A weekly blog wherein I show how I can relate almost everything to dog.
This weekend the movie Deadpool, based on a popular foul-mouthed ninja-esque gun wielding assassin comic book hero, comes out in theaters. It has great reviews and I have heard great things about it but when the first few trailers came out I was put-off. I have strange and varied movie tastes but I was never really into comic books, assassins, or fart-jokes, all of which I associated with Deadpool and apparently also tween boys. My exact words when asked what I thought of the first trailers from my ecstatic friends were…
“Nah, it looks like it’s for 12 year old boys”
And that got me thinking about how it is both normal and acceptable, although a little discriminate-ey, to say something like that. Almost everyone I interact with is an adult and I don’t familiarize myself much with the “tween” range of society. And I feel like I know even relate even less to boys because I was never one.
The thing is we are all pretty much okay with this. Now I’m not allowed to behave aggressively towards tweens but I supposed it would be acceptable in some groups for me to be rude to them to boss them around when deemed appropriate (“Get off my lawn!”).
It would be less acceptable for me to do this if I were a dog…
…And they were adolescent dogs of course. We hold dogs to some unrealistic standard of friendliness where they should tolerate and express mutual interest in all manner of dogs that are pushy, obnoxious, or simply have nothing in common with them. We do this much more than we do ourselves. Your 6 year old lady Cattle Dog has trouble relating to Deadpool as much as I do, if Deadpool were of course 8 month old dogs that have a lot to learn.
Here are some normal and natural things that influence how your dog gets on with dogs they meet…
Age - Mature dogs play less and are more selective. Much like people, who start off making best friends with whoever is on the playground and develop into forming long-term bonds with select individuals. Dogs and people both develop clearer ideas about who and what they like as they grow up.
Breed — Some breeds, working breeds in particular, can be less playful. This varies by breed function too. This can be compared to personality in people. Some people are very sociable and fluidly interact with lots of people, the social butterfly. Some are more reserved, only sharing with close friends. Some are downright hermit-ey.
I picked Cattle Dogs here as an example because they are a breed that, when mature, has a fairly low success rate in dog daycare. They are intense driven dogs that intrinsically love to herd. As they get older it often becomes more fun for them to herd other dogs (which the herdees typically don’t appreciate) than to play with other dogs. And if they have their choice to leave dogs they’re not particularly fond of alone of herd them around, guess what they choose?
Gender — In dogs it is usually opposite sex pairings that work well into adulthood which is generally true to people as well. Adult humans are most likely to live with an opposite-sex partner and have a same-sex best friend (which is where dogs and humans differ here).
Play style — Or possibly common interests in people. Some dogs like rough play, some lazy play, others solo play with a toy. Some dogs only feel comfortable playing with dogs that they know well or who introduce themselves in a certain way.
Social experience — This can’t go without saying. Dogs who have really great social skills, who are fluent in dog so-to-speak, select different playmates than those who have less experience. They may actually be pickier because they are better at sussing out “rude” behavior in other dogs but they are also much better at finding and recognizing dogs that would like to socialize with them. Less experienced dogs tend to “test the waters” with many dogs, sometimes to their disadvantage, and they are also slower to realize when a dog is just not that into them.
In all honesty your dog is likely stereotyping just as much as I am when it comes to sizing up potential doggy interests. And also if I was a more sociable person (I am far from social butterfly) I would probably have not jumped to classifying “12 year old boys” as such. Just like the more experience your dog has, the more likely they are to assess other dogs based on behavior alone. And, just like your dog, I can change my opinion about a group or interest upon learning more about it… but we may never warm up to fart jokes.
And if you’re curious, here’s the trailer…
R RATED — NSFW