My dog is an introvert. I can say this without hesitation and without question. Sasha is an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix we adopted six years ago. Because she was a rescue dog, we’re not entirely sure of her DNA, but the more I read about Border Collies, the more I see the resemblance in her behavior. And Border Collies tend to be more introverted. And she’s also different than any of the other dogs I’ve had in my lifetime.
Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, defines introverts as “those who have a preference for a quiet, more minimally stimulating environment.” As a rule, Cain says introverts tend to listen more than they talk, think before they speak and have a more cautious approach to risk.
Here are my five top reasons why I believe Sasha is an introvert:
Introverts favor interacting with people on a one-to-one basis versus in large group settings. And when they find themselves in large group settings, they are more quiet and reserved. I noticed this the first time I took her to a dog park. She immediately ran up to another dog parent and sat on the bench next to her. And if I bring a Frisbee with me to the dog park, that’s all she focuses on and she ignores the rest of the pack.
I’ve taken Sasha to a few large events in the past, and she doesn’t like it. I noticed that she started to look stressed and I moved her to a more quiet location. I think she gets over stimulated by the sights, smells and sounds. Or perhaps she picks up on my stress because I also don’t like to be around large crowds of people.
Sasha can be neutral or even aloof when another dog approaches us on our walks. Many dogs will signal interest in wanting to say “hello,” but Sasha will typically ignore the dog and make a beeline toward the owner. I have to explain to the other dog’s parent that she favors people over other dogs. And secretly I’m thinking, “Please don’t think my dog is a snob.” The exception to this rule is when a similar mix, such as an Australian Shepherd or Border Collie approaches. Then she’s eager to make a friend.
Whether it’s a Frisbee, a squirrel or a lizard, Sasha can keep her eyes and her mind focused on the target. So much so that it’s really hard to break her concentration and get her to do something else, like come in the house. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Studies show introverts find small talk tedious and prefer to have deep, meaningful conservations. I can attest that some of the most meaningful conversations have been with Sasha. She’s an excellent listener, is non-judgmental and helps me to figure out many of my dilemmas.
How about you? Is your dog an introvert? Tell me in comments!
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About the author: Cathy Weselby is a purple-lovin’ ambivert who enjoys exploring new places and ideas, the arts, humorous memoirs, collecting old magazines, and making collages. She and her husband live with Sasha, a rescued Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.