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Dog Body Language Quiz (How well can you read your dog?)  RSS feed

 
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How well do you understand your dog's body language? Here is a little quiz, post how many you got right and if any were new to you.

What do the following canine gestures mean?

Tail set (for breeds with typical tails):
1) High set over back. Also high set over back with just the tip wagging
2) Low tail that lays against their back end, or even between their legs
3) Medium set tail that wags broadly level with their back

4) Yawning when interacting with a person or other dog (not related to sleep)

5) Eyes glancing sideways when being engaged by a human or dog, similarly head turned to the side along with the eyes (often referred to as "looking guilty")

6) Lip licking usually combined with glancing sideways during an encounter (when not giving/receiving affection)

7) Staring directly at a new person/other animal with the head slightly lowered

8) Briefly shaking their whole body (like after a bath, but when there is no contact with water)

9) A brief short snort when engaging with their human or other dogs(without a physical reason such as dust)

10) Putting their head over a strange dog's back when meeting the for the first time, resting their chin on the other dogs back (doesn't apply to dogs that know each other well and frequently play together)


Answers below, while there is of course some variation between dogs it typically means the same thing when displayed by the vast majority of dogs. Also some breeds give off far fewer signals especially to strangers, my Anatolian does not give off calming signals or visible warnings to "up close and personal" strangers at all, if they cross the line they simply get bit or if they are lucky snapped at.
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Tail set (for breeds with typical tails):
1) High set over back. Also high set over back with just the tip wagging
Answer: Dog feels confident and at home on that territory. A high tail with just the tip wagging relays extreme confidence/dominance and can signal possible aggression towards a stranger.

2) Low tail that lays against their back end, or even between their legs
Answer: Fear/anxiety/uncertainty

3) Medium set tail that wags broadly level with their back.
Answer: Friendly/loving/welcoming.


4) Yawning when interacting with a person or other dog (not related to sleep)
Answer: Mild calming sign, used by dogs to say "Please relax, you are making me uneasy" or even "Stop staring at me, it makes me nervous".


5) Eyes glancing sideways when being engaged by a human or dog, similarly head turned to the side along with the eyes (often referred to as "looking guilty").
Answer: Stronger calming signal often used when they are worried about conflict/aggression from another. It signals the dog does not want problems and has no desire to start trouble (but if pushed especially by a stranger it could provoke a bite) It also explains why dogs look "guilty" when their owner accuses them of something they didn't do.

They also understand when you make those gestures, when meeting a shy dog, or dealing with an aggressive dog, glancing sideways and turning your head slightly to the side relays your passive/good intentions and can do a lot to put a nervous/worried dog at ease.


6) Lip licking usually combined with glancing sideways during an encounter (when not giving/receiving affection).
Answer: Same as above, it is an expression of anxiety and says "This situation makes me uneasy".

7) Staring directly at a new person/other animal with the head slightly lowered.
Answer: Hunting/stalking behavior or "I am about to kick your ass".


8) Briefly shaking their whole body (like after a bath, but when there is no contact with water).
Answer: Calming signal after a slightly tense encounter, or intense play. A way of saying "Let's slow things down a bit, it is a little too much".

9) A brief short snort when engaging with their human or other dogs (without a physical reason such as dust)
Answer: Annoyance. You did or said something they don't like, or you are not doing something they want you to do.

10) Putting their head over an unknown dog while standing during an initial encounter/meeting, resting their chin on a strange dog's shoulders  (between dogs that do not know each other well)
Answer: "I'm the boss of you and I would be happy to prove it" often followed by aggression if the other dog is not submissive. Dogs that get along very well sometimes use it as a play invitation which is completely different. Getting in a dog's face, or leaning over them, is a very dominant move (if the dog doesn't initiate that level of closeness don't do it, it is very rude in the canine world). Small kids are particularly bad about putting their face right in a dog's face and that is often why some kids get bit in the face  




Fun Fact: Scientists now say dogs that have been bred for specific tasks and have a high aptitude for that task (i.e. herding, hunting, tracking, guarding, etc...) actually get a dopamine rush when they perform those tasks. It makes them feel so good they want to do more of it. Downside to that also applies to less desirable behaviors such as dogs that were bred for fighting.
 
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I only got number 3 and 7 right. I guess I didn't know my dog as good as I thought.
 
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The quiz didn't mention the short sneeze/snort they do when romping. I have always heard that this was a sign of playfulness, especially when roughhousing with their humans or with other dogs, and treating it as such, I have never been surprised by aggression.

-CK
 
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Is this the yawn you're talking about in number 4?  

4) Yawning when interacting with a person or other dog (not related to sleep)
Answer: Mild calming sign, used by dogs to say "Please relax, you are making me uneasy" or even "Stop staring at me, it makes me nervous".





