Is your dog bored? How can you tell?

Bored dogs are usually pretty easy to spot. They mope around the house and don’t seem to want to get up. Other times they pace frantically, panting and even drooling. Sometimes you can find them by following the trail of shredded papers, pillows, and shoes they leave in their wake, they jump at you, bark at you, whine/cry, Basically a Bored Dog Acts Out/Up.

toy destroy

Boredom can lead to a variety of problems such as inappropriate urination, destructive behaviours such as scratching, aggression, depression, lethargy, over-vocalization/crying, increased or decreased appetite, and sleeping more.

Dogs have a much better time of it these days. No longer do they have to while away hours in the doghouse outside; they are more often kept indoors and treated like family members. But, although we may have changed our attitude toward our pets, we have changed our lifestyles, too, and we are now less available.

Frequently both parents work away from home and the kids are at school. So, although dogs no longer have to battle the elements outside, they do have to contend with being home alone during the day, sometimes all day, with little to occupy their time. From the owner’s point of view, the home may be ideal: plush rugs, elegant furniture, and chic décor, but dogs do not appreciate such environmental refinement and would by far prefer to be socializing with people or other dogs, or chasing a blowing leaf outside. Like children, dogs have an agenda that is subtly different from that of adult humans, and have likes and dislikes that can be diametrically opposed.

Some “Type-B” personality dogs may nap during their owners’ absence, arising lazily with a yawn and stretch upon their return. Other more compulsive “Type-A” dogs may suffer extreme boredom and stress during their owners’ absence. The telltale signs are easy to see: the garbage can contents may be strewn across the floor, cupboard doors opened, food stores raided, paper or pillows shredded, and so on. While there is a well-known syndrome of separation anxiety, the bored dog scenario is distinct from separation anxiety and represents the sometimes ingenious attempts of a dog that is “bored out of his mind” to find something time-filling to do.

In attempting to distinguish between a dog with separation anxiety and one that is just bored you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you acquire your dog from a shelter or pound?
  • Has he had multiple owners?
  • Did you get him when he was over three months of age?
  • Is he a “Velcro dog”? (Does he follow you around constantly?)
  • Does he appear anxious as you prepare to depart?
  • Does he whine or bark after you have left?
  • Does he urinate or defecate ONLY in your absence?
  • Does he destroy things ONLY in your absence?
  • Does he refuse to eat when you are away?
  • Does he greet you over-exuberantly when you return?

    A score of five or more “yes” answers is highly suggestive of separation anxiety. If any doubt exists as to the precise cause of the dog’s unrest or agitation when you are away, a video recording will serve as the tiebreaker. Dogs with separation anxiety are visibly anxious, pacing, panting, and whining or barking, whereas dogs that are bored simply wander around searching for something to do. Also, they may get up and down frequently and act in an unsettled, restless way as if experiencing a dilemma (which they probably are).

    The key to managing an otherwise bored dog is “Environmental Enrichment” (the big E’s). Below is a list of measures that owners can employ to reduce their dog’s tedium during long stints home alone.

  1. Get a dog for your dog. Although getting a dog for your dog rarely works to improve separation anxiety, this can help your bored dog – as long as the two dogs get along. However, introducing an overly dominant, oppressive dog may have exactly the opposite effect. If in doubt, ask an expert to help you select the right dog for your dog and lean toward a younger individual and one of even temperament.

    2. Hire a dog walker. Most dogs really appreciate the lunchtime visits of a dog walker who provides a much welcome respite in the middle of an otherwise long day of nothing to do.

    3. Doggy day care. One better than a dog walker is doggy day care. The problem here is that sometimes it is expensive and that cheaper facility looks and smells dirty or the Daycare staff seem to lack those doggie communication skills, etc; Check out the day care center thoroughly as you would child day care for young children.

    4. Crates. Providing a dog with a crate gives him a room of his own, a place in which to hang out and to get away from it all. If you don’t provide a crate, most dogs will improvise, finding solitude under a table or bed or behind a couch. I think it is rarely, if ever, appropriate to shut a dog in his crate all day while you are away but an open crate is another matter.

    5. Food puzzles/sustained release food. Most people have developed the habit of feeding their dog before they leave in the morning. The dog wolfs down his food and then has nothing to do all day. It may be more appropriate to feed the dog as you leave and/or to arrange for the food to be discovered by the dog after you have left.

    6. Radio/TV. Many people already leave a radio or television on for their dog when they leave. The “white noise effect” does seem to have a soothing effect and thus may have some redeeming features. Think of it this way; any lilting/melodic sound (not “heavy metal”) or even just background gibberish is probably better than the sound of silence or a clock ticking on the mantelpiece. Most animals seem to prefer seeing images of other animals or nature programs.

    7. Room with a view. Some of the best visual enrichment that a “home alone dog” can enjoy is the “real TV” experience of observing the world outside through a window with a panoramic view.

    8. Transitional object. Some people report that leaving out an article of their apparel comforts their dog. The dog can then snuggle up to the item in their absence and be reminded of better times.

    9. Rotation of toys. Well-meaning owners leave toys out for their dog to play with, in their absence. This is a valuable enrichment strategy but will not work well unless the toys are interesting and novel. Toys that move or are good to chew are apparently the most fun and the way to keep them riveting is to rotate them so that they don’t lose their appeal.

    10. “A brain tired dog is a good dog.” You could also say, a happy dog. Exercise generates serotonin in the brain and thus has a calming and mood-stabilizing effect on man and beast. A dog that has had a good run for 20 to 30 minutes before the owner departs will be less anxious, more composed, and prepared for a little R & R in the form of a good nap.

    11. Dog door/fenced in yard (except perhaps in the big city). Another idea, if you live in the suburbs and have a reasonable-sized fenced in yard, is to fit a dog door to allow your dog to come and go at will.

    There are many ways that we can try and make our dogs’ lives more interesting and engaging during our absence. Some dogs will fare quite well with the application of just a few of the measures listed above. Nevertheless, the wisdom of getting a highly social pet like a dog must be considered if you know in advance that you will be required to be apart from that pet for many hours each day. It is preferable to choose the right time in your life to acquire a dog and the right breed for your lifestyle – a time when you are in a position to spend sufficient quality time with your pet and not wind up a latchkey parent. For those of you for whom this advice is too late, take heart, adopt the some of the big E’s, and look out for your old pal.

