Aslan and Pax have had ups and downs in their relationship in the past, and so, not surprisingly, Pax isn’t often willing to play with Aslan. And when he does participate, Aslan’s play style isn’t particularly fun for him. Aslan plays very much like a lion — grabbing at back legs and other moves that would be practice for later hunting and fighting behavior. This makes sense, since Great Pyrs have, for two thousand years, guarded sheep flocks from bears and wolves.
Today, however Pax and Aslan really played — and they played in a way that was clearly fun for both of them. It’s not often that you see Aslan willing to roll over on his back, but each of them took turns in that vulnerable position. Their play was quiet and — for them — remarkably gentle. It was truly PLAY.
Pflouff very much wanted to be part of it, but the other dogs didn’t want to play with her right then. Since letting her continue to try to butt in would have ended the play session between Pax and Aslan, I held Pflouff at the sidelines and tried to convince her that she wasn’t being abused by being left out.
When Pax and Aslan took a break, Pax lay down with a toy called a Kong Wubba (which is my favorite name for a toy EVER). That was Pflouff’s invitation. The toy can be both a chew toy (with an awesome squeak) and a tug toy. Pflouff grabbed one end, and they played a delightful game of tug. Pax doesn’t always want to share his toys with her that way, but he was totally into this.
After a couple of minutes of tug, Aslan came back. They tried to all three play together, but without the tug toy, Pflouff was going for Pax’s ears. At the same time Pax was trying to “defend” himself from Aslan. It really wasn’t fair to Pax, so I took Pflouff onto the sidelines again (much to her vocal dismay). Another round of gentle, fun play between the big dogs ensued.
A couple minutes later, Aslan went outside. So Pax and Pflouff played together again. When Aslan came back this time, I took Pflouff upstairs for a drink of water — Hey! She learned how to drink out of the toilet! My, she is a big girl! — and her first heeling lesson.
Now we’re all downstairs, and everyone is crashed out at my feet. I do love it when there are happy dogs in the house.