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Old 03-04-2005, 02:29 AM
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Default helpful article on introducing 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.

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 behavior 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 signaling “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.”
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2005, 04:51 AM
chi god/godess
 
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since this goes with the other article i posted i'll just copy and paste it in here so there isn't a sticky overload on basically the same topic.....

good info on 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 signaling 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 avoid 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.
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Old 03-05-2005, 04:53 AM
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and the third article on why dog's lick/kiss

this article is interesting.

Dogs lick for a number of reasons, some of which are purely biological:


Bitches lick their newborn pups to arouse them from their postpartum daze. In this situation, licking serves to remove clingy membranes from the pup, freeing him up to move and stimulating him to breathe.


Once the birthing and clean-up processes are over, the mom dog’s licking her pups stimulates them to eliminate both urine and feces. It is a couple of weeks before pups will eliminate spontaneously.


Licking also serves another more romantic role in the sense that it is a comfort behavior that assists with pups' bonding to their mom and spurs on their mental development.


From about six weeks of age, some pups lick their mom's lips when they want her to regurgitate food for them. They lick; she vomits; they eat it. This behavior is a vestige of their wild ancestry and was designed to ensure that they profited from the spoils of the hunt.


Licking can also be a signal of submission and so is part of dog’s body language communication system.


Pups and adults lick and groom themselves. It is part of normal survival-oriented behavior. Licking their own lips, limbs, and trunk removes traces of the last meal that would otherwise begin to decompose and smell. Quite apart from the hygienic aspects of this behavior, it also serves to keep dogs relatively odor free and thus olfactorily invisible to their prey. Domestic dogs retain these instincts even though they are not vital today.

Psychology

Dogs, like people, engage in a number of "displacement behaviors" when nervous or stressed, and many of these behaviors involve self-grooming. You only have to glance to the side the next time you are stuck at a red light to see what I mean. The driver next to you will likely be stroking his hair, looking in the mirror, or trying to pick something out from between his teeth.

Dogs do not experience the stop-go conflict of the traffic lights but they do have their own share of dilemmas. Take going to the vet's office, for example. We vets expect our more anxious patients to begin nervously licking their own lips as they enter the clinic. They may even lick or nibble their feet or flank.

There is no doubt that some dogs lick as a gesture of appeasement and goodwill. They may lick their own lips or may lick a person to whom they wish to signal deference. If the recipient of the licking interprets this behavior as "make-up kisses," that’s just fine. Perhaps the behavior is analogous to some forms of human kissing and thus their interpretation may be close to the truth.

However, not all dogs seem penitent when they slurp the faces of people they meet. For some dogs, it seems that they engage in face licking because they can get away with it and because it gets a rise out of the person. When licking is performed for such a reason, it may be component of the “center stage,” attention-demanding behavior of dominant dogs. No lick! is a good command to have working for these guys.

Psychopathology

Some sensitive dogs in stressful environments compulsively groom themselves to the point of self-injury. Licking of this type leads to acral lick dermatitis (a.k.a. lick granuloma). Compulsive licking by dogs is not always self-directed. Some dogs take to licking floors, walls, or furniture. Whatever the outward expression of compulsive licking, the mechanics underlying the disorder are the same. In treatment of this condition, first the underlying anxiety must be addressed though, in some cases, it is also necessary to employ anti-compulsive medication to help break the cycle.

Lovey Dovey?

I don't believe dogs express their sometimes quite profound feelings for their owners by licking or "kissing." In fact, I don't believe dogs really “kiss” at all. Perhaps some dogs are so awed by their owners that they feel the need to signal their ongoing deference by face licking. Call it love, if you will.

One other thing we should always bear in mind is that any behavior can be enhanced learning. Psychologist BF Skinner immortalized the concept that reward increases the likelihood of a response. So it is with licking. If a dog licks his owner's face – perhaps as a vestige of maternal lip licking, perhaps out of anxiety, or just because his owner's face tastes salty – and his behavior is greeted with attention, hugs and (human) kisses, he will likely repeat the behavior in future. In such cases the dog learns just how to push he owners buttons and the owner becomes analogous to a vending machine.
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Old 03-05-2005, 10:04 AM
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Lots of great info! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-05-2005, 03:05 PM
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Yeah, that is great info! Thanks!
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Old 03-17-2005, 10:37 AM
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What a great article. Thanks for taking the time to post it. I will be introducing my chi puppy to my 2 year old mix in a couple of weeks, and this article has been very helpful.
Anne
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Old 03-17-2005, 12:10 PM
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glad i could help
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Old 09-29-2005, 04:13 AM
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I definatly have seen the head low and bum elevated. Chico spends most of his time in that postion and it is usually followed by zoomies.
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