Dogs amaze me, especially Miss Elsa. She has the ability to remember anyone she has met in the past. This includes humans and other dogs. She has a huge number of "friends" who are on a list of great playmates. Elsa use to love all other dogs even if she had never met them before; but after being attacked she is very particular with whom she plays with. Friends are always welcome; that is until yesterday.
Elsa has a fairly new friend; if you follow my instagram or Facebook then you have already seen him. His name is Atticus and he is a Great Dane puppy. Elsa met him at eight weeks of age and at that point in time he was placed on her "friend" list. She adores puppies because she knows that they are non-threatening. So Atticus was in.
July of this year we took care of Atticus for a week which was wonderful. A live-in playmate for Elsa, what could be better? They had a great time, playing all day long. But since then she had not seen Atticus. With a very busy summer schedule we just did not get together again, until yesterday.
Elsa ran down the stairs when Atticus along with his Mom and Dad came in. She was thrilled to see him, that is for the first few minutes. Being that Atticus is only 6 months of age he is still a bit apprehensive when they first get together. Elsa is a force to be reckoned with when you are her friend. Playing is her absolute favorite thing so as soon as you get here, it's game on.
Atticus ran around a little unsure and Elsa stopped with any interest in him. I assumed it was her normal reaction to his apprehension but when he pounced at her; she gave him a very serious warning. Of course this caught my attention and I watched. Elsa picked up a ball and got heavily into her retrieving; she wanted nothing to do with Atticus.
Elsa had clearly recognized him the second they arrived; this is all done through scent. We went inside after a bit as it was so hot out and things got worse. Elsa was very obviously not thrilled with Atticus's presence, strange. She always loves her friends; she has never turned a friend away, EVER. I watched with great interest as she let Atticus know that he was not to come near her. She was very clear with her warnings and made them more intense if he did not heed them.
What was going on? This was very strange indeed, and I wish that I had thought to video some of the warnings but I was so enthralled with watching that I forgot until it was over. I would say that her negative feelings towards our guest lasted about 20 minutes until Atticus helped her. The only thing that I can think that changed how Elsa felt about Atticus was his sheer size. He had been smaller than her when they last met and he was much, much bigger than her yesterday. Although he smelled like Atticus, he did not look or sound like Atticus anymore which through Elsa.
Both Atticus and Elsa offered amazing canine communications. She let him know how she felt and he understood without a doubt; keeping his distance and looking at her from around the corner of the couch. When he got a little more confident he stood staring at her; she starred back with a clear message. He inched towards her seeing how far she would let him come. Elsa gave him a warning bark but the intensity had changed and he knew it. He got closer and then play bowed, AMAZING. She dove off the couch and was wagging at him relaxed.
Atticus took his time, he was very careful about approaching her. Her greeting had been very serious and she had lay down the law with a heavy hammer. It was like a dance as they spoke back and forth with very little barking; that is until all was good again and Elsa got into her high pitched "I love playing with my friends" barking.
Elsa has never, ever had to deal with such growth with a friend. She clearly knew that it was Atticus but due to his sheer size felt the need to set new ground rules. Everything changed in two months; in her eyes he was no longer the goofy little puppy that could get away with anything. For twenty minutes things were very tense; poor Atticus didn't know what had changed but he had new rules to learn and abide by.
After Atticus did his play bow, things got happy, crazy very fast. From "don't touch me or come close," from Elsa to lets brawl only minutes later. It was quite fascinating and I was pretty much in dog behavior heaven. :) It was very important to let Elsa speak her peace. She was by no means going overboard with her warnings and Atticus got her message very clearly. It was amazing to witness.
Atticus is going to continue to grow; I could not believe his size yesterday either. His head and feet are giant, but the difference will not be as much as the last two months. Plus we plan on continuing to get together more often. I'm sure Elsa was just as shocked as we were to see the size growth in Atticus; but it meant something different to her than it did to us.
By the time they left she couldn't get enough of him and all was back to normal. :)