Since I have told you about my relationship with the neighbor's dogs, I will recount this little story from yesterday. I was outside watering the flowers and enjoying the evening when Sparkle and Fritz appeared around the side of the house. After I got them calmed down, we all sat down underneath the oak tree for a little head-patting time (the dog cookies were in the garage - they would have to be happy with affection alone). After a few minutes, Fritz stood up abruptly, his head cocked sideways, and then trotted off around the yard to his house. Something had happened on his home turf that demanded his attention.
Sparkle and I moved onto the front stoop, where I sat enjoying the evening and she lay on the rug facing the front door, listening to my husband talking on the phone inside. (He's like the Voice of God to animals, I swear. They sit up and listen. I wish I had that kind of presence.) Finally Fritz returned from whatever pressing dog-business he had to attend to, and sat down on the step.
In a few minutes, however, he got up and moved to the stoop, where he sat down precisely as close to me as he could without actually sitting on me. This alerted Sparkle that her self-proclaimed position as Most Darling Dog was in jeopardy, so she wormed in between us even closer to me, pushing him aside. I "ssshh"-ed them, made them move over and put them in a sit again where they weren't trying dominate or monopolize me. It was OK for a minute, and then there Fritz was again, pushed up beside me like "She's MY property". And here came Sparkle trampling over him, like "No, she's MINE." So I had to take control and move them over and remind them that access to my lap and my person were not at their bidding but only if I said so.
This went on several times until I got the idea across that it wasn't their prerogative to pick their spot, I was the boss right that minute. I didn't belong to them and they couldn't "claim" me. It reminded me of two kids fighting over sitting in momma's lap.