Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What It Means?

Dog Psychology

Hi all,
I really got hooked on all these "What It Means", lets pick couple of them and learn to understand our doggie friends better.

A Dog's Growl & What It Means

Growls can stand alone or be used to modify barking sounds to add a degree of threat. Below are 5 different ways a dog may grow and what the dog means by that growl:

1. Soft, low-pitched growling:
"Beware!" "Back off!" This is used as a threat and usually causes the listener to move away, giving the dog more space.

2. Low-pitched growl-bark:
This is a clear growl that leads to a bark. It means "I'm upset and I'm ready to fight!" This is a clear warning that pressing the dog will lead to aggression.

3. Higher midrange-pitched growl-bark:
"I'm worried [or frightened], but I will defend myself." This is the threat of a less-confident animal who will, however, most likely fight back if pushed.

4. Undulating growl:
This is a growl that goes from low midrange to high midrange with a kind of a semi-bark often added as the pitch rises. It means "I'm terrified. If you come at me, I may fight or I may run." This is the fearful-aggressive sound of a very unsure dog.

5. Noisy growl, with teeth hidden from view:
"This is a good game!" "I'm having fun!" It is usually part of the play sequence and may be tucked in between a series of stutter-barks. It usually indicates intense concentration, as in a tug-of-war or play-acting aggression.

Dog's Mouth Gestures & What They Mean

1. Mouth relaxed and slightly open, tongue may be slightly visible or even slightly draped over the lower teeth:
This is the dog equivalent of the human smile. It means "I am happy and relaxed."

2. Yawn:
While it is usually interpreted by humans as meaning fatigue or boredom, it is actually a stress-related signal, best interpreted as "I am tense or anxious."

3. Lips curled to expose some teeth, mouth still mostly closed:
"You are annoying me!" This is the first sign of menace or threat.

4. Lips curled up to show major teeth, some wrinkling of the area above the nose, mouth partly open:
"If you do something that I might interpret as a threat, I may bite." This is the next stage of threat but may also indicate fearfulness. Pressing a dog at this stage may lead to an aggressive attack.

5. Lips curled up to expose not only all of the teeth but also the gums above the front teeth, visible wrinkles above the nose:
"Back off!" This is the full threat display that indicates a dog is ready to release a violent attack. If you are ever confronted with this display, you should not turn and run: the level of arousal is so high that your movement will probably produce a pursuit-and-attack response. Instead, cast your gaze slightly down (a slightly submissive eye position), open your mouth a bit (a bit of a counter-threat), and back off slowly.

Your Dog's Ear Movements & What They Mean

All positions of a dog's ears should be gauged relative to the way the dog normally carries his ears when he is relaxed. Dogs with severely cropped or very long ears will be harder to read.

1. Ears erect or slightly forward:
"What is that?" This is a sign of attention in response to a sound or when studying a new situation. Accompanied by a slightly tilted head and a relaxed or slightly open mouth, the meaning changes to "This is really interesting" or "I do not understand that" and is associated with observation of an event. However, when accompanied with bared teeth and wrinkled nose, it is an offensive threat by a confident dog.

2. Ears pulled back flat against the head:
"I am scared" or "I am protecting myself against a possible attack." This is usually associated with a challenge of some sort.

3. Ears pulled slightly back:
On a prick-eared dog such as a German Shepherd, the ears take on a slightly splayed, sideways spread in this position. It means "I do not like this" and "I am ready to fight or run." This is the look of suspicion and may show both aggression and ambivalence.

Okie, have shared quite a lot. Just can't stop digging all these interesting "What It Means".
Hope you enjoy them.

Seeya tomorrow, keep on "woofing". :o)

Dog Psychology

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