The Dog Nanny website

 

Top 10 Tips To Reduce Your Dog’s Stress During Fireworks

Top 10 Tips To Reduce Your Dog’s Stress During Fireworks

 

The summer is an exciting time for humans. Besides the warm weather, we get an entire season packed full of holidays, celebrations, and festivals, typically ending our nights with a bang. There is just something magical about throwing your head back and watching color burst into the night sky like confetti. However, thinking like a dog, fireworks are terrifying. A dog’s survival instinct makes them naturally afraid of loud noises but fireworks are so much more than just noise to your pup. They come with no warning signs and are bright, erratic, and leave a burning smell in the air. It’s no wonder more dogs run away in the U.S. on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. They must think the world is exploding!

 

Now, not all dogs are scared of fireworks, but unless you 100% know otherwise, we recommend trying some of the following tips to make firework season less stressful for your dog.

Fireworks NO DDB

 

Make alternate arrangements for your dog, especially if you plan on going out or live close to a fireworks display. A couple options would be dropping your pup off at a friend or relative’s house, a dog daycare, a boarding facility, or even hiring a pet sitter to stay with them. That way if your dog does get scared, they are somewhere safe with supervision.

Create a safe spot in your home. If you are unable to bring your dog somewhere away from the fireworks, giving them a spot they feel safe in can help. Maybe your dog already has a safe spot, like a crate, kennel, or even under your bed. Make this spot is easily accessible for them during the main event so they can hide if they want to.

Remove the visual stimulation. There is no way to cover up the noise of fireworks, but you can still do your dog a favor by closing your windows, blinds, and curtains so they do not have to see the bright flashes of lights.

Reassure your dog. Speaking to your dog in a calm soothing voice while petting them will also help ease their anxiety. Getting mad or forcing your dog to “face their fears” will only make the experience harder for them.

Stay calm. Dogs are very in-tune with our emotions, body language, and tone of voice. If you make a big deal out of the fireworks by being scared or even just worried about your dog, they can pick up on this and will assume they have good reason to also be worried.

Consider anti-anxiety tools. Talk to your veterinarian or trainer about different ways to manage your dog’s anxiety during fireworks. There are many different options such as Thundershirts, calming pheromones, supplements, and medication that could help reduce your pup’s stress.

Be sure to feed and water your dog before the fireworks begin. If your dog is extra anxious about fireworks, they may not want to eat or drink once the noise begins. An empty stomach is one more stressor you can help your dog avoid. Also be sure to let them outside to go to the bathroom beforehand.

Tire your dog out. A tired dog is a calm dog, so be sure to get as much exercise in before the festivities begin. The goal is to have your dog as sleepy as possible when the fireworks begin. So a walk around the block may not cut it. Try going for a run or playing fetch at the park.

Give your dog something to do for the evening. A few minutes before the fireworks start, give your dog a special treat they can enjoy instead of paying attention to the loud noises. A Kong frozen with peanut butter, a bully stick, an antler, or any other type of long lasting chew, will be the perfect thing to help keep their mind occupied.

It is possible to train a dog not to mind fireworks, the same way a hunting dog doesn’t mind a gunshot. However, desensitizing your dog to noises does not happen overnight. The idea is to play your dog a quiet recording of fireworks paired with a tasty treat. Then slowly increasing the volume over months. Going too loud too fast can backfire making your dog more nervous of the sound. We highly recommend consulting a trainer to help with the process.

 

Make firework season enjoyable for everyone by taking a few minutes to think about it from your dog’s perspective. In the end, your pup will thank you for thinking of them and making sure they are safe and happy during the festivities.

Analyzing Dog Behaviour and Puppy Behaviour

As positive dog trainer and canine behaviour expert here I dispel some common and pervasive myths about dogs and their behaviour.

Hang with dog folks long enough and you’re sure to hear some pretty interesting theories about dog behaviour. Some are, of course, useful and accurate, but the dog training world is littered with myths, many of which are at least several generations old. Some of them are just silly; some have the potential for causing serious damage to the dog-human relationship; and still others are downright dangerous. It’s time to get past the myths.

When someone offers you an alleged nugget of canine wisdom, regardless of whom the someone is, you’re wise to run it through your own rigorous filters before accepting it as real wisdom or adopting it as the basis for a training technique. These should include:

  • A scientific filter. Does it make sense scientifically? If someone assures you that shock collar training is actually positive reinforcement training because the shock is no different than someone tapping you on the shoulder to get you to stop a behaviour, does that concur with your understanding of positive reinforcement? (That a dog’s behaviour makes a good thing happen, so the behaviour increases.) Don’t be fooled by the euphemisms “e-collar” and “tingle,” “tap,” or “stim” for the word “shock.”
  • A philosophical filter. Is it congruent with your own philosophies about dog training and relationships? Positive punishment (dog’s behaviour makes a bad thing happen; behaviour decreases) makes sense from a scientific standpoint. That doesn’t mean you want to – or have to – use it with your dog, and risk the damage it can do to your relationship. Trainers with a positive training philosophy generally try to avoid the use of positive punishment, or any methods that work through the use of fear, pain, aversive, and avoidance.
  • An “acid test” filter. It may seem sound scientifically, and it may feel okay philosophically, but does it work? If you’re comfortable trying it out and you don’t like the results, feel free to continue on and explore why it’s not working or simply toss it out. Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it has to work for you.

Now, keeping these filters in mind, let’s see how some of the most common and harmful myths about canine behaviour create a flawed foundation for training.

Myth #1: “Puppies should not go to puppy classes/the mall/friends’ houses until they have had all their vaccinations at 16 weeks/6 months of age.” (Fails all three tests.)

This one lands squarely at the top of the “dangerous myth” category. It’s generally perceived as credible by new puppy owners because it’s often offered by the pup’s veterinarian.

While it appears scientifically sound on its face (an unvaccinated puppy is at risk for contracting deadly diseases!), puppies who aren’t properly socialized are at a much greater risk for developing behaviour problems, including aggression, that are likely to shorten their lives.

The vet is right on one hand; the best way to ensure that your pup isn’t exposed to dog germs is to avoid other dogs. It’s certainly true that you want to prevent your pup’s exposure to unknown and/or possibly unhealthy dogs (and their waste). But it’s also critically important that your pup get lots of exposure to the rest of the world, including healthy puppies in a controlled environment, before the critical socialization period ends at 12 to 16 weeks. If he doesn’t, he’ll be at risk of developing serious, sometimes deadly, behaviour problems. (See “Shoot for Early Admission,” Whole Dog Journal September 2007, for more information on early education for puppies.)

