What did you see?

Well, nice job folks! You got most of the four things that this dog did to try and tell the bite-ee to back off.

  1. Turned away:
    If you watch closely, you will see the dog turn his head away from the newscaster. Dogs who are uncomfortable will turn their heads. When greeting individuals, dogs will almost always come at an angle so direct eye contact is not made.
  2. Lip Licking:
    If you have a dog, you may notice that you have several pictures of your dogs tongue. Camera’s can be nerve wracking to the uninitiated. This GSD was expressing his discomfort with a lip lick.
  3. Ears back:
    I’m always amazed at the range of emotion that dogs express with their ears. This was obvious discomfort and an attempt to tell the newscaster to chill out.
  4. Eye Contact:
    This was the dogs first warning. He looked directly at his source of discomfort. Hello.. catch on buddy.. (not all eye contact is bad. This was an escallation from uncomfortable and dealing to uncomfortable and warning) . Unfortunately, people are visual. The newscaster obviously took this as a “friendly hello”. As humans, we are more trusting when people and critters make eye contact.

When the human didn’t figure out the problem, the GSD gave him a physical warning. To most people, this looks like the dog just “Went nuts” or “attacked without warning”. This is one of the many reasons that dogs are surrendered, returned or euthanized.

For the record, the handler should have been paying attention. I’m not entirely sure why he didn’t tell the newscaster to back off. Maybe he was more concerned about the broadcast. Who knows.

I learned so much from my Tellington Touch class, but what stuck with me the most was reading this book during a lunch break (we had an hour and a half)
On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals is a tiny little book. Retails for something like $12.00. I just picked up a copy because it was out of print for a while. The NEW edition has color pictures!

You would not believe what this woman has discovered about dogs and their communciation through body language. She is phenomenal. I have to tell you that this is a must read for anyone wanting to understand their dog better.

I wish I had read it before we picked up our puppies. I would have better understood what Targ was trying to tell me by his actions.

It’s only available (I think) through Dogwise books but they let you look inside. Take a peek and seriously, buy it. I’d pay $30.00 for it, it’s that good.