The Kid and IWhat is your dog telling you?From: Small K-9 School Luiza Small (519) 395-4335 Dog Obedience Trainer/Behaviorist/Owner The Kid and I/ Be-A-Tree Licensed Presenter Dogxercise K-9 Drill Team Do your Research Consulting Testing and Selection of Dogs/Breeders Homemade treats and dog/cat food Kids Helping K-9s Club Board and Train
INTRO Feelings:Do dogs have feeling? No, they do not have feelings like jealousy, guilt or spite. However they do have a complete range of emotions- same way a toddler does- loss, joy, obsession, happiness, they forgive but not forget. A dog that starts a fight with the dog an owner is petting is just reacting to threat in its environment. It is not jealous but trying to protect its valuable resource- the owner.
How do dogs show their feelings/emotions? • With every part of their body. • By looking carefully at the dogs’ body and surroundings, you can tell a lot on how the dog is feeling. • Most people think that a wagging tail means that a dog is Happy. • As you read through this information you will start to better understand what it is your dog is trying to tell you and how. • It is very important to see the dog as a whole, not to isolate individual signals. It is the overall posture and the context in which the dog displays the signals that you must consider when making a decision about a dog’s state of mind at any given time, eg. Tight leash, toy, food, puppies, ect…
How does a dog show that it is happy? • Pouncing • Barking-excitingly • Tail wagging at mid range –tail wagging at a high position means- happy dominance which can lead to a dog fight or a bite.
When does a dog show that it is happy? • Food/treats, • Game/toy • Greeting of a family member or an animal friend • Car rides/walks • Visiting places where good things happened.
When would a dog be unhappy, worried or stressed? • Threat of losing a toy/bone/ or any other valued (important) possession • Being yanked/pulled on the leash • Strange dogs/people/animals • Strange/scary objects/noises • Being hugged/kissed, scolded/threatened • Going to a place they do not like-vet/kennel/groomer • Babies/young children • Being chained/tied up/kenneled
Mouth, open slightly, no teeth showing and happy panting. Relaxed, happy body position, lying with one paw tucked under. Enthusiastic tail wag or thumping on floor. Play bow (front end down, rear end up, tail wagging/strait up with a wag- in this case tail up is OK).
Anxiety/WorriedThe dog is uncomfortable with the current situation… One paw raised - very cute - but the dog is not happy Half moon eye - dog just wants to be left alone. Watch for this one when kids are mauling the dog or giving the dog hugs and kisses.
Any out-of-context behavior like… • Yawning when not tired • Licking its face without the presence of food • Turning head away (Half Moons) • Sudden scratching /biting at itself/sniffing the ground or other object • Whole body shake when not wet • Barking and walking backwards/hiding behind person or object • Dog rolls over on back –submissive-please don't hurt me! • Tail between legs and wagging • Tail low and only the end is wagging (Fear) • Ears sideways • Ears back and frantic panting or mouth closed • Dog goes into another room away from you and pees or poops • Dog gets up and leaves an uncomfortable situation
All dogs should have a safe place, such as a crate or mat that they can go to when they want to be left alone. All family members and guests should be taught not to bother the dog when it’s in his safe place.
Arousal/Alert Dog is interested in something, or trying to decide on what to do next.
Ears forward Mouth closed Eyes intenseBody rolled forward/tenseTail high (may or may not be wagging), or slow deliberate tail wag
Aggression The dog is acting in a bullying way. Growl/snarl a “WARNING” sign-respect it. Never punish a dog for growling-you might not get the warning sign later. A dog will guard its own possessions or sleeping area, owner is also considered a possession, against family members or guests - this is very dangerous. Snap and miss (the miss was intentional) a “WARNING” sign, the dog may/will not miss the second time. Aggressive barking and does not respond to a quiet command. Lunging on or off leash, with barking/growling
Bite (other than playful puppy nipping by a puppy) Dog raising its tail when you or child approaches it is a “WARNING” sign –keep in mind breeds with naturally raised or curled tails - e.g. pug, husky, etc.) Dog peeing intentionally in the house or on your possessions is a sign of dominance. Do not confuse this with a submissive behavior or house training problem. Clear message!!!
Dog freezes - becomes suddenly stiff Dog stands with front legs splayed, head low, looking at you Dog curls lip to show teeth Stop all interaction with dog, look away (no eye contact and no talking -the dog may take this as a “CHALLENGE”, and attack) and give dog the opportunity to leave.
