Hey Rover, Topic 2. – Move Your Body so I can understand you.
One thing I haven’t had to use too often is submission and dominance stances. Dogs will use these often to communicate with each other. Watching dogs and their stances can save you problems, so be willing to use these clues also. This is their language.
I’ve done a modified “doggie bow” to initiate play with dogs. I put my hands on my knees and stick my “butt” out in mimicry and the dog will jump around as if to say, “OK let’s play.” In dog agility, I stick my arm out and say “out;” Balloo, my Sheltie, moves away from me. Or I pull my arm close to me and he comes back when I call.
Other things that can be done are ignoring jesters and turning and moving away. That is, moving away from a friendly, nonaggressive dog. Jumping and wanting to get in your face are signs that your dog wants to get close and have our attention. It can be irritating and the response would be to walk away, not giving what your dog wants. Yelling gives them attention. Pushing them away also gives them attention.
Here are a few more tips: Turn your eyes away, don’t stare, back up slowly and don’t turn your back on any aggressive dog even if they only seem fearful. Fearful dogs can bite too.
Overall, watching dog stances can save you problems. As an illustration, I was bitten in the back the leg by a passive fearful dog. He came running up to me barking, but didn’t get near me. I was near the fence and thinking I could get there turned my back to walk away. Once I did that, the dog ran in, bit me and backed away as I turned to face him. Therefore, the moral of the story is, don’t turn your back on a passive fearful dog.
Another example: I was looking for an outdoor cat during a pet sit, Thinking the cat was in the neighbor’s yard, I walked over to their property when a pit bull came running, barking at me. Thankfully, the dog stopped right in front of me growling and snarling, Afraid that I was going to be attacked as per the dog’s posture, I started to back away very slowly, keeping my head lowered and my eyes averted as a submissive dog would do. The pitfall did not attack, but turned around and walked back to his house. That was really scary. Never turn your eyes or body completely away from a dog. You are giving him permission to attack.
Here are a few other things to watch. Hackles raised? Are tails straight and stiff or loose and wagging? Ears up or back or neutral? Do dogs place their heads over other’s neck or back? Watch for all of these things and realize that this could escalate into a dog fight. After all, we are the ones who need to be wise and be safe.
To conclude, there are books on dog behavior available in the library or to purchase. Also, there are pet behaviorist that can be a great help for dog problems.