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dog body-language - and why it matters so much...

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by leashedForLife, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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  2. CarolineH

    CarolineH PetForums VIP

    Aug 4, 2009
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    Years ago, when I opened my mind and decided to get more educated in canine body language, my world opened up as well! :) I wish I had learned it sooner and you know what? It is so simple to learn as well! It helped me train my own dogs as I learned to recognise stress instead of 'just assuming', it helped me teach people with theirs because I was able to show them what their dogs were actually conveying and it even helped me to catch shy and difficult to catch dogs when I was a dog warden. ;) The downside of course was the fact that I did not enjoy dog shows of any sort so much as I could pick out all the ones who were stressed by their handlers actions or the atmosphere. :( That was balanced out by those who were happy and relaxed though as of course, dog shows whether beauty, obedience or agility etc are not the problem, the handlers were because of their own lack of knowledge where canine behaviour and body language. :rolleyes:
    Lion Dog Kgosi, Salstar and fernlady like this.
  3. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

    Feb 14, 2010
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  4. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

    Jan 22, 2010
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    I've just read a few sections from the links & can see I have alot to learn. Can anyone recommend a good book for me ....(I much prefer to read from a book than the screen!)
    HJC and kenny10 like this.
  5. Inkdog

    Inkdog PetForums Member

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Two of the best books on this subject:

    Barabara Handelman - Canine Behaviour: A Photo Illustrated Handbook
    Canine Behavior: A Photo Illustrated Handbook: Amazon.co.uk: Barbara Handelman: Books

    Brenda Aloff - Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide
    Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide: Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog: Amazon.co.uk: Brenda Aloff: Books

    If you buy a copy of the Handelman make sure you get the 2nd edition, the print quality of the photos has been much improved.
    #7 Inkdog, Mar 12, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  6. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

    Jan 22, 2010
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    Brilliant - thanks for that
  7. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    thanks so much to the mod(s) for the sticky! :thumbup:

    body-language is so important, and newbies miss it except for Huge Signals -
    like growls, lunging, bolting in panic, and so on; where if they can see the early signs,
    much heartache is prevented. ;)

    --- terry
    Lion Dog Kgosi likes this.
  8. Inkdog

    Inkdog PetForums Member

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Another useful article on the importance of reading our dog's body language whilst we're out training, playing, etc: stress
  9. Inkdog

    Inkdog PetForums Member

    Dec 5, 2009
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  10. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    excellent article! :thumbup: loved the photos -
    the one were the dog is looking away to the left upper, described as More Concerned?
    notice the HACKLING over the shoulders + the tapering point running toward the spine...
    that fuzzy-look on a smoothcoat is subtle but alarming.
  11. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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  12. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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  13. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    YouTube - CU: Snap demos relaxing on mat and off-switch game

    this is *leslie mcDevitt* demonstrating her Control-UNleashed techs, including a cued relaxation-response,
    rewarded by the chance to chase and kill a fake-ferret on a fishing-pole.

    she asks for lying quietly, making soft eye-contact -
    she also specifically asks-for + GETS blinks; exhale (sigh); squinty-eyes / soft gaze; still tail.
    she marks the blinks specifically, also the still-tail.
    because of the general reactivity of a terrier-X and in the herding-type (the other ancestry of this dog) to MOVEMENT,
    the arousal-triggered rapid short wag of the tail is a real telltale for the dogs excited state.

    when after the exciting kill-play with the fake-ferret, he tries lying BESIDE the mat not on it, she says, *Cheater!* ;)
    + sends him to the mat.

    she also waits for a still tail + squinty-eyes before (again) rewarding him for relaxation with
    the opp to grab the fake-ferret on the fishing-pole.

    all my best,
    --- terry
    #16 leashedForLife, Mar 21, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  14. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    *trish king* speaking at Marin Humane Soc

    pt 1 - YouTube - Fear in Dogs part 1 / 6: Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    the amygdala and its enormous affect
    * not reasoning; not logical
    * strong emotional-associative memories
    * instinctive fears: sudden movement, certain sounds, etc.

    the amygdalas function is to keep us safe by reacting way-before our cerebral-cortex ever could; its too slow.
    coevolving with humans has greatly-reduced the automatic-fear response of the dom-dog amygdala.
    young-pups are now highly-affiliative toward humans, where wild-canines are not.

