? About Canine Body Language

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 1st, 2006, 9:32 am

Okay, so I never thought Inara had a grasp of canine body language. Since dogsitting, I've realized she does - she knows to approach and turn her side to the dominant dog, roll on her back, drop to the ground and lift her nose towards it, etc. But my question is this - she is not acknowledging the other dog's body language - the growls, snaps, and snarls. Is there any way to teach her that when a dog is doing that it means harm to her? And is there any way to teach her to politely approach new dogs? She just wants to immediately start playing and wrestling with them.

I feel like these are very basic questions, but I'm not real sure how to teach her that. She was taken from her mom when she was only about 5 or 6 weeks old, so I don't think that helped her language development at all.

Thanks! :D
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Postby SisMorphine » July 1st, 2006, 9:37 am

Hmmmm . . . I'd be interested in hearing the answers to this one myself. I really don't know much about puppies and their development beyond the 12-16 week period.

I have friends who make me come to their house with Wally because he is a PRO in schooling puppies. I also have a dog who boards here, a lab named Alpha (ironically) who is a SUPER dominant dog, but very appropriate in her corrections. When I get a puppy I will be sure he gets plenty of "Alpha-time" so he turns out right.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 1st, 2006, 9:41 am

Yeah, I think part of the problem is even though I socialized the hell out of her (still do!) by taking her everywhere and meeting lots of dogs, she never got a chance to play with an older, well-behaved dog that would correct her for her rudeness. And now the only person with a dog that's a little older is the nasty aggressive one we're dogsitting now. :| I shouldn't say she's nasty and aggressive - she's very friendly and submissive to people, but they never socialized her so she's very dog aggressive.

Too bad you live too far away from me Sis - I'd love to have Wally teach her some manners!
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Postby Maryellen » July 1st, 2006, 9:54 am

it sounds to methat she is being submissive with her gestures.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 1st, 2006, 10:14 am

She is extremely submissive to other dogs - but she will keep persisting through the hostile return behavior like she doesn't understand the other dog would chew her up and spit her out. :| I'm pleased she's submissive, but I fear she may actually get hurt someday since she is so persistent with begging and demanding play/wrestling.
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Postby SisMorphine » July 1st, 2006, 10:20 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:She is extremely submissive to other dogs - but she will keep persisting through the hostile return behavior like she doesn't understand the other dog would chew her up and spit her out. :| I'm pleased she's submissive, but I fear she may actually get hurt someday since she is so persistent with begging and demanding play/wrestling.

My friend's pug puppy is the same way. Wags his little bum after Wally gives him a correction and goes back for more a few times before finally giving up.

We just tell Darwin (the pug) that he's a dumb blond.
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Postby msvette2u » July 1st, 2006, 11:43 am

But my question is this - she is not acknowledging the other dog's body language - the growls, snaps, and snarls. Is there any way to teach her that when a dog is doing that it means harm to her? And is there any way to teach her to politely approach new dogs? She just wants to immediately start playing and wrestling with them.


It sounds like sometimes she does want to "submit" and other times she doesn't. :| I see this with my own dogs. It all depends on the dog and who they are submitting to. I don't think I've met a dog yet that is submissive to ALL dogs. It just depends on the other dog and the situation.
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Postby satanscheerleader » July 1st, 2006, 4:18 pm

I've seen this ALOT in pits. Leah was harsh like this. What I would do is leave a drag line on her and when she was being inappropriate {ie: making the other dog uncomfortable enough to be bitchy} is *I* would correct her with a leash snap and "ENOUGH" and eventually "ENOUGH" was often enough. lol It seems like some of them just need the mediator in the middle as they are more responsive to humans than dogs corrections sometimes. The other dog always appreciated it as well because they saw the people "protecting" them so they actually seem to be a little more tolerant because they know you will come to their aid.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 1st, 2006, 8:53 pm

Maybe that's what I'll start doing. I just don't want her to think she's getting corrected for being friendly towards dogs - she's such a lover right now and I'd hate to do something to change that. :)
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Postby Maryellen » July 1st, 2006, 8:56 pm

sometimes i have to step in w/ the foster pups w/ sonny ,he doesnt want to correct them, so i step in and do it for him.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 1st, 2006, 8:58 pm

This may be dumb, but how do you correct them? With a leash like satanscheerleader does?
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Postby Maryellen » July 1st, 2006, 9:37 pm

yep.. just like she does.. all my fosters are on leash the first week to 2 weeks they are here.. i leash correct, and , if they are off leash i go up to them and make them stop, and say no _____
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Postby satanscheerleader » July 3rd, 2006, 2:25 am

The other thing you can do is try using redirection or a combination of both correction and redirection. And remember, correction doesn't have to be a punishment, just a "command" can be used that is more like an "out" than a punishment, the leash being used to either get her attention or for physical control to remove her from the situation enough so she can focus on a redirection. Timing is everything for stuff like this to.

