Does Your Dog Have a Best Friend?
We mean besides you of course. Does your dog have a best ‘dog’ friend – someone they play with, go on adventures with, share trouble-making schemes? Is it another dog in your household, a neighbor dog, or someone they play with at the dog park?
Jack and Maggie are both loners. They don’t interact with each other very much and rarely with other dogs. Jack ignores all other dogs now and Maggie is interested, but usually keeps her distance.
This is quite different than our dog Sally and even Tino. Sally loved every person and every dog she ever met. She had a particularly amorous relationship with Rudy, a big beautiful Borzoi she would see each morning on our run. I’ve written about their love affair before, but they really were besties. She never developed another relationship like that with any other dog – I guess they were soulmates.
Tino was a loner. He and his brother Bernie were obviously buddies, but when Bernie passed away just weeks after we rescued them, Tino lost his friend. He and Sally never developed a tight bond – it was more mutual tolerance – much like Jack and Maggie. I think Tino’s best friend was our neighbor’s dog Lucy. Lucy would come for play dates and Tino love chasing her around. He was also particularly watchful of our other neighbor’s dog Buddy, but they never really had an opportunity to play as Buddy was pretty old and Tino much too young and rambunctious.
In an article titled “Can Dogs Form True Friendships with Other Dogs” from Dr. Stanley Coren who frequently writes about dog psychology, he finds that even though recent research out of Washington University into the social structure of wolves found their social interactions could be described as uneasy alliances between individuals with both shared and conflicting interests, it’s quite different for dogs:
“In the thousands of years since humans first domesticated dogs we have genetically manipulated them to socialize easily and to show friendliness almost indiscriminately. Dogs that have been properly socialized will congenially approach virtually anything that is alive, regardless of its species, and, unless they receive hostile signals, they will attempt to establish a good-natured relationship.”
What do you think? Do you agree? Does your dog have a best friend?