    pt 2 - YouTube - Fear in Dogs part 2 / 6: Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    the window of opportunity for socialization + habituation:
    other species treated as *family*: 3-weeks to 16-WO approx.
    primary-socialization: 5 to 6-weeks (in the nest) to 12-WO
    secondary socialization: 12-WO to 6-MO
    (secondary-socn = more work as input for markedly less-results as outcome;
    the more socn and habitn is done by 3 to 4-MO, the better by far.)

    fear is the root of most aggro; humans do NOT read fear-signs well.
    many mislabel *fear* behaviors as dominance -
    or label truly bullying-dogs as *frightened* which they are not :(
    (thinking a bully is a poor sweet scared baby can be JUST as dangerous as labeling a spook *dominant*.)

    poor-socn or trauma in puphood or adolescence can mean lifelong after-effects.

    pt 3 - when fear leads to aggro
    YouTube - Fear in Dogs part 3 / 6: Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk

    pt 4 - YouTube - Fear in Dogs part 4 / 6: Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    severe fear cases: 2 clips
    notice the lip-lifting over the incisors - both dogs do this,
    the 2nd to such a degree that he lifts the end of his nose up.

    breeds likely to show fear-based behaviors vs breeds less-likely

    pt 5 - YouTube - Fear in Dogs part 5 / 6: Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    what ppl do WRONG with fearful-dogs

    things to keep in mind around fearful-dogs
    * they have No Conscious Control of their fear -
    fear controls THEM, not they it.
    Modifying the behavior of fearful-dogs
    * stay under threshold

    pt 6 - YouTube - Fear in Dogs part 6 / 6: Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    socializing + habituating the fearful dog
    The Younger The Dog At The Time Of The Trauma, the Worse the Prognosis.
    Qs + As
  15. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    pt 1 of 7 - YouTube - Dog Introductions, part 1 of 7: A Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    human misconceptions + preconceptions
    * not all humans grok dogs
    * not all dogs R social with other dogs
    * most dogs dislike SOME dogs, some dislike MANY dogs, and a few dislike ALL other (name a class) dogs

    physical appearance can affect a dogs reaction (friendly, worried, snappy) toward another dog.
    learning from past-exp *will* affect a dogs reaction to similar dogs.

    pt 2 - YouTube - Dog Introductions, part 2 of 7: A Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    trail greetings - video of OFF-leash greetings, watch their behavior -
    arcs, curving bodies, tentative approaches the last few feet, etc.

    at 1:22 WATCH the red-pit-X: see the hackles? across the shoulders + also in a wedge at the tail.
    NEXT is a Rhodie-X, older-F shes pacing indicative of pain in her rear;
    again, HACKLES at her rump and onto her tail-head, altho she greets politely.

    at 2:28 there is a rather *fraught* encounter - watch the cream-colored Golden-X run toward the newcomer, she is way-too intent + head-down, charging; her tail is still, she is very stiff, she gets too close.
    her tail goes high, stiff and slow-flags; when they all wheel and run toward the camera, at 2:44 she gets a hard direct STARE from the Aussie, whom she is shouldering and crowding.

    at 3:35 she and the GSD + shaggy-B+T all meet a near-white Lab-X -
    again the cream-Golden-X is stiff and pushy, but the Lab-mix stands very still; things don;t really start to relax until 3:50 when the GSD breaks off to stand side-on, wagging with mouth open.
    at 4:01 she is still standing at right-angles, looking DIRECTLY at the Lab-X, who is avoiding her gaze; the other 2 have already left.
    at 4:08 she BODY-blocks the dog by standing crosswise in front of them -
    *trish says, thats so cool... the way she just stopped that dog...

    (i found it threatening myself, *interesting* to watch but not friendly - fluent! ;) yes,
    but not a social gesture, a stiff anti-social behavior.)

    his head is up, he is looking above her head and to the left; his mouth is closed, ears are pinched,
    and tension evident. she looks-away, his mouth opens, he relaxes minimally; she gets right in front of him again - watch her HACKLES rise, shoulder + rump. then she gives a short conflicted bark, and bounces off. (finally... whew! poor dog, :lol:)

    another video: 6:05, merle-Aussie-X, Sibe-Mix + Strider (the normally calm M GSD)
    a very BAD series of 2 greetings -
    the 2 teens meet first, then the Sibe-X bounces all over Strider,
    he tries to escape + is pursued, then gets cornered by both teens, he mounts the Sibe-X + is ignominiously dragged off her, and then the 2 teens get in his face, the Sibe gets up on hindlegs and snaps at him, the Aussie-X gets into the melee, + Strider loses it... loud angry barks.

    pt 3 - YouTube - Dog Introductions, part 3 of 7: A Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    ON-leash greetings: always problematic!
    handlers directing the dogs approach + pace, leash inhibits free movement, arcing is almost impossible, etc.

