I have been doing a lot of thinking about personalities and the complex depth to which each dog has. When describing my individuals quickly I would say; dominant, timid and reactive. But dogs are so much more than most think; they are very complicated creatures and to live with them and truly know them as individuals you must do just that, get to know them. I have a wonderful mixture; a combination that over the years has melded into a fine tuned machine. We rarely have even a disagreement and as my dogs age this has become more important to me.
Just this morning there was a tiny thing; it was a split second of stupidity from Jessie. She came up on the bed which is the norm for our mornings but in her "breakfast" frenzies she landed on Luke who was snuggled down in the corner. He immediately set to posture as she darted to the other side of the bed, he flashed her a dirty look and it was over. That is the extent of dog "issues" in our home and that is the way I like it. But we didn't get here just by chance; I do not allow nonsense. Yes I allow growling and communications but if someone wants to get into it; they have to go through me first.
I have two dominants and a neutral personalities. First I'll talk about Jessie; she is very dominant which is the norm for a Jack Russell. That said she is not a crazy dominant like many are and she loves people. Even though she is very dominant she is not a bully when it comes time to ruling her pack; she only gets involved when things get out of hand in her opinion. Barking and chasing Dad around is out of hand and over exuberant greetings is out of hand. As dominant as this little 15 lb dynamo is; she is not stupid and has very good canine communication skills. Jessie is confident and steady; not easily flustered or startled although her lack of hearing is lending itself to more startle situations. She is extremely affectionate and devoted and in her old age loves nothing more than a comfy lap to crash in.
Tilley is next in line; she is a very complicated girl but not quite as complex as Luke is. She came to us quite fearful and it has taken years of work to get her to where she is today. She is very affectionate but not a huggy type of gal. Hugs are strictly reserved for family members and even then you can feel a slight pull away if it is the human who initiated it. But when affection is given by Tilley you can expect lap laying, her head on your chest worship type. I can literally do anything to Tilley and she trusts me 150%. She is meek in her daily activities; sitting ever so patiently for whatever happens to be in the works. She is rock steady, she does not startle and is not the nervous type at all. Although she is the only one of our dogs who is very afraid of thunder and fireworks. Tilley and Jessie have an understanding, they coexist with no disciplining. Jessie disciplines Luke but never Tilley.
Last but not least is Luke; the boy with the issues. Luke is one of those dogs who's outward behavior is deceiving to who he really is. He is extremely complicated; first he is a dominant boy and likes to strut his stuff. He likes to push my buttons but is very sensitive as well; if I should raise my voice or posture he turns to mush. He does not like to do wrong and often is caught up by his own over excited behavior. Working with Luke over the years has taught me much about dogs in general as his reactions and mannerisms are bigger than life itself. He is a very nervous type and if something should happen to bump or drop on him; we can expect a big story about what just happened. It just takes one look at those eyes to know that something is up. Luke is on a perpetual conquest to greatness; his daily interactions with many are to inflate his ego. Although with maturity has come a diminishing ego and a more general happy with life attitude.
Luke is often in a state of over excitement which he has no control over. After 9 years of waiting for the whining and crying to stop before commencing I have given up. He is who he is and life it too short to win every fight. I pick my battles and pick them carefully. Luke is HUGELY affectionate; this is what outsiders miss out on and I feel privileged to have. He is without a doubt the most physically affectionate dog we have ever had. The open mouth happy huffing has become one of the most endearing behaviors that I now expect when I come home or when he is just plain happy with his life. Luke has a never ending amount of energy and is up for anything anytime.
So here are my three in a nutshell; a fabulous combination. And although I have touched on their individual personalities there is much more to each of them. I would love to hear about some of the personalities that you live with.