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Different relationship types?

Discussion in 'Sheltie Chat' started by GlennR, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. GlennR

    GlennR Premium Member

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    Willow seems to have different behaviors depending on who she's interacting with. It's like she's assigned roles to the people she deals with the most. There's no doubt she loves everyone in the family but she does react differently to each of us.

    For my wife, she loves to play with her, whether it's tug of war or fetch, she's enthusiastic. However, Willow doesn't really initiate any cuddles with her and may even back away if my wife tries to pet her.

    For me, she'll play games but nothing competitive, no tug of war but she will play fetch and chase games. She will crawl up into my lap and cuddle when she wants contact. This morning when my wife opened Willow's crate to take her out, she ducked under my wife's hands and leaped up on the bed to snuggle in against me. She didn't resist when my wife picked her up to go though.

    For my youngest son, who's currently living with us as he finishes off his post-grad studies, she's somewhere in-between. She doesn't seek out his petting but will allow it. They play lots of rough and tumble games.

    So, is this a normal sort of division? Do other Shelties categorize their people?
     
  2. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Premium Member

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    Well, your whole family is her flock, but you are obviously her shepherd!!! :ROFLMAO:

    All 3 of our dogs are affectionate with both of us, but Brooke gravitates to me and Faith to my hubby. Eli is equal opporunity. One thing Brookie does with me that she does not do with my husband, is she rubs on me like a cat, especially in the morning. She will intertwine herself around my legs, rub past my legs, push on me with her forehead. Very cat-like.

    I think since you are her primary caregiver and are home with her every day, she's naturally a bit more bonded to you. It will be interesting to see if anything changes as she matures.
     
  3. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

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    I am Gavin's sheep!
     
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  4. Sandy in CT

    Sandy in CT Premium Member

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    We have the two dogs and 3 cats. I would say I am queen bee to all 5 and the rest of the family, hubby and 3 kids, are underneath me. Brodie is not a cuddler, one thing I wish he was. But after our first doxie died, Kooper became so very dependent on me that he cried terribly if I was out of sight. He isn't my lap dog, he is my shoulder dog if I am on the couch (he crawls up on a pillow to get closest to my head). For the last 2 years, he's been more like an added appendage than a separate entity so I guess it is good that Brodie has some independence.

    I can do pretty much anything with Brodie, but he's pickier with everyone else. He will play fetch with me for hours, but if hubby tries and I am around, he brings back to me. I can pick him up any time, but everyone else, he might back off a bit - humans are so very offended by that back-walk the shelties do so well! If I am not around though, Brodie will play awesome with hubby - if Kooper isn't around.
     
  5. Margi

    Margi Forums Enthusiast

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    I'm on sheltie #6 and have yet to see one that is a "treat everybody the same" kinda dog. As the breeder said a while back--they can be quirky.
     
  6. GlennR

    GlennR Premium Member

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    Those offended humans very definitely include my wife. The standard poodles we had loved to be petted by any obliging human.

    Here's a picture from today, just for the heck of it, of Willow guarding her soccer ball while watching TV. Her coat is really filling out.

    https://photos.smugmug.com/Animals/Willow/i-tkfLZbR/0/71970b39/XL/2019040915362134-IMG_1588-XL.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
    Sandy in CT, Calliesmom, Ann and 2 others like this.
  7. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    We've had more than 10 Shelties over the past 35+ years and I can honestly say that it is absolutely true that they put members of their human herd in different categories. As the primary caregiver (aka food person) in our house, I'm very popular at mealtimes, and they all belong to me then! But Lacey is definitely hubby's girl and looks to him for cuddles and lap time. She sits at the window and waits for him to come home. Checkers is independent but mine, as is Sprite and to some extent, Ruffles although she will also favor hubby with special cuddles. The younger ones all look to hubby for play time -- he's the go-to guy for fun and Flurry is most excited of all for him to come home for play time. When they're hurt or not feeling good, they want me.

    I see the same thing when our kids and their kids visit. Some grandkids are favorites; the toddler can be sniffed but avoided. Our older granddaughter is the favorite with all of them for play time, a younger one for mooching food and herding.

    Clearly, we all have our roles in their little doggie heads!
     
  8. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Forums Enthusiast

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    Willow is maturing into a beautiful girl! Love her colouring!
    I agree, all my dogs will let me do everything to them and are my shadows but they definitely have their favorites. Except Piper...he loves everyone and will go to my mom for a cuddle (she hates this...you HAVE to pet him or he'll head butt you :ROFLMAO:) when I'm working.
     
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  9. Calliesmom

    Calliesmom Moderator

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    I don't get to see that since I'm all that mine have on a regular basis....
    they do get to be spoiled by granpa some but they all know that he's a pushover........................
     
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  10. MissyGallant

    MissyGallant Premium Member

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    At our house, I'm the nurturer- the one they run to when something is loud and scary or something hurts. Hubby is a big old toy. He is the fun one. I am the one they run to for a cuddle. I feed in the morning and he usually feeds in the evening. Rocket is 100% my boy. Clarabelle is 100% my husband's girl. The rest go between us.
     
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