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Just a quick question regarding body language ....

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Cleo38, Nov 19, 2012.


  1. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    This evening (quite dark) we were walking towards the reservoir when 4 black labs suddenly appeared. Roxy was quite startled but interested, one ran over to her so I dropped her lead (as being on a lead usually makes her more anxious if this happens) & she didn't kick off or snap.

    Instead she went quite still (a look I have seen before) & put her chin across the other dogs neck which I understand can be a bit threatening, the lab immediately rolled over & Roxy sniffed her & no issues. They sniffed each other & the lab then ran back to her owner. I called Roxy to me & we resumed our walk.

    She used to do this ages ago if we met other dogs & after the split second of stillness would kick off. The other dogs always backed down but I used to worry in case they wouldn't. It was only after she tried this with my friends dog & he didn't take any of this & snapped back at her. Immediately she went very submissive & I began to realise that her behaviour seemed to suggest that she was sorting of getting in first but if the other dog stood it's ground she would instantly back down.

    I was really glad that in tonights incident this did not result in Roxy snapping at the other dog, I realise that she would have been (sort of) justified as the dog did not really greet her but charged over but I still did not want her returning to old habits or becoming worried about other dogs again.

    In case of furture occurrences what would be the best response if this happens again? Should I interrupt her doing this to another dog? Should I let it continue? I wouldn't want her to think that snapping at other dogs is ok (& reverting to old behaviours) but I do not want herto be uncomfortable with the behaviour of another dog who approaches her & invades her space

    Sorry if this sounds like basic behaviour management but we have worked so hard to get to the point we are at now that I would hate to make a stupid mistake & cause her anxiety to increase again.

    We rarely meet dogs when out so I sort of forget how I should approach these things :eek:
     
  2. The chin over the other dog's neck can be either play or (hate using this word) 'dominance'.

    I have seen Dex do it a few times to other dogs, and I have seen other dogs do it to him. The dog it's being done to will sometimes snap or growl and usually that should warn the other dog off.

    I'm no expert, but I would think that if your girl does it a lot, you might want to step in and try and train a different sort of greeting. If you need expert help then I would recommend getting an experienced trainer in but of course only if you think your girl is having repeatedly 'tense' greetings etc.
     
  3. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Believe me this is a MASSIVE improvement to how she used to 'greet' other dogs! :D

    I agree that she is sort of challenging them but as I said, it used to end in her snapping, growling & barking but tonight it didn't. I just didn't know if maybe I should be interrupting this behaviour or it was 'acceptable' in this case when another dog ran over & was 'in her face'
     
  4. blitzens mum

    blitzens mum PetForums Senior

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    i've only experienced this the once when a husky cross came and did it to my blitz, unfortunately it was an agressiive issue that resulted in the owner getting bitten whilst trying to get her dog off my dog
    fortunately my dog didn't get hurt but was very badly scared and is now quite terrified of big dogs
     
  5. GermanShepardOwner

    GermanShepardOwner PetForums Senior

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    It can be seen as a very intimidating behaviour to other dogs, BUT some dogs do not actually mean any harm by this at all. You need to look at other aspects of the body language aswell, hackles, tense body, tail, ears, lip curl etc.

    I personally would not interupt the behaviour as i like to let dogs try to settle the issues as most of the time it does not come to anything and the dogs sort it out themseleves, there communicating and IMO it is needed for them to feel comfortable with eachother. She didnt bite or snap, was merly a warning.

    Obviously you need to keep a very close eye as other dogs may not be as willing to back off, but aslong as you know body language and keep an eye on both dogs i wouldnt worry.

    Keep working on appropriate greetings etc.
     
  6. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I agree that sometimes interfering can escalate situations that would usually sort themselves out - as this did. I think I worry at times that she will regress & old issues will resurface when in reality this is all speculation.

    In the past, if another dog did take 'offence' at this Roxy would back down immediately. I always worried that a fight would break out but she would never carry on anything. My friends dog who 'told her' off several times for this when they met for the intial few times & she instantly backed off. That's why I think she acts like this at times to sort of try & assert herself first - if that makes sense .... maybe not!

    I think maybe this was quite an intimidating situation initially for her as all of a sudden these 4 dogs appeared from no where (very difficult to spot black labs in the dark!), & one ran straight over to her which does unnerve her a bit if she is on a lead.
     
  7. Redice

    Redice PetForums Senior

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    I think that a dog putting its head over the shoulders of another dog is sometimes done in play but can also be done as a sign of dominance which the other dog may submit to, may growl an objection or rise to the challenge of a battle.
    I would think that if the other dog immediately went submissive then it was done for dominance rather than play.
     
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