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Willow's rules of engagement

Discussion in 'Sheltie Chat' started by GlennR, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. GlennR

    GlennR Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2019
    Ontario, Canada
    Willow moderates her play with dogs based on their ability to keep up. I like to think of it as her sense of fair play but it's more likely her attempt to keep them engaged. If she leaves them too far behind they give up so she slows and waits for them.

    She does a similar sort of "fair" play at home when she adjusts her speed to her slow humans. Also, she will rotate who she asks to play with in the evenings, alternating between my wife and my son. She doesn't ask the same human to play twice in a row but rather goes to the one who didn't play with her last time.

    Well, if it's a technique to get more playtime or if it's an attempt to be fair, she does it just the same.

    Here she is running with a lab this morning. You can see her slow and wait for him in both clips, more so in the second.



    So, what do you think, does she do this to be kind or has she learned how to maximize her playtime? :)
    Ann and Calliesmom like this.
  2. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    Southern California
    I'm sure she IS kind, but I think she's clever - has figured out as you say, how to moderate her play to keep the other dog engaged. My two would sure love to tear around with her!
    Ann, DianeP and GlennR like this.
  3. Margi

    Margi Forums Enthusiast

    Nov 2, 2012
    Corona, AZ
    Animals showing empathy/sympathy is well known. We just don't get to see it very often or maybe miss it if we do...
    In the last few years I've been struck at Fillion's concern for Koko. It started soon after Koko was having trouble getting around the block on our walks. Fillion would suddenly put on the brakes--like a donkey sitting down, jerking my arm backwards. This effectively stopped me of course. I would get so mad at him! "What are you doing?? Stop stopping!" I would say. I finally figured out he was doing it for his dad. If I was going too fast and it was hurting him, Fil would slow me down. He will move to Koko's side and match him step for step. At the pace of snail. If its just Fil and Benson on the walk he never does this, he trots along normally. (Benson is O-blivious regarding Koko, btw)

    So I think Willow is doing a bit of both. She wants to play but is aware of her playmate's abilities and adjusts accordingly.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
    Hanne, Calliesmom, Ann and 4 others like this.
  4. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    Southern California
    Elijah was completely concerned about Brooke in her illness. He would go lie right by her to lend comfort, turning to look at us. it brought a lump to my throat.

    So sweet what Fillion was doing. What a good boy.
    Hanne, Calliesmom, Margi and 2 others like this.
  5. Ann

    Ann Moderator

    Feb 25, 2008
    Western Connecticut
    I agree that it's a bit of both. She certainly seems to be maximizing her play time with the lab, but also being considerate. But the alternating playmates at home is definitely Sheltie smarts! Give one a rest and pester the other one. Sprite, who lives for ball time each afternoon, will start pestering my hubby when he's home instead of me, her weekday target. She knows he'll cave. And he does!
    Hanne, Sharon7 and Calliesmom like this.

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