Rob's Blog Archive

July 31, 2011

Wake Up and Smell the Pheromones










My nephew Joey is going through adolescence, certainly normal for a fifteen year old.* Among the changes that are taking place, one that is making him particularly happy is the way the dog is responding to him. He figures it’s that his voice is changing. Me and my dog friends know better. It’s the way he smells. No doubt, the mix of pheromones he is excreting smells a lot more like an adult male than it used to. And that’s something dogs notice.

It was twelve years ago that I first drove a sled. My friend, Nic, had loaned me a sled and two dogs, Niko and Luke. Along with these I had my two, Dawn and Tenaya. I put Tenaya and Luke in lead, Niko and Dawn at wheel, and off we went.

It was shortly after we got going that the dogs challenged me. They started to head off of the trail into never never land. My balance wasn’t great, and I just managed to get a snowhook in while teetering on the runners. With the team anchored, I walked up to the leaders, picked them up and lined them out to where I wanted them on the trail. That’s all it took. Nothing more. From then on, they were solid citizens.

A year or so later, I was again by myself and running a team of six. It included four dogs of Nic’s, Dawn, and Tenaya. Sometime after I took off, the dogs again challenged me. I stopped the sled and hooked down to deal with them. This time, I had the snowhook thing a little more in hand, so that wasn’t a big deal. After hooking down, I moved to the lead dog. Once again, starting with him, I picked each of the dogs up and placed it in the position it should be for a proper line out. The dogs noticed. It didn’t take any yelling or anything else to assert my authority. Just quietly moving them into line.

I have always been impressed by these experiences, that so little accomplished so much. I figured that it was my body language and how I was able to handle the dogs. Good story, right?

In thinking about it now, probably not. It wasn’t an innate talent on my part after all. Just like Joey, it was probably how I smelled. My guess is that I stink of male pheromones. My walking down the line during those first two sled runs gave the dogs a whiff of what they were dealing with and it smelled like a stud. Don’t mess with the alpha male, and I reeked of it.

I’m enjoying writing this. . . .

And since that time, it’s been pretty easy for me to control my team. Not that it’s perfect or that I don’t have to deal with various rebellions and so forth. It’s that in the end, I am the alpha. I stink of the right stuff. It’s not body language or self-confidence. It’s stench. Ask the dogs.

With this realization, I have decided to embark on a new enterprise. I’m going to market my sweat. The target will be female mushers and dog trainers who are short on male pheromones. Here’s the catch phrase: “To all women who want to control your dogs better, you too can smell like a man.” Great marketing campaign, don’t you think? I figure to make a fortune.

So, the main question as to how I’ve been able to control my dogs seems answered. And by the sweat of my brow, I expect to be set for life financially. There is one question, however, that remains. Why is it that females of my own species, particularly the athletic, intelligent, pretty ones, don’t notice this? The data show that I reek of alpha, and yet women are oblivious to this. What’s wrong with all of you? The dogs love me because of the way I smell. Why don’t you, particularly the pretty, athletic, intelligent ones? Gang, wake up and smell the pheromones!

*For the record, Joey is now nineteen.

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