[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday

Canine body language quiz: what’s going on with this dog? How would you respond to his body language signals?

10 responses to “[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday

  1. If it weren’t for the combination if his tense body, closed mouth, and upright ears and tail I’d say he looks like he’s about to grab the toy and run to entice someone to play with him… but it looks more like he may be guarding the toy and telling the person to back off.

  2. This is a tough one. My dogs look the same, but if I start to reach for the toy, they back up, obviously wanting to play. Kind of a posturing / play fight sort of thing. This dog could do that, or just as easily curl a lip as you reached for it. Without knowing the dog, I would not reach for the toy!

  3. As a rookie at this, my first thought was guarding. I would not go for the toy.

  4. Laura Haselhorst

    I’m not quite sure – like Merida, I have a pup that looks like this about toys when they’re trying to play. Ami usually uses this posture right before he grabs the toy and asks you to chase him. (He will come close, drop the toy, wag at you until you get close, do this pose, grab the toy and prance away, usually in a big circle around his chosen chaser). On the other hand, if i just came upon this dog, I would respect the message that this is HER fuzzy bone, thank you.

  5. Looks like guarding that toy to me… Rainy will do that for a split second when I move my hand down when she’s gnawing on a delicious bone. It’s instinctual for her and after that split second her brain cells kick in and she remembers that I’m not going to steal it from her and she very well may loose it forever if she guards! .

  6. I would say, this dog is tense and has some resource gaurding issues. I would leave the dog alone till he/she is intrested in something else, then pick up the toy.

  7. Tense around the eyes, commisure forward, head down over the toy, a bit of piloerection. In a still photo, you can’t see is the dog is still or moving, which is a valuable tool in the “reading” here. If he’s frozen, even for a second, not good. If looser, there might be less to worry about. My dog, I might be able to read well enough to know if it’s safe, like Jessica illustrated. A strange dog, which means I am also a stranger to it, I’d not try for the toy, and if there is RG going on, but mild, I might attempt to “jolly” the dog into relaxing so it would feel less threatened, and learn there’s no need to worry. Then when it’s safe, remove the object the dog wants to guard, to defuse things. If it’s more extreme, I’d let him be. If the owner is present, I might suggest to them that they might want to work on any RG issues the dog has in a positive manner, to help keep it from escalating, and avoid a potential bite down the road. Especially since Pitties have such a stigma and don’t need any negative publicity.

  8. Photos like these can be sooooooo misleading. Sometimes the moments leading up to and immediately following the picture are more significant to the situation than the single captured image.
    Still, in this photograph he or she appears to be resource guarding.
    I would give the dog space and continue to indirectly observe his body language for more information.

  9. back away, later when dog is not around… remove toys (all of them including chew toys) and call Sara to help sort this gaurding issue out. :-)

  10. Pingback: When is it play? | Paws Abilities

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