For instance, with Arez, she was a crazy drivey puppy, but I was lucky enough to have her from the get go and to have already had a few "practice" dogs to screw up on {sorry Venus and Marz :oops: lol}. What I did with her was when she was doing something she shouldn't I just picked her up, said a simple as a matter of fact "No", gave her a toy while saying "Get the toy" and made it all exciting and fun so the toy was more exciting than what she was doing. The correction was simpley the "No" and the removing her from the situation, was the redirect, the fun of the toy with the command to get it. No punishment or negativity involved at all and with repetition Arez is now like Pavlov's dog with it. No matter how excited she is when something is going on, if I say "get the toy" she will redirect happily.

It was a little different with Leah because she was older and denser. lol She needed a bit of a leash snap just to get her attention but she wasn't punished. Once her attention was gotten and she acknowledged me she was praised and redirected.

Depending on the dog, you may have to vary the tecnique because you don't want to be a "bully" yourself and make it a negative for a soft dog but you want it to be effective for those meat heads that take a bit more to get their attention.

Pits are funny. I think sometimes they are so excited to get to the playing, they want to get all the doggy body talk over with fast. Forget the small talk and get on to the fun! Arez's goes through all the body language at high speed. HERE'S MY BUT. SNIFF IT. OH YA. THAT'S YOUR BUT. I'M TURNING TO THE SIDE. LOOK I MEAN NO HARM. I'LL GET DOWN LOW. HIGH SPEED PLAY BOW NOW LET'S ROCK! lol
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Postby lipshipsattitude » July 5th, 2006, 7:19 pm

I see so much of this topic in Rory. She has been socilaized a GREAT deal but with the same 5 dogs or so, not really any new ones. She is the baby of our lil dog family (meaning my immediate families dogs) and hasnt been subjected to dogs who are trying to tell her to get lost. When we visited my cousin in Fresno her German Shepherd was displaying warning signs but Rory wasnt registering them as such. She just wanted to play and would do the same as mentioned in the above posts, trying to be subbmissive. Thankfully she respnded to my "gentle" command that we use for kids and such but that isnt a sure solution.
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Postby rockermom » July 5th, 2006, 8:39 pm

Rocky also does this type of behavior. He will get submissive but continue to be a pest. The dogs tell him off and he gets submisive but trys again. in play sometimes trying to hump. I just pull him off or tell him to get off.
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Postby Malli » July 6th, 2006, 2:59 am

Oscar also does this except he is dominant.

when he was younger, we would never head warning growls or behavior that clearly said "I don't like this any more". Unfortunately, I did not have the forsight to do what SCL does. If I could repeat, I would now...
To compound the issue, Oscar plays HARD and ROUGH so he irritates well above his fair share of other dogs.

Unfortunately, now his solution is to start a fight with any new dog who snaps, growls, or otherwise exhibits "I've had enough" behavior" - wich can be instant, since Oscar likes to leap on his buddies.
He is much more tolerant of dogs he knows (almost too tolerant) and seems to be able to head warnings much more easily.

In his case, I think it is a case of a dominant pit bull with some bad language reading skills.
Funny because he is SO good at reading people...

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Postby rockermom » July 8th, 2006, 11:06 am

satanscheerleader wrote: HERE'S MY BUT. SNIFF IT. OH YA. THAT'S YOUR BUT. I'M TURNING TO THE SIDE. LOOK I MEAN NO HARM. I'LL GET DOWN LOW. HIGH SPEED PLAY BOW NOW LET'S ROCK! lol


Very similar to ROcky's style. Rocky will usually stop dead allow other dog to sniff. He will cautiously turn and watch them sniff. THen he sniffs if other dog is ok with it. lETS gO!
We have experienced with an older female who said leave me the F alone. Rocky being the kid did try again and she told him off. He back talked and left her alone.
Rocky has never played with dogs his age so I think his behaviors are child like and the older dogs have had enough they tell him off and Rocky will walk away and then try again. Eventually he gets the hint.
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Postby DemoDick » July 8th, 2006, 1:13 pm

But my question is this - she is not acknowledging the other dog's body language - the growls, snaps, and snarls. Is there any way to teach her that when a dog is doing that it means harm to her? And is there any way to teach her to politely approach new dogs?


If Inara is a Pit Bull, I'd just keep her separated from other dogs. If she decides to turn on during one of these interactions you're going to have a real mess on your hands.

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Postby satanscheerleader » July 8th, 2006, 4:23 pm

Yup. This is one reason why with most of my dogs and fosters, I use so much redirection to inanimate objects. Many times a dog telling them off can be a trigger for a fight quite easily. Especially with Nyx and Arez although even with them it's different. Nyx gets pissed off and dominant and Arez just thinks the fun has begun!
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