That photo was taken from the thread about Training a Welsh Sheepdog  and Adeline said that it is

...a very characteristic little yawn that young dogs do in training, I never see it at any other time. It seems to happen most when they have been concentrating hard on a job.  



I'm wondering if it's the same thing, as though they are thinking 'I wonder if I did that right and if the boss will be pleased with me. Pease don't be cross with me if I messed up...'
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Chris Kott wrote:The quiz didn't mention the short sneeze/snort they do when romping. I have always heard that this was a sign of playfulness, especially when roughhousing with their humans or with other dogs, and treating it as such, I have never been surprised by aggression.-CK



My mastiff sometimes does that playful snort when he romps outside and picked up a scent, or is otherwise just feeling especially frisky.

The type of snort/sneeze that relays "annoyance" is done with sort of a sideways flick of the nose/head and is making a "point".  Though unlike most other body language signs, from what I have seen only some dogs snort/sneeze, only one of mine does it when  he is annoyed by something.

This video has two good examples, this husky and baby are "singing" together but it is pretty obvious the dog does NOT like the baby very much at all.  The dog sniffs the baby and then snorts in disgust at the 1:05 mark, and then again more clearly in the last second of the video.



 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Burra Maluca wrote:Is this the yawn you're talking about in number 4?  

4) Yawning when interacting with a person or other dog (not related to sleep)
Answer: Mild calming sign, used by dogs to say "Please relax, you are making me uneasy" or even "Stop staring at me, it makes me nervous".



That photo was taken from the thread about Training a Welsh Sheepdog  and Adeline said that it is

...a very characteristic little yawn that young dogs do in training, I never see it at any other time. It seems to happen most when they have been concentrating hard on a job.  



I'm wondering if it's the same thing, as though they are thinking 'I wonder if I did that right and if the boss will be pleased with me. Pease don't be cross with me if I messed up...'



Yup, the pups are a bit nervous about doing it wrong and displeasing the trainer. Though usually yawns are for mild worries, many dogs will yawn if you just stare at them across the family room.  

More serious worries are usually shown with sideways glances, head turns and sometimes lip licking.  Here is an example of a police dog that is throwing a LOT of calming signals right up until he bites the "other" in the face.  Poor dog was "penned in" and trying really hard to be nice while expressing his discomfort, but unfortunately no one picked up on the signs. The reporter was not seriously injured, and nothing bad happened to the pup (at only 15 mo old he was still a puppy, no doubt he became even less tolerant of fools as he matured).

 
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Another excellent animal post Lucrecia. Keep them coming. Can't watch the video right now but judging from the pic it appears the reporter actually wants to have his face chewed off. Guess he's never seen a real dog before. Check out one of my bee hives. Visible in the background.

bees-big-ranch.JPG
[Thumbnail for bees-big-ranch.JPG]
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Mike Barkley wrote:Another excellent animal post Lucrecia. Keep them coming. Can't watch the video right now but judging from the pic it appears the reporter actually wants to have his face chewed off. Guess he's never seen a real dog before. Check out one of my bee hives. Visible in the background.



The reporter would LOVE that beehive! LOL. And thank you for the kind words.

I think most perceptive dog owners learn to read when their dogs are stressed etc....but being able to actually recognize the individual gestures adds a new dimension to it. When we pay attention and watch for their signals we realize they communicate a lot more than we ever thought, and often times it is sweet or very funny/amusing.
 
Mike Barkley
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Serious working dogs are trained there for the alphabet soup agencies & also for private individuals. The pic only shows the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who saw the training in action would instantly know these dogs are not like Poofy the lap poodle. Never try to touch a working dog without an invitation from the handler & the dog. I would strongly advise against messing with my bees.



 
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We take an almost daily walk into the country here, back a gravel road.  We only pass one dog and 'he'?, if he is out, watches us from his driveway and rarely barks.  We've been so impressed compared to the town dogs we pass when walking to the post office, etc. who bark and follow and sometimes threaten.
One day though, the dog was chasing a truck right in front of his house and as the dog turned to go back home there we were...serious dog had just finished his work and two humans he doesn't really know are talking to him, saying 'good dog' 'good work'.  He then came up behind me and nipped my jeans leg, growling and 'escorted' us past his house.  It took me awhile to get my nerve back to go home past the house again....we've been back regularly now and everything seems back to normal.

We walk past silently now and heads down...not sure if that is correct?

He appears to be a cattle dog and has always looked very serious but never shown aggression.

This thread is quite timely as I've been thinking I should learn more about reading a dogs behavior as we meet up with a variety of them often.

Thanks for the information you've posted Lucrecia!

EDIT to add... I think this is the behavior we were witnessing and were totally oblivious to...

7) Staring directly at a new person/other animal with the head slightly lowered.
Answer: Hunting/stalking behavior or "I am about to kick your ass".