    OPTIONS when meeting off leash:
    * offer to play
    * flee
    * Fight
    * freeze
    * fool-around
    fool-around is AKA tend - befriend, most-often seen when Fs are involved, intact-Fs or desexed-Fs both;
    RARELY seen in intact-M encounters, but may be seen when desexed-Ms meet others.

    on-leash unless it is permitted,
    the dogs cannot play, nor can they flee -
    FIGHT + FREEZE are the only options left for M-dogs, unless they are meeting a F (or possibly desexed-Ms) when fool-around is a possibility.

    the Dance of the Dogs -
    allows circling, keep LOOSE leashes; keep leash betw each handler + respective dog, not entangling or restricting.

    pt 4 - YouTube - Dog Introductions, part 4 of 7: A Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    this is an intro between a BC-x (white w/patches, docked) Female and a Golden-x (B+T short-legged heavy coat) Male.
    this is the ONLY dog she liked; notice SHE is stiff, he is loose-bodied; SHE wants to push, flirt + stare,
    HE wants to play + loosen-up. he refuses to engage her stares + allows her to stiff-arm + paw him w/o protest.
    [she also disliked children, went to a farm or ranch home, only dog/no kids, happy placement. ]

    *Question about possible tiff?
    * Q about dog play-styles:
    does this affect GREETING styles? oh, Yes...
    dog breeds act very differently, behavioral profiles + greeting-styles can vary wildly.

    trish points-out that SOCIALIZATION needs to be to a broad range of Dogs, dog-types, ages, sizes, colors, coats, prick ears vs drop vs airplane vs cropped, docked vs tailless vs brush vs whip vs sabre, etc.
    SOCIALIZATION must also be to a wide range of *humans* -
    infants, toddlers, kids, teens, adults, seniors; fat, skinny, tall, black, white, brown, red, yellow; short, stocky, loud, silent, every ethnic diet, any accent or language; walking, hobbling, skipping, running, wheelchair, cane, walker.

    pt 5 - YouTube - Dog Introductions, part 5 of 7: A Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    LESS calm intros:
    teen-M pied-pitbull-X with Strider
    introduced on-leash at a former seafood-plant in a large fenced yard, things seem good if a bit rushed,
    then they drop leashes and POW - he plows right into Strider, very pushy, very intrusive, persistent, plows thru the ppl, grabs, mouths, mounts, paw-jabs, etc.

    fence-intros: why they are usually not a good idea
    * used when we are REALLY uncertain of temp
    * need to do very careful orchestration of *each* dogs approach to the fence
    (not shown in this video, which was for DEMO purposes to show how fence-aggro Kojak the Rott is)

    Kojak is OFF leash; he rushes the fence, stands face-on, STAREs, hackles, freezes, growls
    at Mollie, who is a tricolor BC or Aussie-mix, whippy F-adult -
    she barks back at him angrily, very defensive + unhappy, complete failure as an Intro.

    Kojaks threats are intense + serious; Mollie is thoroughly aroused in response.

    pt 6 - YouTube - Dog Introductions, part 6 of 7: A Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    Kojak at the fence, reacting to an unseen dog off-camera -
    hunkered, threat-barking deep chops, hackles up, teeth shown.
    Kojak has GOOD body-awareness when playing with humans, but once aroused so intensely
    by this black Golden x Lab, he ran right over *trish; he has also DISPLACED * AGGRO from a dog (intended target)
    to a human, TWICE since ETA at the shelter onto a potential adopter.
    he cannot bite THEM? and U try to interfere? FINE - he;ll bite U.
    Kojak is leash-reactive + has BARRIER frustration, so between the 2, he is very difficult to intro.
    he reacts TO the fence and he reacts ON-leash; he pulls AND he over-reacts to the mere sight of a dog.

    Kojak went to rescue to preclude habitual dog-aggro which WOULD have developed in the shelter environs, with kennel runs + fences all around him.

    4:15: fence-greetings gone bad...
    moving a M-Dal into another pen, with approx 13 dogs of all sizes, all off-leash;
    the Dal is overwhelmed, they are threat-barking before he even gets to the gate,
    he enters + is surrounded, his lips go up, he snarl-barks and spins, clearing the space around himself.

    barrier-frustration is a combo of several factors:
    frustration, arousal (self-stimulating) and SAFE -- "behind a fence, we can Act-Out. :D cool!..."
    its addictive + damages behavior vis-a-vis other dogs.