In addition, during the period leading up to the age of four to six months, your pup has protection from his mother’s immunities, and should receive “puppy shots” to cover that period of time when his mother’s protection starts to decrease. Not only is it “okay” to take your pup places while exercising reasonable caution, you have an obligation to provide him with extensive socialization in order to maximize his chances of leading a long and happy life.

Myth #2: “Dogs pull on leash, jump up on people, (add your own) because they are dominant.” (Fails scientific and philosophical tests.)

Like the first myth discussed, this one can be dangerous, because those who believe this myth are likely to believe that they need to use forceful methods to assert their status over their “dominant” dogs.

No one disputes that dogs living in a group understand and respond to the concepts and dictates of a social hierarchy. The fact that canine social structures share elements with human social structures is probably one of the reasons that dogs make such wonderful companions for us. However, most experts in animal behaviour today believe that canine social hierarchies are much more based on deference than dominance, and that most canine behaviour that many misguided humans attribute to dominance . . . isn’t!

A dog’s goal in life is to make good stuff happen. Behaviours often labelled “dominant” because they are perceived as pushy and assertive – like pulling on leash and jumping up – simply persist because the dog has learned that the behaviours are reinforced; they make good stuff happen. Pulling on leash gets her where she wants to go. Jumping up gets attention. Behaviours that are reinforced continue, and even increase – but they have nothing to do with social status.

If you remove all reinforcement for the unwelcome behaviours (pulling makes us stop; jumping up makes attention go away) and reinforce more appropriate behaviours in their place, the dog will change her behaviour.

Myth #3: “Dogs can’t learn from positive reinforcement. You have to punish them so they know when they are wrong.” (Fails scientific and philosophical tests; fails acid test unless punisher is very skilled.)

This myth has good potential for causing serious harm to the canine-human relationship. Research confirms what positive trainers hold dear: that positive reinforcement training is more effective and has far fewer risks than positive reinforcement training combined with positive punishment.

One study, conducted by scientists at the University of Southampton in the UK and the University of Life Sciences in Norway, evaluated whether punishment was a contributor to behaviour problems, and examined the effects of reward, punishment, and rule structure (permissiveness/strictness and consistency) on training and behaviour problems. Information was collected via questionnaires from 217 dog guardians. Those who used strong and/or frequent punishment had a significantly higher level of training problems and lower obedience in their dogs. A similar study, conducted at Britain’s University of Bristol, also found that dogs trained only with positive reinforcement exhibited fewer problem behaviours.

For most humans, this makes sense. Do you learn better if someone acknowledges (and rewards) you when you do it right, or slaps you upside the head when you do it wrong? Even if you get rewarded for doing it right, if you also get slapped for doing it wrong, your fear of getting slapped will likely impede your learning and make you more reluctant to try things.

Of course, a good positive training program makes use of management to avoid giving the dog opportunities to be reinforced for unwanted behaviours, and will also make judicious use of negative punishment (dog’s behaviour makes a good thing go away) to let him know he made an unrewarding behaviour choice.

Myth #4: “If you use treats to train, you will always need them.” (Fails all three tests.)

This just isn’t true. A good positive training program will quickly “fade” the use of food as a constant reinforcer while moving to a schedule of intermittent reinforcement and expanding the repertoire of reinforcers to include things like toys, play, petting, praise, and the opportunity to perform some other highly reinforcing behaviour.

Treats can be a very high-value reinforcer and quite useful in training a wide variety of behaviours, so it’s plain silly to turn your back on them. Just be sure to fade food lures quickly in a training program, move to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement when your dog will perform a behaviour on cue 8 out of 10 times, and incorporate a variety of reinforcers so you’re never dependent on any one particular reward choice.

Myth #5: “A dog who urinates inside/destroys the house/barks when he is left alone does so because he is spiteful.” (Fails the scientific and philosophical tests.)

This myth definitely causes harm to the dog-human relationship. Dogs don’t do things out of spite, and to think so gives owners a negative perspective on their relationship with their canine family member. Dogs do things because they feel good, they work to make good stuff happen (or to make bad stuff go away), or because they are reacting to events that occur in their environment. While our dogs share much the same range of emotions as we humans, they don’t seem to indulge in all the same motives. Spite requires a certain amount of premeditation and cognitive thinking that science doesn’t support as being evident in the canine behaviour repertoire.

There are two rational explanations for the behaviours described in this myth. The first is that the dog isn’t fully housetrained and hasn’t yet learned house manners. In the absence of direct supervision, the dog urinates when he has a full bladder (an empty bladder feels good) and becomes destructive because playing with/chewing sofa cushions, shoes, ripping down curtains, tipping over the garbage, and barking are fun and rewarding activities.

The other explanation is that the dog suffers from some degree of isolation distress. These behaviours are often a manifestation of stress and the dog’s attempt to relieve his anxiety over being left alone. If your dog regularly urinates (or worse) in the house or destroys things when he is left alone, he may be suffering from a moderate degree of isolation distress, or more severe separation anxiety. This condition can worsen without appropriate management.

Myth #6: “If you feed a dog human food, he will learn to beg at the table.” (Fails all three tests.)

This is silly! One dog owner’s “begging” is another’s “attention” behaviour, eagerly sought-after and highly valued. Behaviours that are reinforced continue and/or increase. If you fed your dog his own dog food from the table, he would learn to beg at the table. It has nothing to do with what type of food he’s being fed! If you don’t want your dog to beg at the table, don’t feed your dog from the table.

Myth #7: “He knows he was bad/did wrong because he looks guilty.” (Fails all three tests.)

This myth is damaging to the relationship, as it leads owners to hold dogs to a moral standard that they aren’t capable of possessing. When a dog looks “guilty,” he is most likely responding to a human’s tense or angry body language with appeasement behaviours. He’s probably thinking something like, “I don’t know why, but my human looks upset. I’d better offer some appeasement behaviours so her anger isn’t directed at me!” Even when the “guilty” expression is a direct and immediate result of your dog’s behaviour because your punishment was timely – “Hey! Get out of the garbage!” –your dog’s turned head, lowered body posture, averted eyes – are simply an acknowledgement of your anger and his attempt to reconcile with you.

A trainer friend of mine once did an experiment to convince a client that her dearly held “guilty look” belief was a myth. He had the client hold her dog in the living room while he went into the kitchen and dumped the garbage can on the floor, strewing its contents nicely around the room. Then he had the client bring the dog into the kitchen. Sure enough, the dog “acted guilty” even though he had nothing to do with the garbage on the floor. He just knew from past experience that “garbage on floor” turned his owner into an angry human, and he was already offering appeasement behaviour in anticipation of her anger, and to divert her ire from his dog-self.