 
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Judith Browning wrote:
We walk past silently now and heads down...not sure if that is correct?



Best to keep your head up and eyes forward, watching with peripheral vision to see if he is coming, but appear confident.  The idea is confidence without appearing to threaten him.  Lowering your head can be a sign of submission, and you don't want to be seen as prey.  If he approaches, stop walking and face him, but don't look at his face, just look ahead calmly, but beyond him, so he knows you can see him, but aren't challenging him.  If he retreats, you can start walking away slowly.  If he stops, but doesn't back off, back away slowly while still facing him, but without eye contact.  I wouldn't address him in any way.  If he still acts threatening when you aren't challenging him, carry pepper spray.  
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:
We walk past silently now and heads down...not sure if that is correct?



Best to keep your head up and eyes forward, watching with peripheral vision to see if he is coming, but appear confident.  The idea is confidence without appearing to threaten him.  Lowering your head can be a sign of submission, and you don't want to be seen as prey.  If he approaches, stop walking and face him, but don't look at his face, just look ahead calmly, but beyond him, so he knows you can see him, but aren't challenging him.  If he retreats, you can start walking away slowly.  If he stops, but doesn't back off, back away slowly while still facing him, but without eye contact.  I wouldn't address him in any way.  If he still acts threatening when you aren't challenging him, carry pepper spray.  



Actually now my husband does as you describe, including carrying the pepper spray...I'm the one with my head down still and feel frozen.  I worry that a dog can feel my fear in these situations?
 
Mike Barkley
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IF that dog is truly well trained it will not leave it's assigned area for any reason. But do you know exactly where that area is?

We walk past silently now and heads down...not sure if that is correct?



In general that is a safe method. Act as nonthreatening & respectful toward it as possible. I would suggest making just a little noise prior to arriving so you don't surprise the dog. Not too likely but it could happen.
 
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IF that dog is truly well trained it will not leave it's assigned area for any reason. But do you know exactly where that area is?



The farm is all along the county road so I suspect it is all his area and he has allowed us to travel there.

It is a popular walking spot so I think he is used to walkers.
 
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I read a book years ago about this. I forget the authors name but she came up with most of this. She actually learned it by observing one of her dogs that seemed to have the ability to get other dogs to get along together.

I just got a couple of LGDs and these things come in handy. They were evidently not treated all that well and spent quite a few days with their tail straight down. I was carrying a 2x4 one day and they both bolted. They're doing better now but it will take a while for them to get right. One might never be right but we'll keep trying. It's a bit nerve racking dealing with abused dogs that outweigh you.
 
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Judith Browning wrote: I worry that a dog can feel my fear in these situations?



It isn't that exactly so much as dogs are absolute masters at reading body language, so the end result is the same, the dog can tell you're afraid, because you're acting afraid.  Calm confidence is the key.  If you can't actually project that, act it as well as you can until you really aren't afraid anymore.
 
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4) Yawning when interacting with a person or other dog (not related to sleep)
Answer: Mild calming sign, used by dogs to say "Please relax, you are making me uneasy" or even "Stop staring at me, it makes me nervous".



Also related to that is stretching with their front legs out, sometimes in conjunction with a yawn. With the stretch, I think it means they're less uneasy and Happy to move forward being Happy.
 
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Yup, the pups are a bit nervous about doing it wrong and displeasing the trainer. Though usually yawns are for mild worries, many dogs will yawn if you just stare at them across the family room.  

More serious worries are usually shown with sideways glances, head turns and sometimes lip licking.  Here is an example of a police dog that is throwing a LOT of calming signals right up until he bites the "other" in the face.  Poor dog was "penned in" and trying really hard to be nice while expressing his discomfort, but unfortunately no one picked up on the signs. The reporter was not seriously injured, and nothing bad happened to the pup (at only 15 mo old he was still a puppy, no doubt he became even less tolerant of fools as he matured).



The cop was still getting to know the dog and whoever was narrating seemed to think it was about the reporter putting his hands on the dog's "throat" but it wasn't that. It was that he was raising up, making himself taller AND putting his face over the dog, making him feel like the guy was coming down on top of him. Animals have a thing for height and when in a fight, the one that's on the bottom is losing. The dog felt like he was about to be attacked. Slow motion jumping on top of him sort of thing.
 
Mike Barkley
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Judith it sounds like you just surprised the dog once when it wasn't quite finished doing his job. Wrong place wrong time. Wouldn't worry much about that particular dog but of course it's wise to always pay attention to his behavior. If he actually intended to hurt you he would have done so already.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Judith Browning wrote:
One day though, the dog was chasing a truck right in front of his house and as the dog turned to go back home there we were...serious dog had just finished his work and two humans he doesn't really know are talking to him, saying 'good dog' 'good work'.  He then came up behind me and nipped my jeans leg, growling and 'escorted' us past his house.  It took me awhile to get my nerve back to go home past the house again....we've been back regularly now and everything seems back to normal.



