This photo was taken before Elsa's big haircut (obviously.)
Last night we were sitting chatting in the living room. Luke had crawled up into the chair with me for some snuggling when his ears went up. He hopped off quickly and stood staring at Elsa who was chewing a toy. Luke had his goof face on, he was feeling frisky in the cooler evening air with his new haircut. She looked at him and as he continued to stare she grew uncomfortable. She got up and put the toy in his face with submissive ears and body posture. He on the other hand had everything up, very dominant yet playful. She knew then that he wanted the toy and they tussled around a bit for it. He ended up getting it much to her dismay.
She sat staring at him now that he had possession of the toy. Elsa pawed at his head until he could take no more; he got up and left, leaving the toy free for the taking. When she grabbed it again and pranced around with pride he got a look in his eye. He let out a small and almost inaudible bark which made Elsa stop chewing. I knew right away what he was up to, he has a history of this behavior. He ran to the door and barked a very loud "intruder" bark. She ran to him to see what was up and as she came to him he skirted around her and ran to get the toy, smart boy. He use to do this with Tilley and Jessie all the time. Once the newbie and youngest in the pack he found it hard to get anything away from the top dog girls. So he taught himself a useful lesson, bark and they will come. When they come they leave their toy open for snatching away.
With the prize in his grasp he lay down very proud of himself; that is until Elsa decided to take it back again. They played a while and she finally got it back. Luke was in a very playful mood last night; he seems to be completely recovered from his injury and ready to go. (He tweaked himself a couple of weeks ago). As he watched her chew the toy yet again I could see the wheels turning in that little head of his. He ran down into the family room and let out another huge bark and then ran back up to the living room to see if it had worked. It hadn't; she'd only looked up from her toy this time. He stood pondering.
He opted for another trick, he went to the toy basket and pulled out a bone. He lay down with it pretending that it was amazingly fun to play with. Elsa of course had to go see what he had and as soon as she did he was up and had the prize toy back again. She stood dumbfounded, he'd done it again. She didn't know about these tricks of the trade, she had yet to learn them. But as Luke sat enjoying his prize I realized that this was a lesson for Elsa, she was learning from Luke.
Luke is one of the smartest dogs that I have ever met. He is very complex yet simple. He like Elsa never misses a thing and because of this intense watch and notice trait, he has learned a great deal over the years. Elsa is very much like Luke as far as watching and learning. So much so that you can see her watching and learning on a daily basis. Some dogs like people go through life not noticing much of anything and then there are the ones who notice it all, take it in and learn. Those watchers are the most fun to watch.