Monday, April 2, 2012

Do Dogs Have Personalities?

Duh!  I think anyone who has spent any time around dogs would have to say YES!  And if you live with multiple dogs, like I do, there is absolutely no doubt that dogs do indeed have individual personalities. All 5 of my dogs have their own very distinct set of traits and behaviors.

Ripley, pictured above and below, is the family clown.  She is extremely bright, loyal, and likes to goof around.  She responds to laughter and seems to know that she's funny.  She's one of those dogs who "talks" and seems to make different noises depending on the situation. 

Ripley can be a bit bossy with the other dogs and often acts like a crabby coach when they are playing, like she's trying to tell them to calm down and quit acting like idiots.  And one of her most endearing behaviors is her love of grooming the other dogs.  My mother calls her "Nurse Ratchet" (from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), because she is both bossy and nurturing.

Ripley also has a talent for finding ticks on the other dogs.  She'll stick her nose into their fur at the exact spot where the tick is hiding out.  Then she'll pull back and look at me with a certain expression in her eyes.  If I don't investigate right away, she'll stick her nose back into the other dog's fur and repeat the whole process until I remove the tick. She's right on target every single time!

Then there is Shasta.  She's a whole other story.  She's much more subdued and serious than Ripley.  Although, as you can see from the photo of her to the right, she's got some seriously goofy expressions.  Shasta was rather neglected when I found her wandering along a rural highway.  I'm guessing she spent the first year or so of her life mostly alone.  It might be the reason she is a loner.  Although she's friendly and sweet with me, she prefers to keep her distance from the other dogs most of the time and doesn't participate in "pack activities," such as playing and sleeping together.  And when we take hikes, I have to keep her leashed because she won't stay with us and wanders away on her own.

Like Shasta, Cookie was also neglected before she came to live with us.  I started calling her Cookie because she's just so dang sweet!  She's rather shy and submissive and likes to cuddle ... despite her 80+ pounds!

She's one of those typical large dogs who think they are small.  She'd sit on my lap if she fit, but usually just has to settle with putting her head in my lap or curling up next to me in a ball. Cookie knows what the word "kisses" means and will give kisses if you say the word to her.  Fortunately, she has pretty good breath for a dog, so her kisses won't make you pass out or even turn away with a grimace.

Cookie is also camera shy, so I don't have as many photos of her as the other dogs.

And if we're outside wandering around in the woods, it's next to impossible to get any good shots of her.  I have to act quickly to get some photos of her when she decides to take a break ... but I've taken more photos of her butt than her head ... she doesn't stay still for very long!

Well, I have to get back to my "day job."  I still have two dogs to go ... I hope you're enjoying getting to know my special pals.

Please feel free to leave comments and feedback.  The only rule for posting comments is this:  Be the person your dog thinks you are!


  1. I have never shared my home with an animal that didnt have distinct personality. Cant wait to read about the rest of the pack.

    1. It's so true, isn't it? People who don't believe animals have personalities or experience emotions, have their eyes and hearts closed.


Comments and Feedback are always welcome, as long as you follow one rule: Be the person your dog thinks you are (or cat, bunny, ferret, horse ...)