I suspect the dog guards the property, and when you came by as he was furiously chasing that evil truck, and all worked up, he decided to chase you off too while he was at it. Plus if he is a herding dog and just nipped your jeans (which was surely not a "miss") he was just hurrying you along a bit forcefully and not actually "assaulting" you. I believe herding dogs frequently nip at the heels of sheep to get them to move faster too.

As far as them sensing "fear", I don't think they decide to bully someone because that person is afraid of them, but nervousness/fear signals something weird is about to happen and you will probably instigate it.  For instance imagine if a stranger knocked on your front door and when you answered they acted really nervous/fearful and you didn't know why. How would you feel? Most of us would be put on edge and we would naturally think they may be planning to commit a crime or they could be unstable. Fear is contagious.  KWIM?

I think avoiding eye contact without looking too scared/squirrely is the right move, it shows you are not trying to start trouble (unless he comes out to stalk you, then turn towards him and start giving "calming signals"). Yawning as you walk by could also help. I hope the hubby won't be too quick or aggressive with the pepper spray.
 
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When walking or riding through or past farms and had farm dogs come out to see what I'm doing there, if they seem too pushy I've always stared them straight in the eye and told them in no uncertain terms that they'd better behave themselves and give me my space else I'll have their guts for garters.  Never yet failed with a farm dog whilst on foot, though sometimes on a horse they'd push a bit and need me to get the horse to make a bold move directly at them to push the point home.  

Failed miserably with a rottweiler though, but that one was intent on causing trouble and had to be physically dragged off my horse's face by its owner.  The police were informed and I don't believe the dog was given the opportunity to cause trouble again.  
 
Trace Oswald
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Burra Maluca wrote:When walking or riding through or past farms and had farm dogs come out to see what I'm doing there, if they seem too pushy I've always stared them straight in the eye and told them in no uncertain terms that they'd better behave themselves and give me my space else I'll have their guts for garters.  Never yet failed with a farm dog whilst on foot, though sometimes on a horse they'd push a bit and need me to get the horse to make a bold move directly at them to push the point home.  

Failed miserably with a rottweiler though, but that one was intent on causing trouble and had to be physically dragged off my horse's face by its owner.  The police were informed and I don't believe the dog was given the opportunity to cause trouble again.  



I was just going to comment that I had a Rottweiler that would immediately attack anyone but me for that sort of challenge.  He was a great dog, the smartest dog I ever owned, but his idea of the pecking order was me (by a nose), him, then God and everyone else.  Staring in his eyes was cause for immediate and overwhelming aggression.  With very dominant dogs, especially of the guarding breeds, staring them in the eyes is a very good way to be bitten.  It works fine on more submissive dogs, problem being, it can be hard to tell which is confronting you.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Mike Barkley wrote:Serious working dogs are trained there for the alphabet soup agencies & also for private individuals. The pic only shows the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who saw the training in action would instantly know these dogs are not like Poofy the lap poodle. Never try to touch a working dog without an invitation from the handler & the dog. I would strongly advise against messing with my bees.



Ha...I only looked at the far end of the pic for the beehive. Didn't recognize all of the agility equipment.

If you like to see working/schutzhund dogs doing great take-downs this video is the best compilation I have ever seen.  The dogs are so beautiful and so agile it makes me a bit emotional every time I watch it.

For sensitive folks that aren't used to rough and tumble dogs -- there is ZERO animal abuse in the video. The decoys go to great lengths to ensure the dogs are never hurt in any way (if a dog gets hurt they may lose their drive and not want to take down targets anymore).

 
Trace Oswald
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

Mike Barkley wrote:Serious working dogs are trained there for the alphabet soup agencies & also for private individuals. The pic only shows the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who saw the training in action would instantly know these dogs are not like Poofy the lap poodle. Never try to touch a working dog without an invitation from the handler & the dog. I would strongly advise against messing with my bees.



Ha...I only looked at the far end of the pic for the beehive. Didn't recognize all of the agility equipment.

If you like to see working/schutzhund dogs doing great take-downs this video is the best compilation I have ever seen.  The dogs are so beautiful and so agile it makes me a bit emotional every time I watch it.

For sensitive folks that aren't used to rough and tumble dogs -- there is ZERO animal abuse in the video. The decoys go to great lengths to ensure the dogs are never hurt in any way (if a dog gets hurt they may lose their drive and not want to take down targets anymore, and these dogs have had a lot of time/energy/money invested in them). They do use rubber sticks to rile some of the dogs up but that is to excite the dog, not to cause any pain/harm.