Finally, most owners who have punished a dog for something that was done in their absence can attest to the fact that the punishment generally does not prevent the dog from repeating the behaviour another time. What does work is simple management. Put the garbage somewhere that the dog can’t get to it; under a sink with a safety latch on it, for example. Keep counters clear of anything edible. Leave the dog in a part of the house that is comfortable but not easily destroyed. Hire a dog walker to come by in the middle of your dog’s longest days home alone to let him out, give him some stress-relieving exercise, and leave him with a food-filled chew toy. These actions will result in an intact home – and a dog who is not afraid to greet you when you return.

Myth #8: The prong collar works by mimicking a mother dog’s teeth and her corrections. (Fails the scientific and philosophical tests.)

It’s a little discouraging to think that people actually believe this myth. It would be silly if it weren’t so potentially damaging to the relationship and potentially dangerous as well.

Prong collars work because the prongs pressing into the dog’s neck are uncomfortable at best, painful at worst. Because dogs will work to avoid pain and discomfort, the prong collar does work to stop a dog from pulling on the leash, and can shut down other undesirable behaviours as well, at least temporarily. However, like all training tools and techniques that are based on pain and intimidation, there is a significant risk of unintended consequences.

In the case of the prong collar, the primary risk is that the dog will associate the pain with something in his environment at the time he feels it, and this can lead to aggression toward the mistakenly identified cause. A dog’s unmannerly, “I want to greet you” lunge toward another dog or person can turn into, “I want to eat you,” if he decides that the object of his attention is hurting him.

If you have used or are considering the use of a prong collar to control your dog, please consult with a qualified positive behaviour consultant to learn about more effective and less potentially harmful methods.

Myth #9: “Aggressive/hand-shy/fearful dogs must have been abused at some point in their lives.” (Fails the scientific test.)

This is a very widespread myth; I hear it so often it makes my brain hurt. Fortunately, while the behaviours described in this myth are problematic, the myth itself may be the most benign of our top 10.

There are many reasons a dog may be aggressive, hand-shy, or fearful. Lack of proper socialization tops the list, especially for fearfulness. If a pup doesn’t get a wide variety of positive social exposures and experiences during the first 12 to 14 weeks of his life, he’s likely to be neophobic – afraid of new things – for the rest of his life (see Myth #1). This neophobia manifests as fear, and for some dogs, as fear-related aggression.

Widely accepted categories of aggression include:

  • Defensive (fear-related) aggression
    • Possession aggression (resource-guarding)
    • Maternal aggression
    • Territorial aggression
    • Status-related aggression
    • Pain-related aggression
    • Protection aggression
    • Predatory aggression
    • Play aggression
    • Idiopathic (we don’t know what causes it) aggression

Note that there’s no category for “abuse-related” aggression. Abuse can be one of several causes of fear-related/defensive aggression, but is much less common than the fear-related aggression that results from under socialization.

Regardless of the cause of a dog’s fearful or aggressive behaviour, a myth-corollary to our Myth #9 is that love alone will be enough to “fix” the problem. While love is a vital ingredient for the most successful dog-human relationships, it takes far more than that to help a fearful dog become confident, or an aggressive one become friendly.

The Dog nanny website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Steps to Deal With Dog Growling

Growling is a valuable means of communication for a dog – something that dog owners should appreciate and respect rather than punish. Of course, we don’t want our dog to growl at us, but neither do we want him to fail to growl if something makes him uncomfortable; that’s very important information in a successful canine-human relationship.

ddb halloween ball

 

It’s very common for dog owners to punish their dogs for growling. Unfortunately, this often suppresses the growl – eliminating his ability to warn us that he’s about to snap, literally and figuratively. On other occasions, punishing a growling, uncomfortable dog can induce him to escalate into full-on aggression. So, if you’re not supposed to punish your dog for growling, what are you supposed to do? The next time your dog growls at you, try this:

 

  1. Stop. Whatever you’re doing, stop. If your dog’s growl threshold is near his bite threshold – that is, if there’s not much time between his growl and his bite, get safe. If his growl doesn’t mean a bite is imminent, stop what you’re doing but stay where you are. Wait until he relaxes, then move away, so you’re rewarding the relaxed behavior rather than the growl.

 

  1. Analyze the situation. What elicited the growl? Were you touching or grooming him? Restraining him? Making direct eye contact? Taking something away from him? Making him do something?

 

  1. Figure out a different way to accomplish your goal without eliciting a growl. Lure him rather than physically pushing or pulling him. Have someone else feed him treats while you touch, groom, or restrain him. If you don’t have to do whatever it was that elicited the growl, don’t – until you can convince him that it’s a good thing rather than a bad thing.

 

  1. Evaluate the stressors in your dog’s world and reduce or eliminate as many of them as possible. For example, if your dog is unaccustomed to strangers, then having your sister and her husband and three kids as houseguests for the past week would undoubtedly stress your dog. Noise-phobic dogs might be under a strain if city crews have been digging up a nearby street with heavy equipment or there was a thunderstorm last night. The vacuum cleaner is a common stressor for dogs. A loud argument between you and your spouse could stress your dog as well as you, and your stress is stressful to your dog. Harsh verbal or physical punishment, an outburst of aroused barking at the mail carrier, fence fighting with another dog. The list could go on and on.

 

Keep in mind that stress causes aggression, and stressors are cumulative; it’s not just the immediate stimulus that caused the growl, but a combination of all the stressors he’s experienced in the past few days. This explains why he may growl at you today when you do something, but he didn’t growl last week when you did the exact same thing. The more stressors you can remove overall, the less likely he is to growl the next time you do whatever it was that elicited the growl this time.

 

  1. Institute a behavior modification program to change his opinion about the thing that made him growl. One way to do this is to use counter-conditioning and desensitization to convince him the bad thing is a good thing.

 

Another way is through the careful use of negative reinforcement as in a Constructional Aggression Treatment (CAT) program to teach him a new behavioral strategy when presented with the discomfort-causing stimulus.