Panting Dogs pant for many different reasons. So it is very important to know why the dog is panting. • Excitement – like you throwing a ball, giving a special teat or going for a walk. • Anxiety (worried) - frantic breaths means the dog is feeling a lot of stress. Panting eliminates some stress and anticipation of what is about to happen.
Watch out for dogs that are not panting but should be.A dog that is NOT panting but should be is not releasing its stress, there for it is more dangerous. Excitement ANXIETY Excitement Relaxed Eg. Lots of running, exercise, hot day ANXIETY
Ears are too fluffy or too long. If you cannot tell what the dog is doing with its ears, look for other “CLUES” to help you. Like happy panting, relaxed posture, etc… Do not assume the dog is friendly if it can’t express its feeling with its ears.
High tail and wagging This usually accompanied by a play bow means a fun game will take place.
If the tail is up higher than the dog’s back this may mean the dog is happy but is showing its dominance-“Warning Sign” not necessarily a “Happy to see you sign”. Be safe by keeping away.
Freeze and stare This is a strong “WARNING” sign to “BACK OFF”.
Do not “STARE BACK”!!! In a dogs world this means a challenge- that you may lose. Look at the ground and become a log/tree.
Yawn Dog yawning has nothing to do with them being tired. It is one of the diffusing strategies dogs use to avoid a stressful situation or show submission (surrender). If a dog’s tongue hangs out more than usual it means the dog is anxious about something. Eg. When two dogs meet and one is acting in a dominant (bossy) way, the other will try to diffuse the situation by looking away and yawning.
Licking ChopsAnxiety/Worried Two reasons… • 1)The dog wants what you have…hamburger, hot dog, etc… • 2) Anxiety-worried about something. This often happens when a dog is wearing a new harness or colors, • OR • when kids are hugging and kissing a dog that does not like that. This should be a clear sign to BACK OFF!!!
Yawn/Licking Chops This is a feeling of conflict. A dog does this when it wants to do something and is not allowed to or wants to have something and cannot have it. Happens a lot, in obedience classes
Ears SidewaysWorried This should be a good indication to stay away from the dog. If the dog is friendly but worried to see you the best thing to do is to ignore the dog. No talking, no trying to touch the dog, no looking at it. The dog will come to you when it s ready.
Ears Pulled Back Fear. Most bites (90%) happen not from aggression but from fear. So this is a good indication to walk away.
Wagging There are three ways we know the dog is happy when wagging its tail, 1) Going around like a propeller 2) Full body wag 3) Gentle tail wag-no higher than its back A frantic speed wag may mean two things 1) Happy excitement 2) Nervous excitement It is always a good idea to look for more “CLUES”.
Tail between the legs Fear/Submission Fearful dogs usually arch their back and tuck their tail to appear smaller- which is to show they are no threat.
High Tail Dominant - authority like mom or dad. When dog meet each other with high tails a fight is more likely to happen. Sometimes a tail sign can be misunderstood when a dog carries its tail high naturally.
Picture from www.doggonesafe.com A dog that puts its tail up to a child when playing or otherwise, should never be left alone with a child!!!
Eyes/Half Moons One thing you should know about eyes… Anxiety/worried. This happens when the dog tries to avoid eye contact but tries tokeep the threat in view. This happens a lot when a child is mauling the dog and the dog is not enjoying it. Most parents think it is cute…it is not!!!
It is not fair for a dog to put up with a child’s abuse. You do not know when the dog will reach its breaking point and snap. Now that you know, you will see this again and again…
Hard Look I am not comfortable! I don’t know you! My guy!!! • A “WARNING” sign.
Look away and stare at the ground. Be very, very still...till the dog goes away. Be a Log/Tree. One more thing you should know about dog’s eyes- they cannot focus on objects closer than 30-50 cm in front of their faces. So never try to scare the dog by jumping in front of it. The dog might bite by accident. This is more of a reaction bite not aggression bite. Dogs also have greater field of view due to the position of their eyes, but less in binocular vision.
Head LowSubmission/Fear Low head and paw lift Stop whatever you are doing and let the dog come to you.
Turning the head awaySubmission. The dog is trying to avoid eye contact.
Head Low And Wrinkles Around The Eyes • The dog thinks you are a threat. Picture from www.doggonesafe.com A “WARNING” sign
FurFluffy fur- Goose bumps cold. But mostly this will happen when the dog is angry or it thinks you are a threat. A “WARNING” sign.