Ever since the boxer Val injured her foot, the pecking order in our household has changed. Val is no longer the top dog.

That means she’s given up her spot in the front seat of the car and on the couch to the old dog Chester, is the last to eat, and isn’t allowed on the bed by the other two dogs.

She still has a bit of a limp, but we think she might be milking it. She doesn’t seem to have a problem with putting weight on her foot when she doesn’t know we’re looking.

It’s clear she isn’t fully up to speed,  though, as she’s backing down to the Shih Tzu Leonard too. The vindictive fur ball, who had long been terrorized by the boxer’s antics in the past, has used this newfound power to its fullest advantage.

He growls at Val to keep her off the bed, he doesn’t let  her get anywhere close to me when he’s sitting on my lap. Sometimes I swear he growls at her just because he can, because Val hasn’t appeared to have done anything to deserve it.

It’s rough being the biggest dog in the house who has to answer to the smallest dog.

The boxer’s behavior has me a bit concerned, because it isn’t just the pecking order that has changed. She’s been especially clingy of late — constantly wants to be right by my side (despite the Shih Tzu’s protests), is anxious when I leave and  chews me out when I come home late from work for not coming home earlier.  She’s never exhibited behavior quite like this before.

She also puts up with a lot more from Isaac. She doesn’t growl at him for poking her, flicking her nose or thumping her on the size -- and Isaac only does that to get a rise out of her. She’s even letting him use her as a pillow, and I know she hates that!

But most alarming of all and also somewhat of a relief, is that she no longer gets out. Even when the other two dogs have gotten out and left the gate wide open, Val stays in the backyard.

Her injury has made her a scaredy-dog, but that’s probably a good thing.