We are currently honored to have three permanent dogs and a variety of visiting and foster dogs at our home. As most of you know, I'm really into animal rescue. Working as a foster has availed my husband Mark and me with the opportunity to meet and spend time with hundreds of dogs. And, it's amazing how their behavior reflects that of humans - their personalities and reactions to a variety of situations.
I have to begin with Neo, our Labradoodle. Neo is the penultimate of dogs. Handsome, confident, intelligent, his strong, assertive personality rules the roost. He doesn't tolerate any breech in protocol. What that means is that Mark is his Alpha, and in Mark's absence, I am his Alpha by default. Everyone else falls in line behind him. And, he won't hesitate to let them know when they get out of line. He's a massive dog, so his strength is never questioned. But, it's more his "inner presence" that makes him the lead dog. He's the definition of a born leader.
Then, there's Sweetie, a Pit Bull foster. She's an old lady set in her ways. She loves people but only likes some of the dogs. She's selective in her associations and is pretty much caught up in her own world. She likes long naps, food and rolling in the grass in the front yard. Thor and Neo are her two favorites, and she just tolerates everyone else. She reminds me of my mother-in-law!
Princess is my mother-in-law's dog who stays with us on occasion. She a little Min-Pin and is very nervous. She barks and makes a lot of noise, and she's all about how much she can get all of the time - whether it's food, attention or otherwise! She often competes for attention with the other dogs, often becoming too aggressive, at which point she has to be scolded.
Other foster dogs have been extreme in their personalities. One was so fearful all he would do is sit in a corner and shake, afraid of life. Another had eternal exuberance and such a joy for life that he endeared himself to us forever. He still comes to visit. (BTW, he became Thor's best pal. Makes sense, right?) Others have found it easiest to be aggressive and bully their way through life. But all of them came around to settling down because they responded to the calm, quiet but assertive demeanor that we project in our home.
So where am I going with all of this? Like I said in the beginning, I find the interplay between dogs to be as fascinating as that of the people that surround me. So many of the adopted rescue dogs that visit our home with their owners are reflections of their human owners. Nervous dogs have nervous parents; calm, assertive dogs mirror their owners; aggressive, assertive dogs are the product of their people's actions. This even extends to the differences in behavior when Mark is home and I am here alone with them. His quiet, calm but assertive personality immediately puts all of the dogs in "Beta Mode." My more serious female personality puts them more into "protect mode." It's an interesting correlation.
It's amazing to me how our animals mirror who we actually are and not always who we think we are, isn't it? Have you had a similar experience? If you have, wish you would share it.
Til Next Time,