Unique Personalities in Our Dogs

December 01, 2017

--by Julie Morrill with input from Sawyer Tarkington

Canine temperaments are fascinating. Although you might have some idea of what a dog’s personality will be, based on the parents, even in a single litter you’ll find an array of variations in disposition.

When Labs are puppies, we see a lot of happy, goofy silliness. Puppies grow so fast that they are often clumsy and have to learn to adjust to their changing bodies. They are also fun to watch as they try new things and learn from their experiences of success and failure. Most are resilient and setbacks here and there don’t faze them at all. A few express what looks like genuine embarrassment when they make a mistake and must be comforted with lots of love and petting to build up their confidence again. Some possess early maturity and an eagerness to learn that is more common in older pups. Some are a little developmentally delayed before things start to click for them. Some have fears that appear out of nowhere and must be gently, lovingly and patiently trained to coax them out of those fears. Some have funny quirks and obsessions with things for no apparent reason, like Tal, who has an odd obsession with towels (She's crazy about them!) or Eagle, who stares into your soul like she knows all your thoughts and feelings or Betty (aka "Betty Boop"), who acts like an 8-month-old puppy, even though she's over 4 years old and is a sweet and tender mom to her pups. Dogs are a lot like humans in that they are distinctly unique in their own special ways.

Most Labs you might meet at our kennel are outgoing, sociable extroverts that need other dogs and humans to pump them up with energy. Thankfully, most have an “off switch," which means they can calm down and relax after they've had their excited active time, running and playing around. All of our dogs thrive on the excitement of meal times, exercise outings, meeting other dogs, and visiting humans. Most bark and jump around enthusiastically. Even their sociable personalities are not all alike, though. Some would rather hang out with other dogs; others choose human companionship.

In the midst of all our extroverts, we have a handful of introverted dogs that require their alone time. These more subdued, peaceful dogs include Joey, Missy, Aspen, Bailey, Rose, and Eagle. They shy away from the noise and chaos of all the other dogs and hang out together in their own separate groups. They seem to understand each other. In fact, these dogs are so quiet, they seldom bark at all, except for Eagle who will give an occasional quick, sharp warning to other dogs that might try to sneak morsels from her food bowl. All of these dogs are also especially calm and reserved, except for Missy. She’s always quiet, but after a reenergizing nap or meal, she comes alive by noiselessly, yet animatedly hopping about with a happy smile on her face. (And it really does look like she's smiling!)

I always found the phrase “Dogs are people too” a little ridiculous, but it may not be so ridiculous, really. Dogs may not be human, but they’re not "just dogs" either. That is to say, they truly possess very distinct personalities and I can honestly say that each one I know is an exceptionally unique individual.

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