[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday

“Calm submissive,” or stressed?

Photo by Sara Reusche

This dog may look like she’s calm at first since she’s holding very still, but a closer look shows us that Honey is very uncomfortable being handled by a stranger. Her ears are back, her body and face are tense, her tail is down, her whiskers are flared, and she’s whale eyed.

How would you handle a dog like this?

5 responses to “[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday

  1. i *wouldn’t* handle a dog this uncomfortable (unless it’s necessary for something like a vet/physical exam, there is no need). i would work on desensitizing and counterconditioning to body handling. perhaps start with teaching a basic nose to hand target and build from there so that dog is offering to come closer for brief interaction. send her away frequently so she learns that she actually has a choice to come back for more or not. in any case, keeping my body low, with my side or back to her, avert my eyes so i’m not looking directly into her eyes, and keep my hands in my own body space (wait for her to come to me).

  2. That dog is stressed. Holding her body very stiffly and trying to avoid the situation by turning away. Could easily result in a bite if the dog is prone to lashing out in fear. If it weren’t my dog I would back off.

    Rainy usually looks exactly like this as the vet looks at her during our visits. She’s uncomfortable but gets over it when we exit the building. I don’t really work at it since it’s only a white coat syndrome thing. She fine with most other people touching her all over and of course I can pole and prod anywhere.

    Sunshine holds her body a little more relaxed at the vet but she hides her head in my chest/arm so she can pretend it’s not happening! LOL We are still convincing her that strangers are not all bad. She trusts that 95% of the time her Mommy will protect her and make sure nothing bad will happen.

    I’m the Pain in the Ass owner who will not let anyone take her into the back room. I made that mistake once and it took 3 people to push pull and drag her back away form me. Our ER vet has even allowed me to bring her into the Xray room, lift her onto the table, leave once I had her in position. Then they even called me back in the room to help switch her into the second position! I wasn’t expecting that but the techs said they could feel her instantly relax as soon as I came back into the room even though they still had her twisted and pinned down like a pretzel. I’m amazed at how much trust that little dog has in me! We worked hard to get there but there were times I didn’t think it was possible. And here I go off on a tangent again! LOL

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  4. Despite having her legs widespread, her back end is also lowered which results in a rounded back. Great pic!

  5. And she also is doing a head turn.

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