I always talk about how each dog is an individual. They have their own way about them, quirky behaviors onto themselves, likes and dislikes. They are their own dog. So getting to know your dog as an individual and not just 'a dog' takes time and attention. What one dog reacts to, another may not; each is very different indeed. I really get to see differences when Penny comes over. Although Luke and Elsa are very different from one another; Penny is that much more different than they are.
A couple of weeks ago Penny came over for Mother's Day with her Mom. We sat outside chatting; while Elsa and her charged around the yard. I thought Luke would like a snack so I went inside and got out the bag of dried fish that both Luke and Elsa love. I gave one to Luke, Elsa and then Penny. Luke and Elsa chowed theirs down immediately; Penny dropped hers to the ground and starred at it. Elsa hovered, waiting to scoop it up; so I told her to leave it. We watched Penny, it looked like she was going to drop to the ground and roll on the fish. But she didn't roll on it, she peed on it. "What the heck" I said, wondering what this was about.
I sat thinking... My daughter and I disgusted this strange behavior. We came to the conclusion that it smelled much like seaweed; something that Penny deals with several times a week. In fact Penny's favorite thing in the world is seaweed; not to eat but to tear apart. I truly believe that she though the fish was seaweed; as she picked it up and tore it to pieces. Then claimed the little pile of broken fish as hers by peeing on it. Very, very different from Elsa and Luke's chowing down of the little fish.
Watching Penny and Elsa play; their differences are very obvious. Elsa is a ball obsessed girl; the mere sight of a tennis ball sends her into an intense retrieve zone. Penny, not so much. Oh she loves the ball, but only if Elsa has it. If it is thrown for Penny, she may or may not go get it. If Elsa has the ball, that is where her interest lies. Once she gets it from Elsa, she doesn't want it anymore. Very, very different. Penny could care a less about the whole retrieving thing.
Penny is a much more instinctive type gal. She often acts before thinking, much the same as Jessie did in her younger years. She is mesmerized compulsively over glimmers of light. No matter where it is, how high, low, wherever; she will be on it. It is a common problem with many dogs. She is definitely motion triggered. Several months ago we sat outside with all three dogs. The house behind ours sprinkler went on which sent water shooting through our back fence. As it moved from one side to the other Penny shot into action. She flew through the garden fence and to the source of the water shooting between the pieces of our bamboo fence. It took a lot to get a hold of her and we had to move her indoors. Something we then had to watch for. Dogs like this need a great deal of supervision.
Even though it is wonderful to see and acknowledge differences; they are still very much the same in general. They enjoy each others company, no matter their differences. It is a good thing that Penny isn't ball obsessed; it might not be okay with Elsa if someone wanted her ball as much as she does. I can't imagine two dogs flying at the wall every time a glimmer goes by. Luke is by far the most emotional; Penny is at the other end of the spectrum and Elsa is in the middle somewhere. Difference is a great thing, it makes each special onto themselves. As a whole they are all amazing. But wouldn't it be boring if they were all the same?