    Qs re Pia Sylvanis talk a few months ago
    * Mounting As An Agonistic Behavior
    * mounting as a conflicted behavior
    TK: "easy to over-simplify" -
    PS also said -dogs don;t make noise drg play-.
    in TK exp, some breeds / individuals DO have noisy play - some don;t.
    similarly, MOUNTING can be habitual, arousal, status, hyper-excitement, social klutz, etc.
    U need to observe the individual to parse it out.

    pt 7 - YouTube - Dog Introductions, part 7 of 7: A Marin Humane Society Brown Bag Talk
    TK: does not allow mounting
    risk of injury, many dogs do not appreciate it, etc. (rude, basically)

    Q re PS talk:
    PS does not allow HER dogs to greet other k9s on leash, or even make eye-contact
    nor does *trish except when working at the shelter with a known asst handling the other dog.
    when on TRAIL if TK sees another dog(s) On-Leash, her dogs go back on leash immed.

    problematic dogs with far too-much energy/intrusiveness + poor self-control;
    teach lowered energy first (Luke, TKs dog) then teach increased self-inhibition.
    RooH likes this.
  16. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    elapsed time: Nov-16 to Dec-28
    be sure to click on MORE * INFO - the homework for her owner is outlined there.
    the dog is a young-adult 50#-plus F-Golden who launches with force- she has HURT several ppl,
    causing serious injuries; getting her to stop jumping is a safety-issue.

    pt 1 of 6 - November 16, 2008
    YouTube - #1 Layla - modifying 'dog jumping up' behavior-session #1 of 6
    long tether on the wall to limit access

    pt 2 - November 22, 2008
    YouTube - #2 Layla - modifying 'dog jumping up' behavior-session #2 of 6
    its been 6 days - shes already on a front-clip harness + 6-ft leash

    pt 3 - November 30, 2008
    YouTube - #3 Layla - modifying 'jumping up behavior' session #3 of 6
    owner had flu; no homework or training over 8 days; change lesson plan
    her attn to her handler has improved enormously -
    she is in a street-scene on leash + front-clip harness, with multiple kids moving,
    on foot + on scooter or skateboard.

    pt 4 - December 7, 2008
    YouTube - #4 Layla - modifying 'dog jumping up' behavior session #4
    she has had good homework over the prior week -
    she is OFF leash with multiple children indoors (kids = prior powerful trigger)
    for the first time, approaching persons TOUCH her - but she maintains her sit + looks at her handler.
    she holds an off-leash sit-stay while handler + an adult shake hands;
    she watch them walk away without chasing or jumping on them.
    at 2:03 she is hand-cued to DROP + does,
    but on the way down, she wipes her paw down the handlers shins -
    her first AND * LAST inapropos contact for the entire session!
    but her rear stays on the floor, and so are all 3 feet other than that left forepaw.
    she stays DOWN while the adult-helper pets her head + back.

    at 2:51 her M-running-partner shakes hands with the trainer, then does JUMPING * JACKS -
    and Layla stays in her sit! :thumbup: good girl...
    she never made any contact with any of the stooges, only ONCE pawed her trainer.

    pt 5 - December 14, 2008
    YouTube - #5 Layla - modifying 'dog jumping up' behavior - session #5
    staying calm at the door - a HUGE former trigger; on-leash + front-clip harness

    pt 5.5 - same day
    YouTube - #5 1/2 Layla - modifying 'dog jumping up' behavior
    same setting: inside door at home
    leash is DROPPED - stand on it for safety when door opens -
    the multiple visitors are now talking + singing at the door (pre-Xmas 2008)

    pt 6 - December 28, 2008
    YouTube - #6 Layla - modifying 'dog jumping up ' behavior #6 of 6!
    real-life street scene, no more stooges; Layla can walk on a loose-leash past friendly strangers
    (previously impossible) and even sit-stay for pets; she SNIFFS at some passersby,
    but makes no attempt to touch them, let alone jump-up.
    #19 leashedForLife, Mar 24, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  17. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Training Dogs with Love - Oprah.com
    the hard-part for Oprah is KEEPING * HER * HANDS * DOWN!... :lol:
    as a trainer, that drives me bonkers, since in combo with eyes-on-eyes, it lures the dog right up off the ground...
    and then the eejit-human says, see?! i told ya, the $%#@ dog Will Not Stop jumping!... :rolleyes:

    this is an excellent start, tho... :thumbsup:
    --- terry
    #20 leashedForLife, Mar 24, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2010
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