|Marvin & Walter, 2016|
So I began using routine tasks to gently coach Walter into a submissive role. Every time I let them in and out of their crates, I let Marvin in/out 1st and Walter 2nd. When I'm going to take them outside, I put Marvin's leash on 1st, then Walter's leash 2nd. These simple, non-verbal routine tasks have really worked! I noticed the other day that when both boys ran to the door when I said "Let's go outside" Walter actually stepped aside so I could put Marvin's leash on him, then stepped closer to me for his own leash.
Bedtime is another opportunity to train Walter. He immediately burrows under the covers and settles in somewhere near the foot of the bed. Marvin sits on top of the covers next to my torso while I pet him for a few minutes, then goes under the covers. Marvin prefers to sleep in between my legs, near my knees/ankles, but occasionally Walter chooses that spot. When Marvin would come to claim this place of seniority, Walter would growl before giving it up to his brother. I would then pet Walter and tell him he's a good boy for giving Marvin his preferred spot due to his seniority. But just last night when Marvin made his move from on top to underneath the covers, Walter willingly surrendered the spot of seniority with no growl. He crawled up near my waist and I stroked him and whispered "Good boy".
If left unchecked, I think Walter would eventually steamroll Marvin in everything, both because of Walter's larger size and Marvin's naturally laid-back personality. I'm really glad Walter has responded to the training and is polite to his older brother and respectful of his seniority.