Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

Personal protection puppy training
Studying a dog’s behavior and observing them interacting with the world can be a fascinating spectacle, especially if you know what to look for.
In some dogs, their body language is very obvious and easily discernible, but in others it is a little more subtle. Lili Chincomes to the rescue yet again with this great pictionary of calming signals in dogs.
Our foster pup Willow has beautiful body language, her body is so easy to read (in part because of her enormous bat ears and long tail haha) that I wanted to get her on video specifically for this blog post.
Desensitizing and classical or counter-conditioning (associating scary things with good things) can work wonders in camera-shy dogs, as well as avoiding putting the camera in front of your face and instead shooting from a lower level.
I am using high value treats (Natural Balance which she just loves) and before I ever shoot an actual photo I introduce her to the camera and pair it with treats, get her acquainted with its smell, look and sound. Canine body language interpretation is not an exact science, and just like any form of communication, misunderstandings can happen. If you want to learn more about recognizing body language in dogs I urge you to do your research and go to the source! By kari, on February 6th, 2014Dogs and cats rely heavily on nonverbal signals to communicate their moods. Ear and tail position and movement are the details that are usually easiest to observe from a safe distance, often providing the most information about mood.
Ironically, these two vary greatly from dog to dog, making communication a breeze or a nightmare.
A dog’s eyes can reveal subtle changes in mood with the shape of the eye, the pupils and the canine equivalent of a human eyebrow, the skin above the eye. Raised hackles are most often associated with aggression, but that is not always the case and in many ways, it will not always be voluntary like what a puffer fish does. It has come in VERY handy in my work with dogs in general, but especially with Willow, our fearful foster pup.
It is my personal belief that a dog will not bite without provocation (regardless of how slight and whether we know we are the ones provoking them) and 9 out of 10 times it can be the person’s fault due to ignorance, fast movements, moving without thinking, carelessness, not knowing the dog, not having enough time to read the body before the bite or not paying attention etc.
Observe dogs at a dog park, volunteer at a shelter, read and watch everything you can get your hands on regarding canine body language, there is no shortage of material out there!


But I am thrilled to announce a guest post by our fellow pet photographer Nicole Begley, who spent 13 years in her first career as a zoological animal trainer, working with every species from aardvarks to free-flight birds, and seals to primates. Their facial expressions, ear position, tail position and movement, and overall body stance convey their intentions. The information she shares is not a substitute for a consultation with a veterinarian, and Kari cannot be responsible for how the information presented here may affect individual animals. The good news is, once you know what to look for, with lots of practice, the basics are fairly easy to spot, regardless of what the dog looks like. And unless you know the dog well and know he is comfortable with it, do not grab the dog’s face and kiss it!
If you are the one coming into their territory (visiting a friend’s house for example), I like to avoid eye contact with the dog, and face away from her (showing her the side of my body, NOT my back). Dogs often use displacement behaviors to calm themselves in situations that make them nervous or anxious.
Willow is in her awkward adolescent phase in which all dogs test their boundaries to see where they fit in. This is why so many dogs shy away from it and why proper precautions should be taken before you shove a lens in a dog’s face.
I have included a video below showing you how I did this with Willow, our fearful foster pup.
The trick is to handle ourselves in a mindful manner that will make it possible for the dog to interpret what we are trying to communicate. Keep in mind that some types of tails are more expressive than others; a black lab’s long, straight tail has moves differently than a pug’s shorter, curly tail.
It is an invasion of space (and one I am guilty of with my own dogs, but I’ve raised them and have a relationship with them, they are ok with me doing it, but not a total stranger). If the dog seems comfortable and friendly and is little or calm, I like to crouch to their level still facing away so they can check me out without jumping up. Piloerection can be challenging to spot on a dog with a very fluffy coat, in which case, reading the other body parts will be a better bet.
We know you have enough to worry about without all this information being thrown at you, which is why I recommend always having an extra pair of eyes if you don’t feel comfortable doing it all yourself.


Theresa has over ten years of experience photographing rescued dogs, and in those 10 years, this is the only case that gave her the heebe jeebies.
The only thing I would have done differently from Theresa would have been to use a telephoto lens and shoot from afar (since the dog seemed more at ease if Theresa kept her distance) or ending the session after the first lunge entirely and trying again another day with a different approach tailored to this specific situation. Theresa mentioned the dog’s owners are working with certified behaviorists to try and modify some of these behaviors and that just tells me this dog is loved and well-cared for by responsible people.
For example, dogs wag their tails when they’re feeling aggressive and also when they’re feeling friendly; cats purr to indicate that they’re nervous and also to tell us that they’re content. A photograph, an illustration, maybe even a video can aid a lot in recognizing a dog’s body language, but if you want the best experience possible, observe your dogs. I usually kneel or lie down to take photos but not this time!! I didn’t really want to be in a vulnerable position with this dog who was in a highly aroused state.
In the simplest of forms, the more wiggly dog with softer, more fluid motions, indicates a friendly dog, up for human contact.
Just because your own dog LOVES a hefty scratch at the base of his tail or a deep and lengthy ear massage, DOES NOT mean EVERY other dog will enjoy that. If we figure out what we could have done differently to avoid that bite, we do so in the future being careful not to generalize what happened with that individual dog that bit us; you learn and you move on. On the contrary, a tense, stiff or frozen body and tail, indicates a not so friendly dog and one that would rather I keep my distance.
Unless your dog is familiar with your loving gazes, and especially if it is a dog you’ve never met before, avoid staring. We switch cameras back and forth, and one of us is always focused on getting the shot, while the other works with handling and observing the dog for any signals.



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Comments to «Dogs communicate with tails»

  1. ErroR writes:
    Dogs DWELL to be close to the those and used properly, your puppy can actually canine.
  2. Simpson writes:
    Pet out of that comfort training the.
  3. QANQSTER writes:
    That an awesome many canines - a number of of my very own, included - would be vulnerable it's for.
  4. Eshqim writes:
    Adaptable, these canines distinguished themselves.
  5. Smack_That writes:
    Him in a canine show within the class you would.