I've been knocked off my feet by many a great protection dog.  It's great fun :)
 
Mike Barkley
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The farm is all along the county road so I suspect it is all his area and he has allowed us to travel there.



Agreed. He was just saying "stay off my lawn".
 
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One of my neighbors has blue heelers. They bark at everything that walks by, and when I have to walk up the long driveway next to them to visit other neighbors, they come out and bark and even follow us, complete with growling, etc.

These dogs have nipped everyone except me and my kids, despite the fact that I walk past them a lot. One time they followed me and my kids a good 200 feet. This was, of course, nerve-wracking as a mother with a 1 year old in a wagon and a 4 year old walking next to me.

BUT, I never let my fear show. I kept us walking with our eyes straight forward and talked in cheerful sounds. I never look the dogs in the eye. But, we never stop. The dog is afraid we're going to go on his property, so we walk on the side of the road away from it, and don't stop, so he knows I'm not going to his property. Now the dog doesn't even follow us, and barely barks. He knows I'm walking past and we're not stopping.

I'm still working on getting my kids to not show fear. My son is terribly afraid of dogs, and shared that fear with my daughter. Now she curls up and walks slowely and acts really scared. My son one time was so scared of a dog (who was prone to attaking) that he ran and circles, screamed in fear, and plastered himself to the ground. The exact worst thing to do. So I trained him to act authoritatively toward aggressive dogs, instead...and now he yells, "NO!" at the sweetest old dogs. Sigh. We're obviously still working on this.

I've yet to be bit by a dog. I remember being told a child that dogs "smell fear" and attack those that are frightened, so I always convince myself that I am NOT frightened and the dog will be nice.

My mother-in-law once shared a story of how, when she was 6 or 7, she went to visit a family member who had a big farm. On the farm, inside a cage, was killer dog (don't recall the details, but the dog attacked everything except it's owners). Anyway, she didn't know that at the time, and assumed the dog was nice, and opened the cage and went inside, and they found her with the dog just happily sitting with him. Of course, they all freaked out when they saw that, and the dog suddenly got all vicious again. They got her out without harm, but it's a good story as to how showing no fear can often keep you safe from vicious dogs.

Confidence is so important!
 
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Good  topic Ms Lucrecia!
I am not comfortable with dogs, not familiar enough. I worked for a vet for a while, but was the cat tech, I am half cat, as far as anyone can tell, and cats know it and I am REALLY good with them. I will end up with a dog at some point, was talking to a friend, he recommended this book/system of dog training  HelpYourDog.com Ever heard of this? Is it worth looking up, since I'll be raising and training a dog on my own? I need to raise it from very little so I learn dog things too. Things like I'm not good with playing with a dog, as I'm never sure of what is play and when they are pissed off, etc. If I learn how a puppy plays, I'll understand more of how an adult plays.
Is this book etc a good resource?

I'll need a dog for security and animal assistance and guarding. I'm watching already (though I don't have space/time for a dog yet) for a mom dog I really like, to watch for her puppies. Of the dogs I meet, I like maybe 20% of them, and would have no problems taking in maybe 2% of them. Most dogs just aren't my thing, I'm a cat person. If I could keep a Bengal Tiger for security and goat herding I would :) Can't see that working well though!! So a dog it will be :)
 
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:
One day though, the dog was chasing a truck right in front of his house and as the dog turned to go back home there we were...serious dog had just finished his work and two humans he doesn't really know are talking to him, saying 'good dog' 'good work'.  He then came up behind me and nipped my jeans leg, growling and 'escorted' us past his house.  It took me awhile to get my nerve back to go home past the house again....we've been back regularly now and everything seems back to normal.



I suspect the dog guards the property, and when you came by as he was furiously chasing that evil truck, and all worked up, he decided to chase you off too while he was at it. Plus if he is a herding dog and just nipped your jeans (which was surely not a "miss") he was just hurrying you along a bit forcefully and not actually "assaulting" you. I believe herding dogs frequently nip at the heels of sheep to get them to move faster too.

As far as them sensing "fear", I don't think they decide to bully someone because that person is afraid of them, but nervousness/fear signals something weird is about to happen and you will probably instigate it.  For instance imagine if a stranger knocked on your front door and when you answered they acted really nervous/fearful and you didn't know why. How would you feel? Most of us would be put on edge and we would naturally think they may be planning to commit a crime or they could be unstable. Fear is contagious.  KWIM?

I think avoiding eye contact without looking too scared/squirrely is the right move, it shows you are not trying to start trouble (unless he comes out to stalk you, then turn towards him and start giving "calming signals"). Yawning as you walk by could also help. I hope the hubby won't be too quick or aggressive with the pepper spray.



thanks everyone for so much input...I think I'll follow this thread and learn a lot.  
I do agree that it was a situational, one time thing and by engaging the dog with our chatter we challenged him.