The Dog Nanny website

Adopting Littermates… (Don’t)

The title of this post is a bit strong, but I do want to caution people from adopting two dogs from the same litter because “it’s easier” to raise two at once (ask someone with twins if it’s easier than having one child) or “we don’t want our dog to be lonely.” (Because you might be if the dogs are so enchanted with each other that they ignore you).

clock turn back dinner time

I’m writing this now because we have gotten a number of questions about this issue lately: “Someone told me I shouldn’t adopt dogs from the same litter, is that true?” Far be it from me to say what you should or shouldn’t do, but there are a lot of red flags related to getting pups from the same batch. Before I say more, I should add that I’ve looked and asked around for any research on this issue and haven’t found a thing that supports (or disputes) what some people call “litter mate syndrome.” (If you are aware of any good research, please let us all know.) What I’m writing here is based on my experience and the anecdotes of others. I’d love it if someday someone did some good research on this to see if our beliefs are well-founded.

The most common reason given for not adopting two pups from the same litter is that they will “bond better” with each other than with you. This intuitively makes sense, in that the pups have already had the closest and most intimate experience with each other, and often during important phases of socialization. You’re already fighting the fact that you’re an alien (aka, another species) and are inherently confusing to your dog.

I’m not sure we know exactly how bonded these pups become with their human family (no doubt it varies tremendously), but functionally what I’ve seen is that the pups are simply harder to train. It’s just hard to get their attention. They are so busy playing with each other (or squabbling, more on that later), that you become the odd man out. I suspect this indeed does have to do with social bonding to some extent, but I have seen pups of a duo who clearly adored their humans. Adored them. They just didn’t listen to them. It seems harder to get their attention, harder to teach them emotional control and harder to teach them boundaries. I imagine that we humans become more like party poopers that interfere in their fun with their playmates, not to mention that we are more tiring, because they have to learn a foreign language in order to communicate with us.

The other problem I’ve seen with pups from the same litter relates to bullying or aggression between the dogs. It seems as though this happens more often with litter mates, but I wish we had some good, objective research on it. I simply can’t say definitely that this happens more with litter mates, but it does appear to. I have seen some nasty cases of bullying or outright aggression between dogs of the same litter, and it feels as though it is more common than between dogs who come into the family from different litters. (Or perhaps are adopted at different times? I’m not sure we can say exactly what the factors are yet.)

That said, I should add that there are numerous cases in which people have adopted litter mates without any problems at all. What happens on so many factors, including the temperament of the pups, their early experience, etc. etc. I would say though, that if you want all the odds on your side, you might hesitate before getting two pups from the same litter if you have a choice or can’t follow the suggestions below.

What if you already have litter mates? Perhaps you’re reading this while two pups from the same litter are playing on the floor beside you. Or perhaps you have working dogs and truly need to keep a number of pups from the same litter until you can evaluate who would be the best prospect. I think the standard advice is sound here: Don’t give the puppies free and constant access to each other. (I just heard from someone that her breeder recommended she never EVER let the dogs even see each other. Do I need to mention that I think that is a bit extreme?) Let them sleep in different areas (okay, make them sleep in different areas) and do lots of one-on-one training. Spend a lot of time playing with each pup by itself, and use play as an important part of your positive reinforcement. (This is also a great way to teach emotional control).

The Dog Nanny website

 

7 Great tips for Apartment Living with a Dog

Who says you need a big house and a back yard to raise a dog? If you live in an apartment, many dogs are clearly more suitable and practical than others – for both the owners and the pups themselves.

right not allowed on furniture wink

 

You’ll agree, canines do make excellent housemates – no stealing that last bit of your absolute favorite ice cream dessert, leaving dirty clothes scattered on the floor and late night pumping music.

 

If you’re renting, be up front with your landlord.

When you start any tenancy, your landlord needs to be informed about existing pets. For dogs, some landlords do require your dog is a certain size/breed, so ensure you read the lease thoroughly beforehand. Don’t try and sneak in a dog, if your landlord doesn’t find out first, your neighbor certainly will and there’s no need to remind you of potential consequences.

 

Be realistic about the breed/size too (even if your landlord is relaxed).

While many dogs are perfectly suited to apartment life, there are several breeds which are completely unrealistic to keep in a smaller space like an apartment. High-energy dogs, like labradors and border collies will probably struggle in confined spaces, which isn’t fair on them. Their frustration and boredom could lead to destructive behavior like chewing of furniture etc.

 

Keep up to date with vaccinations.

Many apartments with shared grounds are accessible to all residents, so it’s important to ensure they don’t have parasites or other diseases, especially with neighboring children around, too. Also, in the very rare occasion a dog bites (this is not often – or sometimes never – we realize) it’s vital to ensure you have proof your dog has been vaccinated.

 

Show your neighbors courtesy.

Typically, apartments house many people very close together, so you have to think about noise levels. A constantly barking dog isn’t going to be well received by neighbors, so you might need to consider some training or guidance from your veterinarian.

 

Daily leash time for your dog.

Without a back yard, you really must ensure she gets out at least once or twice a day for a walk in the local area, stretch their legs, get fresh air and go to the bathroom! So come rain, snow, sun or any other weather, be prepared for this. If you’re a full-time worker, consider a local dog-walking service, if you have a trusted neighbor that’s a real bonus.

 

Socialize and desensitize your pup.

Apartments are more often than not placed in urban areas, which can be noisy and busy – not to mention car and bicycle traffic and other animals. It’s a good idea to introduce him to the noises and environment slowly and calmly, so when they hear other dogs, a siren or car horn they don’t begin barking like crazy as it’s become familiar to them!

 

Indoor training!

When you first move, consider something like a ‘piddle pad’ where you dog at least has somewhere to use the toilet until they (and you) are used to daily visits outdoors. If you don’t live near the ground floor, this could involve several trips up and down elevators or stairs (a good workout for you, at least).

You may wish to consider adopting a toilet-trained dog, one that is a little older to make both your lives more convenient.

 

Above all, dog ownership requires a great deal of commitment, love and attention – when you live in an apartment, these are just some areas you need to consider first. Not living in a house is perfectly suitable for many breeds – you can create a very happy and loving home for them, just be aware of decisions and planning you need to make beforehand.

So what if your dog is deaf?

Balanced dogs experience the world through their nose, eyes, then ears. But as humans, we often rely on sound while training our dogs. So what if your dog is deaf?

every dog deserves an education

Dogs experience the world through their nose first, then eyes, then ears. We are accustomed as humans to relate through sound (ears), sight (eyes), and then scent (nose). When we bring a new dog home, we immediately give him a name. Oftentimes people choose a name based on the dog’s “personality” and then the wrong way of communicating and relating to your dog begins from day one.

A person with a deaf dog has a unique opportunity to communicate with their dog as the animal they are. Dogs communicate through energy and body language. I’ve said many times that you don’t get the dog you want, you get the dog you need. I’ve seen it time and time again that the dog a person chooses comes into their life and teaches them the lessons they need most.

