Not everyone wants to play like this; and that's okay.
I love watching how Elsa interacts with her friends. Each one is very different and as such, interactions are different. On Wednesday, Lucy came for a visit; Yogi did not because he is still healing from his neutering procedure. Lucy and Elsa have been friends for a long time but their interactions are much more subdued than Elsa and Yogi.
Elsa's friend Oaklee who she sees regularly at the park is a quiet girl. Elsa and Oaklee enjoy each other's company but do not play. They hang out and walk together and that is what their relationship is. Every single dog is different.
When Elsa joined our home she was dog #4 in our pack. She very quickly learned how to deal with all except Jessie. Jessie was confusing to her because of her dementia. Each time Jessie and Elsa came together, Jessie acted like it was the first time they'd met; in Jessie's head it was. Jessie did not give appropriate feedback so their relationship was a strange one. One that needed my constant supervision.
Supervision is so important when new dogs interact. Not only supervision but close watching and reading. Much can be seen if you really watch. Signals are thrown around at lightening speed and if you are not watching, you won't know what is going on.
Dogs have an amazing ability to learn how to interact with different dogs and change their behavior. Elsa had to change big time as Luke grew older. When they were first together, much of their day was spent full on brawling and playing tug-o-war. The change was slow but drastic from brawling and slamming into each other to just being. Watching her adjust to life change and expectations was amazing.
I have never had a dog so adept at reading as Elsa is. Even in Luke's very old age, he wanted to play. He would say something to Elsa, something that I was unaware of and she would immediately get into her "let's go" mode. She would cozy up to Luke, wrapping her tail around his neck to entice him into play. It was very short lived but even two days before he passed, they played.
Like many dogs, Elsa sometimes requires a feedback from me. Having Penny as a regular playmate she can rough house like a WWF wrestler. Sometimes she forgets who she is playing with when it is not Penny. That is my job to remind her. When our dogs play, it is our job to make sure that the play is fun, for all involved. Some dogs that she interacts with will not tolerate play at all, so that must be enforced. Coming together does not always mean play, but simply coexisting. It is essential to monitor and read all interactions.
Penny (bull terrier) was required to learn difference quickly. What was okay with Elsa was NOT okay with Luke. When she was very small it was harder for her as all she saw was blonde legs. But it didn't take her long to figure out who belonged to what legs. What was okay and not okay for Luke and Elsa. They are so smart.
Like us, each is an individual. Our relationships with friends are all different and so are theirs. Time spent with their friends will be varied. It is important to know what each accepts and make sure that your dog understands this.
Leave a comment, I love to hear from you.