Big Brother, Little Sister

Having an 11-year old Bichon, and recently adopting a 10-month old Bichon has brought up the subject of “sibling rivalry” in our household.

Does sibling rivalry exist among dogs?  That’s what I Googled. There are pages after pages of information on this subject. The bottom line? The answer is “yes.” Although we have noticed that sometimes Riley wants us to pay attention to him instead of paying attention to Stella, in general, he is the greatest “big brother.”

When Rick leaves to go run in the morning, Riley has taught Stella…. “If we wait here, he will come back.”

He has taught Stella that if they both stare at me long enough, I can’t stand it, and I will quit working and play with them.

Riley taught Stella to stay close to the curb when we go for walks, in order to be safe.  But we think Stella misunderstood, since she walks closer to  Riley than she does to the curb.  Riley tolerates it, but I think yesterday he was asking me, “Do you think she’s EVER going to get it?”


Riley taught Stella that hanging around the kitchen at dinner time is a good thing. Sometimes food accidentally gets dropped on the floor. You never know. Better be there, than be sorry you weren’t.

But Riley has also taught Stella values, like how to watch for strangers and how to bark and seem really scary.  He even taught her the best look-out point, the outside door that leads to my office.

But I think one of the best things that Riley has taught Stella is that she can trust us.  She came to our house being afraid of everything, cowering when anyone near her moved, and afraid to come when she was called.  She wouldn’t roll over to let us rub her tummy, because it placed her in a vulnerable position; but now she rolls over for a belly rub anytime someone sits down by her.  Of course, she likes her back rubs too. And the best thing? “Dad” has 2 hands. That means he can scratch 2 dogs at the same time.  That goes a long way toward reducing any sibling rivalry in our household and creating a bond of trust and love among all of us. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments (8)

  1. Karla

    Love it! Love the pictures that accompany your story.

    January 21, 2017 at 9:27 am
  2. Glori

    Love your snippet journaling with photos story!!

    January 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm
  3. Carol

    Golly I love your stories about Riley and Stella. So happy to read that Stella is losing her fear of being there. Riley is a great brother to Stella. Now I think I’ll just have to admit it — I enjoy your articles about your fur babies as much as I do your articles about your grandkids.

    January 22, 2017 at 12:36 am
    • Karen

      LOL! Okay, and I will admit that I enjoy talking about them as much as I do my grandchildren. 🙂 Thanks, Carol.

      January 23, 2017 at 3:31 pm
  4. Stella must have been really traumatized wherever she was before. I’m glad she feels safe enough with you now so she can enjoy Belly rubs. Riley sounds like a great big brother.

    January 22, 2017 at 9:09 pm
    • Karen

      I agree with you. She feels a lot more comfortable here now, but there are still things that she does that make us realize she came to us after some major trauma. She is a sweetie though, and we just adore her.

      January 23, 2017 at 3:30 pm
Leave your thought here