So what are the lessons a deaf dog can teach? So many humans are out of touch with Mother Nature. They’ve lost patience. They’re disconnected from their lives. They are not mindfully aware and emotionally in tune. With a deaf dog, it is critical that you be present, feel the energy, read signals, and be in tune to yourself and the environment around you, just as you are asking your dog to do. You will need to bond with your dog in a way that he trusts you as his leader; a leader whose job is to provide him with protection and direction. So if you are going to cross the street, he looks to you to keep him safe. If you are turning the corner, he looks to you to show him which way to go.

People ask me about dog training all the time. So much that I wrote my last book about training and the various methods people use. And I talk about the differences between training and balance because one does not equal the other. What is the same is that you need to choose and find the method that works for you, what you are most comfortable with. Obviously, clicker training probably won’t work with a deaf dog. But if you use sound, that can help you feel the energy behind the word and therefore project that energy to the dog.

It will require time and patience and consistency. But to me, it is a wonderful opportunity. I rarely ever use words with dogs. I use the sound “tsch!” but that’s usually it. I use hand signals, energy, and most importantly body language to communicate that I want the dog to sit, lay down, back up, come. Sometimes I don’t even need to make a signal because I set the intention in my head of what I want and the dog responds. They feel the energy. Of course this doesn’t happen right away or easily, but with practice, you can achieve it. It can only be effective, however, if you are calm and assertive, in tune to your own emotions, confident in your ability, and trust; and your dog will reward you not only with his trust, but respect and loyalty too.

Remember that feeling sorry for a dog does him no favors. And in fact, puts him at risk for not being able to achieve balance later in life. Dogs need leadership before love. Remember, exercise, discipline then affection – this means that you can give affection to reward calm and balanced behavior, but not because you are feeling sympathetic that the dog can’t hear. He doesn’t know the difference. Being consistent with this approach is how to maintain a balanced state of mind, and calm submission, regardless of any physical disability

How to Put More Life in

We all want to keep our dogs happy and healthy, and to give them the best possible lives. As a Dog Breeder, Trainer and Behaviourist.

I want to tell you that nutrition plays a key role in making that possible. But with so many dog foods and “premium” brands to choose from, how do you know that you’re making the right choice when it comes to your dog’s food?

Recently I found a video by veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter and I was really impressed by what I learned from it. Dr. Gary Richter is the international bestselling author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide. Dr. Richter was also voted “America’s Favorite Veterinarian” by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation in 2015. He’s spent two decades at the forefront of pet nutrition.
In this video, Dr. Richter tells us that the best way to help your dog live a longer, happier, healthier life is through good nutrition. Unfortunately, the nutritional standards for dog food are very low, even if you’re buying a “premium” brand. Because of the way dog food is processed, it loses all of its nutritional value and you’re left with the bare minimum — only the minimal amount of vitamins needed to keep your dog from suffering from vitamin deficiency or dying. And dog food has no requirements for Anti Oxidents, Omega-3s, digestive enzymes, polysaccharides, or probiotics, all of which are very important to your dog’s health.
Because of poor nutrition, our dogs are dying before their time. In the 1970s, the average life span for a golden retriever was 16 or 17 years. Now the average lifespan for a golden retriever is about nine years. And did you know that more than half of all dogs over the age of 10 will get cancer? Watch the video to learn more.
As a result of poor nutrition, our dogs suffer from a number of conditions including:
Itchy skin
Allergies
Mushy poop that smells bad
Aching, inflamed joints
Low energy
Depressed mood
Cancer
Shorter life span
Watch this amazing video to learn what you can do in one simple step to give your dog the healthy nutrition he needs to live his best possible life.
https://vimeo.com/manage/339351436/general

https://vimeo.com/manage/292379989/general

The Dog Nanny’s Protandim Site

Why do some dogs fight

UNPROVOKED ATTACKS ARE ACTUALLY EXTREMELY rare but very dangerous.

aggression
When they occur, there is usually a considerable size difference between the two dogs—the attacker is large and the victim small—and the attack is usually eerily silent, rapid, and often predatory.
Often both the attacker and the victim are un-socialized. Sometimes the attacker picks up and carries and shakes the victim. This is a dire emergency: scream blue murder! Create as much noise as possible to convince other people to shout and help chase down the dog and get him to release the victim. I once chased down a neighbour’s Golden Retriever to rescue a Yorkshire Terrier. Sadly, the Yorkie died a few days later.
Dog fights, on the other hand are extremely common but rarely dangerous.
Dog fights occur between all dogs but most usually between male dogs less than two years of age.
Most people assume one dog is a dominant bully and the other an innocent victim but more usually both dogs are under-socialized and lack confidence and social savvy.
Frequently, the two dogs will eyeball each other and the tension will progressively escalate as each dog is incited by the others reactivity. The resulting dogfight is often noisy and protracted; however, a few of these altercations necessitate a trip to the veterinary clinic.
The dogs are reactive but not dangerous because, during puppyhood, they both developed bite inhibition and learned to settle differences via Marquis of Dogsberry Fighting Rules: only biting the other dog from the neck forwards (scuff and soft part of neck, muzzle, head, and ears) and never puncturing the skin. Learning bite inhibition and socially acceptable stereotypical fighting patterns are the most important reasons for dogs to attend off-leash puppy and adolescent classes.
The best, safest, and most effective way to break up a dog fight is by pushing a “pig board” (a 36” x 30” piece of plywood with a handle in the top) between the two dogs. Maybe this should be standard equipment for all dog parks, boarding, and day care facilities. Certainly do not try to separate the dogs with your hands or feet. Even though dogs may have good bite inhibition towards each other, they may or may not have developed sufficient bite inhibition toward people depending on the degree of puppyhood play with humans.
Standard dog park procedure is for as many people as possible to quickly approach and circle the dogs (to prevent other dogs joining in the fray) while shouting, “Sit! Sit! Sit!” and then praising the dogs as soon as they stop fighting.
Breaking up dogfights is never without potential danger to people so the best strategy is to never let your dog get into a fight.
Prevent the desire to fight by thoroughly socializing your dog during puppyhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Routinely condition your dog to enjoy the proximity of other dogs.
Never let your dog eyeball, lunge towards, or vocalize at other dogs.
Simply ask your dog to sit and shush and look at you. Three basic obedience commands—Sit, Shush, and Watch Me—will go a long way to prevent your dog from getting into trouble.
If your dog sits and shushes, he cannot bark and lunge, and if he looks at you he cannot eyeball and amp up the other dog.
But more importantly, if your dog sits and looks at you, he presents the aura of a calm and confident dog, one that has a much more important mission (paying attention to you) than being concerned with the growly silliness of other dogs. Basically, you are training your dog to emulate the behavior of a true Top Dog.
Remember, calm and confident dogs are seldom picked on, but under-socialized insecure dogs are attack/bait.

