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Steven_L
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PostSubject: Your dogs body language   Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:04 pm

Knowing how to read your dog's body language is the key to understanding your dog, assessing her attitude, and predicting her next move. Because dogs are non-verbal - their body language does the talking for them. Vocalization actually takes second place to a dog's body language. Once you learn these basic types of dog body language, spend some time observing dogs interacting with people and other animals in various situations. Understanding of dog body language can also help protect you and your dog from dangerous situations as well as aid in training or identification of common behavior problems.


Confident

The confident dog stands straight and tall with her head held high, ears perked up, and eyes bright. Her mouth may be slightly open but is relaxed. Her tail may sway gently, curl loosely or hang in a relaxed position. She is friendly, non-threatening and at ease with her surroundings.

Happy

A happy dog will show the same signs as a confident dog. In addition, she will usually wag her tail and sometimes hold her mouth open more or even pant mildly. She appears even more friendly and content than the confident dog, with no signs of anxiety.

Playful

A playful dog is happy and excited. Her ears are up, eyes are bright, and tail wags rapidly. She may jump and run around with glee. Often, a playful dog will exhibit the "play bow" - front legs stretched forward, head straight ahead, rear end up in the air and possibly wiggling. This is most certainly an invitation to play!

Submissive

A submissive dog holds her head down, ears down flat and averts her eyes. Her tail is low and may sway slightly, but is not tucked. She may roll on her back and expose her belly. A submissive dog may also also nuzzle or lick the other dog or person to further display passive intent. Sometimes, she will sniff the ground or otherwise divert her attention to show that she does not want to cause any trouble. A submissive dog is meek, gentle and non-threatening.

Anxious

The anxious dog may act somewhat submissive, but often holds her ears partially back and her neck stretched out. She stands in a very tense posture and sometimes shudders. Often, an anxious dog slightly whimpers or moans. Her tail is low and may be tucked. An anxious dog may overreact to stimulus and can become fearful or even aggressive. If you are familiar with the dog, you may try to divert her attention to something more pleasant. However, be cautious - do not provoke her or try to soothe her.

Fearful

The fearful dog combines submissive and anxious attitudes with more extreme signals. She stands tense, but is very low to the ground. Her ears are flat back and her eyes are narrowed and averted. Her tail is between her legs and she typically trembles. A fearful dog often whines or growls and might even bear her teeth in defense. She may also urinate or defecate. A fearful dog can turn aggressive quickly if she senses a threat. Do not try to reassure the anxious dog, but remove yourself from the situation calmly. If you are the owner, be confident and strong, but do not comfort or punish your dog. Try to move her to a less threatening, more familiar location.

Dominant

A dominant dog will try to assert herself over other dogs and sometimes people. She stands tall and confident and may lean a bit forward. Her eyes are wide and she makes direct eye contact with the other dog or person. Her ears are up and alert, and the hair on her back may stand on edge. She may growl lowly. Her demeanor appears less friendly and possibly threatening. If the behavior is directed at dog that submits, there is little concern. If the other dog also tries to be dominant, a fight may break out. A dog that directs dominant behavior towards people can pose a serious threat. Do not make eye contact and slowly try to leave. If your dog exhibits this behavior towards people, behavior modification is necessary.

Aggressive

An aggressive dog goes far beyond dominant. All feet are firmly planted on the ground in a territorial manner, and she may lunge forward. Her ears are pinned back, head is straight ahead, eyes are narrowed but piercing, tail is straight and full. She bears her teeth, snaps her jaw and growls or barks threateningly. The hairs along her back stand on edge. If you are near a dog showing these signs it is very important to get away carefully. Do not run. Do not make eye contact with the dog. Do not show fear. Slowly back away to safety. If your own dog becomes aggressive, seek the assistance of a professional dog trainer to learn the proper way to correct the behavior. Dogs with aggressive behavior should never be used for breeding.

By Jenna Stregowski, RVT, About.com

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PostSubject: Re: Your dogs body language   Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:22 pm

i struggle with the concept of HAPPY.

Happiness is a human emotion. A so called happy dog that is alert, watchful, confident and wagging its tail is surely just in a state of anticipation - expecting something good to happen.

1st example: rover sees his master coming up the path after work - he runs to greet him, tail wagging etc. the master pats his furry friend on the head and continues on into the house. is rover happy his master is home? is rover happy that someone is paying him some attention after being on his own for a while? or is rover anticipating the walk that will surely follow?

