Dog Language and empathy
Gryffin often demonstrates empathy by tending to other dogs, being especially in-tune and responsive to human emotion, and exhibiting an attentive-caring kind of protection over other dogs . . . ear cleaning can also be an act of appeasement, assistance with a grooming task--triggered by odor coming from Odin's ear (cleaning it, tasting it). Maybe Odin needs another ear cleaning!? I mistakenly deleted the 2nd photo that I wanted to share with you, where Gryffin tending to our West-highland terrier, Reya, who is not loving her blow-dry. Gryff crawls up onto the groom table and nestles near her and licks my hand to let me know he's not sure about it, maybe get me to stop what I'm doing. In my experience as a therapy dog handler, evaluator, and trainer; generally speaking, empathetic dogs tend to be good candidates for therapy dog work. Some dogs seem to naturally have it, while some others can be cared for (trust and bond building) and trained in a manner that encourages those behaviors.