How Dogs communicate with other Dogs

Without a sound, two properly socialized dogs meeting for the first time can size each other up in just a few moments. An exchange of glances can tell each canine if they’re going to be friends or enemies.omg is that a new collar

How can dogs do this without a sophisticated verbal language? The answer: facial expressions, body language and posturing. Although dogs signal intent by barks and growls, the message is not complete without the telegraphy of body and facial language.

Various parts of the dog’s body are involved in this form of communication. Here is a quick primer in canine body language.

Facial Expressions

A combination of facial expressions communicate a dog’s mood and intentions that can be understood by other species, including humans. Here are a few examples of facial communication:
• Relaxed mood: Soft eyes, lit up, looking – but not staring. Ears forward or flopped, with tips bent over (if anatomically possible).

• Mouth open, lips slightly back, giving the impression of smiling. Tongue hanging limply from the side of the mouth
• Anxiety: Eyes glancing sideways or away. Ears to the side of the head or flopped. Teeth clenched, lips firmly retracted. Tongue either not evident or lip licking
• Intimidating: Eyes staring like searchlights. Ears forward. Teeth bared
• Fearfulness: Eyes looking forward or away, pupils dilated. Ears pressed back close to the head. Panting/breathing hard through clenched or slightly open mouth. Jaw tense so that sinews show in the cheeks
• Stress: Yawning plus other signs of anxiety or fearfulness (as above)

Head-Neck Position
• Head down (“hang dog”): Submission or depression
• Head in normal mid-way position: Everything is all right
• Head/neck turned to side: Deference
• Head held high/neck craning forward: Interest or, depending on other signs, a challenge
• Head resting on other dog’s back: Demonstrating dominance

Torso/Trunk/Upper Limb
• Tensing of muscles and the raising of hackles: Threat/imminent fight

Gestures
• Play bow – head low, rump elevated: The universal sign of canine happiness and an invitation to play
• Paws on top of another dog’s back: Dominance
• Looming over: Dominance
• Rolling over: Submission/deference
• Urinating by squatting: Deference
• Urinating by leg lifting: Dominance/defiance
• Humping: Dominance
• Backing: Unsure/fearful

Tail Position
• Tail up: Alert, confident, dominant
• Tail wagging: Dog’s energy level is elevated (excited or agitated)
• Tail held low or tucked: Fearful, submissive
• Tail held horizontal and wagging slowly: Caution
• Tail held relaxed and stationary: Contented dog

There is no one sign that gives away a dog’s feelings but if you consider all the body language signs, you can get a pretty good idea of what’s going on in the dog’s head. A dog that is staring at another dog, his ears pricked and his tail stiff, is probably conveying dominance, or at least a wish for it.

A dog that averts his gaze from another dog and hunkers down nervously as if waiting for an explosion is likely fearful and is trying to defuse the situation by acting submissive.

Sometimes body language signs can be ambivalent, however. For example, it is not uncommon to observe a dog growling at another dog while occasionally glancing to the side, backing up, and with his tail wagging. Such a dog is invariably fearful. Whenever fear signs are present, fear is in the equation. These dogs are unpredictable with other dogs and will alter their body language and behaviour according to circumstances. If the opposing dog retires, they may jump around and “look happy.” If the opposing dog approaches too close the fearful one may snap or bite. Owners, if present, can help defuse their dog’s ambivalence and uncertainty by taking a strong leadership role. It’s amazing how rapidly a fearful dog’s disposition will change when an authoritative owner steps in and controls the moment. Dogs need strong leaders.

Another aspect of communication is odor. Because dogs have such an amazing sense of smell, it is likely that they learn a lot about other dogs from their smell. That’s what all the sniffing is about. It is difficult to imagine what sort of information passes between dogs via this medium. We do know that intact male dogs “smell male” (because of male sex pheromones) and that neutered males do not have this characteristic musk. By neutering males, we alter the olfactory signals they emit and thus other dog’s perception of them. It may even be that the “non-male smell” equates with a diestrus (in-between heat periods) or a neutered bitch smell.

When an intact male dog meets a neutered one, the response may not be confrontational because the other dog doesn’t perceive a rival. He may believe the neutered dog is female.

Non-verbal communications signalling “let’s play,” “leave me alone,” “who do you think you’re talking to,” “I’m not going to cause you a problem, I promise,” are going on all the time between dogs but many dog owners don’t realize it. It’s amazing what can be conveyed with the odd glance or posture. Some dogs are masters at such subtle language.

The worst canine communicators are those dogs that have been raised without the company of other dogs during a critical inter-dog socialization phase of their lives (3 to 6 weeks). Hand raised orphans provide an extreme example of what may be lacking. Many of these dogs are socially inappropriate having not learned canine communication and social etiquette. They may attack and continue to attack another dog when the psychological war is already won. They may not know how to signal defeat when they are being attacked themselves. And that’s just the (extreme) tip of their communication failures.

Most dogs are not this “dyslexic” and can communicate what they need – as with humans – but the good communicators usually have the edge. Fully functional body language is a beautiful thing that can help resolve uncertainties at a glance. Humans communicate in body language too. We’re just not so good at it and some of us are positively stiff. If dogs could talk they’d probably categorize us as “dumb animals.”

The Bark: What is Your Dog Saying?
A few years ago, an article in the Smithsonian magazine concluded that dogs may bark for no reason. It’s just something that they do – a function without a purpose, so to speak.

That view is not widely shared. Even dry, dusty studies of wild canine behaviour attest to the fact that barking serves a function of long-range communication. It is at least as important to dogs as a marine foghorn warning is to mariners. Even the most elementary interpretation of barking is that it is a non-visual communication signalling the dog’s presence and territorial concerns.

On hearing a bark, the receiver of this audible message knows:
• The presence of another dog out there
• His approximate direction
• His approximate distance
• The sender’s level of the excitement/energy/commitment

The sender of the message knows exactly what he is transmitting but may not know to whom.
• If the recipient responds by barking back, he confirms:
• The receipt of the message
• His presence of another dog out there
• His location and energy level (by how hard and fast he barks)

All of the above is really “old hat” and well accepted. What becomes more controversial, however, is whether the bark is more than just a “here I am” type noise that signals a dog’s location and territorial claim.