2nd example: fifi sits patiently while her mistress fixes her meal. when the bowl is placed infront of her she waits for the command to get it, wagging her tail. is she happy the mistress has prepared her a meal? is she happy the meal is within her reach? or is she anticipating being given her food???

3rd example: show a dog its favourite treat or toy. dog will surely jump up and down, try to grab treat or toy, may even bark, tail wagging etc. is dog happy you have a treat for him? is dog happy you are showing him some attention? or is dog anticiapating being fed or playing?
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PostSubject: Re: Your dogs body language   Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:39 pm

If happiness is not a canine emotion, is the same also true for sadness?

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PostSubject: Re: Your dogs body language   Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:34 pm

Betterdog4u wrote:
If happiness is not a canine emotion, is the same also true for sadness?

i believe so Michael....i will explain!!!

1st example: when a puppy leaves its mom, brothers and sisters and goes to its new home you would expect it to be 'sad' - yes? it may well display the signs we call 'sadness' as in whining, being unsure of its surroundings, refusing to eat, running to hide when there is a lot of activity etc. Surely, this isn't true sadness its just the puppy adjusting to its new environment and what it is displaying is actually insecurity.

2nd example: your dog loses its companion of some years. it goes into 'sadness'. but is he really 'sad' or is he is just adjusting to not having his companion to play with, eat with, sleep with, wrestle with and get into mischief with?

3rd example: puppy has been told off for ripping dad's newspaper to bits and is in his basket having been reprimanded. he is sighing, he is whining, he is droopy eyed, he is ears down, and long faced. is he 'sad'? of course not....he is bored!!! ripping the paper was entertaining....he is making you feel guilty for scalding him and waiting for the command to come out and play some more!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Your dogs body language   Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:22 pm

oh wow..very interesting! study
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PostSubject: Re: Your dogs body language   Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:02 pm

Hey Gilly, great arguements there and wonderful observations! I think its definitely something to consider especially because anthropomorhism isn't something to be taken lightly and is unfortunately the cause of many behavioral problems we see today.

It is my belief that we can't really know for sure about emotions in dogs or animals in general because we simply don't know whats on their mind, I do believe that there is emotions that are specific to people and that conversely there must be some emotions that are specific to animals.

The happiness and saddness are definitey a good topic to consider. I do see how someone can interpret anticipation for happiness too. However on the flipside, when a person is happy isn't it usually because something good is happening (or is going to happen)? That is surely the same thing with dogs. A good question would be what is the difference between these two.

As for sadness, I'm not entirely convinced that dog's feel "guilty" especially when you scold them, I do think thats just them reacting to your behavior/tone, however there have been cases of both wild canines and domestic dogs, that have become severly depressed with the lost of a family members or owner. And while in dog's this can be viewed as 'adjusting' to not having that someone, couldn't we say that someone that is grieving for something/someone is also going through a phase of 'adjusting' to not having it/him/her?

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PostSubject: Re: Your dogs body language   Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:52 pm

I am 100% convinced by my own dogs (current and past) that dogs experience joy and happiness.
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PostSubject: Re: Your dogs body language   Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:20 pm

The whole sad / happy debate is something that uses a TON of bandwidth all over the world and I dont think it will ever be solved.

I personally feel that dog's have feelings but they may not be the same as human feelings.

In the examples used above I think the word "Gladness" would explain my dog's mood when I walk thru the door. They see the door open and they run to get a toy, and bring it to me. I KNOW they are "glad" to see me and Im sure that they are happy "joyful" to get to play with me.

Dog's live in the moment so I dont think "Guilt" is a feeling that they have. When I yell out of flustration or if I become angre at someone or something, I beleive that dogs sence this emotion and they react to it. In my case, they usually leave the room and just try to get out of the way. This isnt guilt, its just a natural reaction to avoid confrontion.

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PostSubject: Re: Your dogs body language   Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:26 pm

i agree with Michael that the whole happy/sad thing is debated widely and we may never know the answer but it made an interesting discussion Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Your dogs body language   Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:03 pm

lucysnewmum wrote:
i agree with Michael that the whole happy/sad thing is debated widely and we may never know the answer but it made an interesting discussion Smile

I quite agree! Well we'll know the day we have technology that can read dog's mind ROFL

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