When we first moved to this small town we were warned that there is a history of problems with loose dogs.  We walk everywhere here and have had to revise some routes to avoid certain dogs.  Early on there were two separate pit bull incidents, dogs that there is even an 'ordinance' against here...more of a problem is two and three dogs together who then get into more trouble.   (and on a side note...this is the downside to living where there are few restrictions, even within the city limits...we can have most any farm animal we like and building codes, etc are mostly ignored.)

I'm not so worried about the farm dog anymore as possible encounters on the way to the Post Office.

Lucrecia, we were given pepper spray after our second encounter with a pit.  I don't carry mine as I think it could cause more trouble and my husband has never used his.  I'm best at shouting 'come get your fucking dog' for the whole neighborhood to hear... I admit when I hear a growl now my knees go weak.

One more thing, I've always had a dog...we had a wonderful beagle mix on our forty acres.  I taught her to stay and heel and she learned so quickly...she died before we moved and we decided we would not get a dog here because there are just too many already.

I grew up with a collie on a farm and had a medium sized mutt I hitched with sixties and early seventies named 'Om'...all super sweet non threatening dogs.  This is a new thing for me.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Good  topic Ms Lucrecia!
I am not comfortable with dogs, not familiar enough. I worked for a vet for a while, but was the cat tech, I am half cat, as far as anyone can tell, and cats know it and I am REALLY good with them. I will end up with a dog at some point, was talking to a friend, he recommended this book/system of dog training  HelpYourDog.com Ever heard of this? Is it worth looking up, since I'll be raising and training a dog on my own? I need to raise it from very little so I learn dog things too. Things like I'm not good with playing with a dog, as I'm never sure of what is play and when they are pissed off, etc. If I learn how a puppy plays, I'll understand more of how an adult plays.
Is this book etc a good resource?

I'll need a dog for security and animal assistance and guarding. I'm watching already (though I don't have space/time for a dog yet) for a mom dog I really like, to watch for her puppies. Of the dogs I meet, I like maybe 20% of them, and would have no problems taking in maybe 2% of them. Most dogs just aren't my thing, I'm a cat person. If I could keep a Bengal Tiger for security and goat herding I would :) Can't see that working well though!! So a dog it will be :)



Thing about large breed puppies, especially strong willed breeds intended for guarding, is that they are "cute and cuddley and controllable" for about 2 weeks *if* you are lucky. Then within the blink of an eye they are hyper bouncing off the walls, chewing everything in sight, jumping on  you, and screaming their head off if they are penned up or otherwise displeased. No amount of book-learning will change that or remedy the very steep learning curve. Plus with puppies you *will* make mistakes, and with a strong willed breed very often those mistakes result in lifelong behavior (i.e. if the pup mouths your arm and you don't know how to politely put an instant stop to it you could easily end up with a dog that will mouth your arm for years because it wasn't nipped in the bud easily when it started).

Add in the fact you live with a frail elder woman and it is truly a recipe for big problems and most likely the dog will pay for it. No decent ethical breeder would sell a strong-willed protection/guarding breed pup under those circumstances BUT there are lots and lots of unethical breeders that will tell you whatever you want to hear in exchange for your cash. Unless of course you plan to get an "outdoor" pup and just feed them once or twice a day, but if that is the plan I would really rather not know about it. :)

If I were you I would contact a couple of dedicated breed specific rescue groups and tell them about your situation, then get matched up with an OLDER dog that already has good manners and is well past their hyper adolescent days. And older dog will be forgiving regarding your mistakes and they won't constantly test you. By older I mean 4 to 8 years old, many young dogs are at the height of their obnoxiousness at 1-2 years old (especially if they are in rescue, they were often dumped because their previous owner couldn't handle their energy level). Breed specific rescue groups are typically comprised of very experienced dog folks that know the breed extremely well, they know how to match dogs with the right home, and they will take a dog back immediately if a placement does not work out.

Surf petfinder.org sometime, you can look up local dogs by breed/age and only verified non-profit rescue groups are allowed to advertise dogs on that site. They have a LOT of dogs and the descriptions/photos are very interesting, you can easily spend hours on that site just for fun.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Lucrecia:
Interesting, thank you, when I am ready to learn this stuff, I'll look into that :)
I was also planning to borrow a dog for a while before I got one of my own, to learn what I could, kind of the same idea.

I have raised Manx cats, and they have a similar personality profile to what you mentioned: cute, then utterly berserk if not channeled, and I had some awesome smart incredibly busy cats, who had a purpose in life, and weren't a problem. Personally, I think a lot of people's problems with animals is how they are treated to start with, and not listening to what the animal has to say about it all, which is why your post interested me. ( got most of them right! :) Missed the yawning.) I have never had to punish a cat, it wouldn't occur to me to treat any animal rudely, I'd not put a dog in a pen, this is just not my style. That's why I figure I'd do better with a puppy, so me and it learn how to work with each other from day one, with the kind of way I actually DO work with animals.