Most dog owners believe that they can recognize their dog’s different types of barking. The dog may, for example, emit an excited, alerting bark when a friend approaches the home but may sound more aggressive and foreboding when a stranger or a would-be intruder draws close. In addition to the different tones of barking, the same tone of bark can be used in different situations to “mean” different things.

If your dog’s ball has rolled under the couch and he wants someone to get it out, he may bark for assistance. A learned communication, like verbal language in people, a bark is used in this context because it works to produce the desired response from you. Once he gains your attention, you recognize immediately what the dog wants by: the barking itself, the dog’s orientation, and the situation. Humans also use a variety of signals to communicate with each other; they speak, orientate, gesticulate, and use facial expressions and other body language.

But could you understand what your dog wants by listening to it bark on the telephone? Probably not. But you might be able to determine the tone of the bark (friendly or hostile), the volume and intensity of the bark (his state of arousal) and the duration of barking – continuous or intermittent (indicating how intent the dog is).

Obviously, barking is not as sophisticated a method of vocal communication as human language but it works to convey elementary messages. Humans probably grunted their wishes to each other and barked orders a few hundred generations ago. It was a start. Interestingly, human consonant sounds are thought to be “hard-wired” from these humble beginnings just as the dogs bark is “hard-wired.” Human language (in any country) comprises different constellations of consonants strung together in creative ways. Dogs have a long way to go to catch up but some do seem to try very hard with what little hard-wired sound-producing ability they possess by using different intensities, tones, and groupings of barks, growls, and mutters, interspersed with the occasional howl to get their message across.

Their sophisticated body language compensates to some extent for this limited vocal response. With patience, dogs can “train” their human counterparts to understand what they’re trying to say.
A Key to Canine Body Language
Every dog, whether Akita, Bichon, or Beagle, knows the same language. You and your dog probably pick up on each other’s signals without thinking much about it. But if your dog begins to behave differently, if you are getting to know a new dog, or if you encounter a dog you don’t know, it helps to be able to read the universal body language of dogs.

If you and your dog landed in Tokyo or Timbuktu tomorrow and were greeted by a local person and his dog, it would take only a few minutes for the two dogs to understand each other. Hours later, you would still be wondering if you were bowing properly, making acceptable hand gestures, or using the right table manners. The dogs, on the other hand, would know just what to do – the lead dog eats first.
Signals Dogs Use

Although a dog can’t speak and has no hands and fingers for gesturing as humans do, you can watch key parts of his body to determine how he’s feeling and reacting to the world around him.
• Face. Although the dog’s facial muscles are not as refined as a human’s, he can wrinkle or straighten his forehead to show confusion or determination. If your dog wants you to give him further direction, he may raise his eyelids quizzically and tilt his head to one side.
• Eyes. A dog’s eyes brighten when he looks at a creature he considers friendly and when he wants to play. If he is afraid, his pupils dilate and he shows the whites of his eyes. He averts his eyes to avoid confrontation. But if he is angry or ready to defend himself, his eyes narrow and follow your every move. At this point, it’s particularly important not to look the dog in the eye because he sees that as a challenge to defend his position.
• Lips, teeth and tongue. A relaxed dog in normal posture may let his tongue loll out of his mouth. If he wants something from you, if he is happy or wants to play, he may pull his lips back in what appears to be a smile and show his teeth, an expression, by the way, dogs show only to humans and not to other dogs. But beware the dog that bares his clenched teeth and wrinkles his nose. He is ready to attack.
• Ears. The dog’s sense of hearing is much more acute than ours and even dogs with floppy ears have the ability to move and turn them to follow sounds. If a dog’s ears are raised, he is relaxed, listening, or showing acceptance. If they are back, he may be signalling submission and deference or may be frankly fearful.
• Tail. A dog wags his tail when he is happy or wants to play. It is really an energy indicator. When he is submissive, he tucks it between his legs. A taut tail, held down rigidly behind him, may show that he is prepared to spring since he uses his tail for balance when jumping.
• Voice. Dogs are vocal animals. They yip, bark, whimper, howl, and growl. The pitch or volume of their sounds can increase with their level of emotion. A bark may be playful or aggressive. Unlike body signals, dog noises can mean different things from different dogs.

Posture Speaks Volumes

When two dogs meet, as long as their human companions aren’t tugging tight on their leashes, they carry out a series of actions that looks like a choreographed dance. With their bodies tense and tails taut, they circle and sniff each other, silently gathering and exchanging information, ready to defend themselves at any moment if necessary. They hold their ears back and the hair on their back may stand on end. They often avoid direct eye contact at first, sizing each other up to determine if the stranger is strong or weak, male or female, hostile or non-hostile. One dog may place his head on the nape of the other’s neck or nip at his nose. It seems they are getting ready to fight and then, one lies down. Soon, they may separate and urinate. At this point they have agreed on which dog is dominant.

Dogs learn body language from their mothers during the first 8 weeks of their lives and they test out this form of communication with their littermates. If a dog misses out on such training, he will have trouble communicating with other dogs throughout life.
• Normal posture. The dog appears alert with head held high. His tail moves freely. His jaw is relaxed.
• Invitation to play. The dog happily signals his desire to play by wagging his tail and dipping down into a “play bow.” His front legs are in a crouch and his backbone swoops up, leaving his rear haunches high. His head is held up expectantly to capture your attention. He may raise a front leg or lean to one side with his head.
• Submission. The dog crouches down further and still appears relaxed. He may lift a front foot as in a play invitation, but his ears are back and his tail is down. He may yawn, scratch, or sneeze, which is meant to calm him and the dogs or people confronting him.
• Fearful aggression. A dog who is afraid tenses his body and holds his tail rigid, though it may be wagging. His rear legs are ready to run or spring. He bares his teeth, draws back his ears and the hair on his back stands on end. He growls or snarls constantly to warn off the subject of his fear.
• Dominance aggression. Teeth bared, this dog stares you down and advances confidently with his tail wagging slowly and his ears in the forward (alert) position.
• Total submission. The dog drops his tail and curls it between his legs. He drops his head to avid eye contact. He rolls over on his side and bares his belly, with one hind leg raised and urinates. If he isn’t afraid, he’ll tilt his head up a bit and raise his ears to show trust.

The Dog Nanny website