wasn't himself. He missed having someone around.

Small picture of Sparky standing

So when Tyler showed up, he expected Tyler to be playmate. Only problem ... Tyler didn't know how to play. Run after balls? Play tag? Get into trouble? What was Sparky talking about?

After that, Sparky just didn't have any use for Tyler. Still, he was company when I wasn't home, so Sparky decided to take the initiative. He would teach Tyler the rules of the house.

Small picture of Tyler and Sparky playing? How do you play ball? Simple.
  • Cheryl throws ball;
  • Sparky and Tyler run after ball
  • Sparky catches ball and brings back to Cheryl.
Sparky's turn

That was fine for a while. There was enough to explore, and the piano students paid attention to both dogs so neither felt ignored. As long as they both got attention, no one was upset - or too jealous - they simply took turns getting massages.

Tyler's turn

As time passes, though, Tyler becomes more and more confident. That means he's beginning to renegotiate the rules.

Sparky's rules

  • Your food is also my food.
  • My food is not your food.

Small picture of Tyler yawning

Tyler's rules

  • My food is your food? OK, but your food is my food.
  • That's what you think!

  • Cheryl gives each of us a bone.
  • Tyler ignores bone. Sparky gets bone.
  • Sparky keeps both bones.

  • Cheryl gives each of us a bone.
  • Sparky ignores bone. Tyler gets bone.
  • Tyler keeps both bones.

There are occasional growling matches as Sparky claims his food bowl and Tyler's food bowl.

Sometimes I have to get involved and forcibly keep Sparky away so Tyler can eat.

Small picture of Tyler and Sparky at the top of stairs

Dogs with student

On the other hand ... there was the time I found them both asleep on the couch curled up around each other. Of course, by the time I got the camera they were awake.

They even take turns misbehaving. Sparky used to bark and jump up whenever I had a treat. Now Tyler does that while Sparky sits quietly (watching every hand movement). After all, he's better than the other dog! Sometimes they both lose their treats or end up in their separate dog houses.


Sparky on pillow

In the end - the two are quite different. In the living room, Sparky is the one on my lap; Tyler next to me. At night, Sparky is at my feet; Tyler is up close to my face. Outside, Sparky is the explorer; Tyler the one who stays close.


They're gradually becoming much better friends. Even some of the growling - and I think at least once Tyler was the one who started it - may be part of play wrestling or Sparky's way to help with the house training. Or maybe Sparky is just like the piano students who just can't keep out of Tyler's gorgeous fur!