 
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

Thing about large breed puppies, especially strong willed breeds intended for guarding, is that they are "cute and cuddley and controllable" for about 2 weeks *if* you are lucky. Then within the blink of an eye they are hyper bouncing off the walls, chewing everything in sight, jumping on  you, and screaming their head off if they are penned up or otherwise displeased. No amount of book-learning will change that or remedy the very steep learning curve. Plus with puppies you *will* make mistakes, and with a strong willed breed very often those mistakes result in lifelong behavior (i.e. if the pup mouths your arm and you don't know how to politely put an instant stop to it you could easily end up with a dog that will mouth your arm for years because it wasn't nipped in the bud easily when it started).



This is why, despite many saying we "need" a dog because of predators, we haven't got one yet...because we want to be able to focus on it's training and do a good job. I've seen waaaay too many dogs that people bought but didn't have the time to train, that have horrible behaviors. So, we're waiting until the kids are a bit older so we can really devote our time to training the dog well.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Good  topic Ms Lucrecia!
I am not comfortable with dogs, not familiar enough. I worked for a vet for a while, but was the cat tech, I am half cat, as far as anyone can tell, and cats know it and I am REALLY good with them. I will end up with a dog at some point, was talking to a friend, he recommended this book/system of dog training  HelpYourDog.com Ever heard of this? Is it worth looking up, since I'll be raising and training a dog on my own? I need to raise it from very little so I learn dog things too. Things like I'm not good with playing with a dog, as I'm never sure of what is play and when they are pissed off, etc. If I learn how a puppy plays, I'll understand more of how an adult plays.
Is this book etc a good resource?

I'll need a dog for security and animal assistance and guarding. I'm watching already (though I don't have space/time for a dog yet) for a mom dog I really like, to watch for her puppies. Of the dogs I meet, I like maybe 20% of them, and would have no problems taking in maybe 2% of them. Most dogs just aren't my thing, I'm a cat person. If I could keep a Bengal Tiger for security and goat herding I would :) Can't see that working well though!! So a dog it will be :)



Maybe old school, but I really like the Monks of New Skete.  This book of theirs and The Art of Raising a Puppy are the two that I own.  I grew up interacting with dogs in a way that really fits with their methods, so everything in their books was easy for me to apply.  I like that they don't rely on treats for training and that they use body language, vocal cues, and, if necessary, physical domination that imitate what dogs do themselves.
 
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Jan White wrote:

Pearl Sutton wrote:Good  topic Ms Lucrecia!
I am not comfortable with dogs, not familiar enough. I worked for a vet for a while, but was the cat tech, I am half cat, as far as anyone can tell, and cats know it and I am REALLY good with them. I will end up with a dog at some point, was talking to a friend, he recommended this book/system of dog training  HelpYourDog.com Ever heard of this? Is it worth looking up, since I'll be raising and training a dog on my own? I need to raise it from very little so I learn dog things too. Things like I'm not good with playing with a dog, as I'm never sure of what is play and when they are pissed off, etc. If I learn how a puppy plays, I'll understand more of how an adult plays.
Is this book etc a good resource?

I'll need a dog for security and animal assistance and guarding. I'm watching already (though I don't have space/time for a dog yet) for a mom dog I really like, to watch for her puppies. Of the dogs I meet, I like maybe 20% of them, and would have no problems taking in maybe 2% of them. Most dogs just aren't my thing, I'm a cat person. If I could keep a Bengal Tiger for security and goat herding I would :) Can't see that working well though!! So a dog it will be :)



Maybe old school, but I really like the Monks of New Skete.  This book of theirs and The Art of Raising a Puppy are the two that I own.  I grew up interacting with dogs in a way that really fits with their methods, so everything in their books was easy for me to apply.  I like that they don't rely on treats for training and that they use body language, vocal cues, and, if necessary, physical domination that imitate what dogs do themselves.



Their books are very good.  I have them too, and really enjoyed them.  
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Lucrecia:
Interesting, thank you, when I am ready to learn this stuff, I'll look into that :)
I was also planning to borrow a dog for a while before I got one of my own, to learn what I could, kind of the same idea.

I have raised Manx cats, and they have a similar personality profile to what you mentioned: cute, then utterly berserk if not channeled, and I had some awesome smart incredibly busy cats, who had a purpose in life, and weren't a problem. Personally, I think a lot of people's problems with animals is how they are treated to start with, and not listening to what the animal has to say about it all, which is why your post interested me. ( got most of them right! :) Missed the yawning.) I have never had to punish a cat, it wouldn't occur to me to treat any animal rudely, I'd not put a dog in a pen, this is just not my style. That's why I figure I'd do better with a puppy, so me and it learn how to work with each other from day one, with the kind of way I actually DO work with animals.



One big difference between cats and  young large breed working dog is that cats won't accidentally bruise you up or run into you and hurt you (unless they are playing with teeth/claws). With most large young protection/working dogs getting bounced and occasionally bruised up comes with the territory. Sure training can curb some issues like jumping up on you, but until they mature and calm down they can be somewhat physically taxing.

Now for most teens and adults that isn't a problem it is just a bit painful, but with young kids (under 10) or worse, frail elderly people, getting knocked, pawed, or run into is a more serious matter. Especially with elders, if they are going through a door and the dog is rushing out the door to chase a squirrel on the lawn, even getting slightly brushed can cause a serious fall.

I have adopted or fostered a few older (6-9 yrs of age) house dogs and each one was truly a joy. They are respectful, sensible, and so darn grateful to have a stable loving home. All the benefits without the drama or accidental bruises.

Maybe other folks can chime in regarding bouncy very strong young pups/dogs, and how they can be a bit rough even though they don't mean to be.
 
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What is Willie saying here?

I got most of those from having read dog training books, but appreciated how amazing this sweet boy is when I realized he has almost none of those concerning behaviors. He does the last behavior with other males but never initiates aggression beyond that.  I attribute it to being born and raised to 12 weeks with many other dogs and farm animals, not my own training at all. Praise Wilson!
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when my dog hungry she will seat with me.  
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

Thing about large breed puppies, especially strong willed breeds intended for guarding, is that they are "cute and cuddley and controllable" for about 2 weeks *if* you are lucky. Then within the blink of an eye they are hyper bouncing off the walls, chewing everything in sight, jumping on  you, and screaming their head off if they are penned up or otherwise displeased. No amount of book-learning will change that or remedy the very steep learning curve. Plus with puppies you *will* make mistakes, and with a strong willed breed very often those mistakes result in lifelong behavior (i.e. if the pup mouths your arm and you don't know how to politely put an instant stop to it you could easily end up with a dog that will mouth your arm for years because it wasn't nipped in the bud easily when it started).



This is why, despite many saying we "need" a dog because of predators, we haven't got one yet...because we want to be able to focus on it's training and do a good job. I've seen waaaay too many dogs that people bought but didn't have the time to train, that have horrible behaviors. So, we're waiting until the kids are a bit older so we can really devote our time to training the dog well.



By predators do you mean non-human predators such as coyotes that are targeting your animals? For that type of predator livestock guardian dogs are used, most other breeds simply aren't physically or mentally equipped to handle dangerous wild animals.  If they are going to guard your house then yes you do a little training (just manners and such, you can't train them much beyond that) but if they are going to guard a flock in the field fenced off from the house that is completely different, the first dogs should be bought as a young working adults that were raised/trained from birth by older LGDs to guard a flock, and then additional dogs can be added as pups and trained by your older dog.

Plus with predators like coyotes usually at least 2 dogs are required and the dogs have to know how to work together (something they learn from older dogs). Coyotes are wicked smart and they will distract/lure a lone dog while their pack mates steal a lamb from the other side of the flock. Two or more dogs that work well together can counteract those types of attacks.

The LGDs guard what they love and the human's have stay at arms length with limited contact if the dog will be isolated with a flock (meaning you may handle the dog but without lavish praise/affection or much training as that will cause the dog to become devoted to you and want to protect you instead of the sheep).
 
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Pearl - We have large dogs, and they can be a problem with my mother. The younger one will jump if you let her. She doesn't do it with us, but other people just don't know how to handle it. I try to teach my mother how to handle it, but at this point I don't think that is ever going to work. So mostly we put that dog away when my parents visit. I do think it's important to teach people as well as dogs. The older pit bull has twice pulled me down while on leash. The kids tell me to let go of the leash, but it happens so fast. It took years for my knees to recover fully.

As an aside, I'm disappointed to hear that LGD's bark all the time. I won't like that. Our older pit generally will just kill small animals with very little noise, but I'm only in the suburbs now. Time will tell.
 
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Stacy Witscher wrote:
As an aside, I'm disappointed to hear that LGD's bark all the time. I won't like that. Our older pit generally will just kill small animals with very little noise, but I'm only in the suburbs now. Time will tell.



I would be careful not to group all LGD together in some regards.  There are some breeds that bark much more than others.  I haven't owned Pyrenees, but have heard they bark a lot.  I have had Akbash and Central Asian Shepherds, and they didn't bark much at all, less than other breeds I have had that weren't guarding breeds.  Even within breeds, you will find a lot of variation as far as barking is concerned.  
 
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Trace - good to know, thanks.
 
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