Tag Archives: ears

Stormy skies

The weather is stormy today. We went to the beach and my ears just flew with the wind! Like in this pic – this is an old one of me and some of the Bandidos. I do not have a pic of this morning, the weather was so bad that M did not want to use the camera!

I like it when the weather is rough. It makes me feel very energetic, it is even more fun to run at the beach when the wind is blowing into my ears and fur!

By the way: I do not have pics of our new home yet. M tells me it will take some months before we move, so I won’t be able to check it out for some time. She also tells me we’ll stay in the same city and will walk the same dune-forest and beach. So my hunting grounds won’t change. Nice.

 

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Body language (2)

In my last post I explained to you how to read canine moods by looking at our ears. Someone asked me what to do with this knowledge. Well, I think it is good just to know, you do not necessarily have to do something with it (what is it with humans, that everything has got to have a purpose?). But if it makes my human readers happy, I will explain some more.

When you know what kind of mood a dog is in, you can make a decision what to do (or not do). For instance: you are walking with your dog and suddenly your dog stops and pulls her ears flat to her head. This means she saw or smelled something that scared her. In that case you, as her human, should be beware too. So don’t drag her along, but investigate. Maybe your dog was scared by something that is not really dangerous, like a big and dark bag of garbage lying in your way. Then you can walk along, acting as if nothing is the matter. But maybe there is something dangerous in your path, like a bad tempered cat or a mean dog hiding in the bushes. In that case you should be grateful to your dog, because she warned you against this danger. Of course in this situation you do not go on, but you take another path and walk happily on.

Grassy walk

I notice a lot of humans are worried about bad mannered dogs. Some humans are very scared of all dogs, which is a bit silly because most dogs are friendly. But bad mannered, aggressive dogs: yes, it is sensible to be scared of them. Although there is a big difference, which you will understand when you look at their ears. An aggressive dog that has his ears flat to its head, is unsure or scared. An aggressive dog that has his ears pointing forward, is very sure of himself. Mind you: both dogs are dangerous, they will attack when they have to. The difference is that an aggressive dog with his ears flat is unsure and therefore will only attack when he sees no other way. He reacts out of fear. The aggressive dog with his ears turned forward reacts out of habit, training and character. These are the ferocious guarding dogs and police dogs.

All right, I can hear some human readers ask the question (again) what to do with this knowledge. When you are a human with an aggressive dog, it is good to know the difference. Because when your dog is aggressive out of fear, you can help him getting more sure of himself. In the end, he won’t need to be aggressive anymore and he will become a happy, well balanced dog. When your dog is aggressive out of character, congratulations! You and him can go to the police dog school and do some thorough training. In the end you will have a very obedient, very strong dog that will make sure you are safe, whatever the circumstances. You will be able to leave your car unlocked or your bag outside the supermarket when you go in, because no one will dare to touch it with your dog near it.

If the aggressive dog is not your dog, but you meet him on the street, there is only one thing to do: go away. It doesn’t matter if the dog is behaving out of fear or character, you do not want to interact with an aggressive dog. Do as I do (and as every dog does): ignore him and go the other way. Do not look at him, certainly do not look him in the eye because this is very rude and will only challenge him. Do not try to walk past him. Cross the street, take another path, turn around and walk along in a leisurely way. If the dog is in a courtyard, do not go in – why would you do that, anyway? It would be very unwise and you know, the dog has a point, guarding his territory.

Some humans say you are a coward when you cross the street to avoid a confrontation. I think this is very silly, something only humans can come up with. Humans seem to make a lot of things way too difficult. Why on earth would you want to confront an aggressive dog? Do you think you will change him, make him behave better by confronting him? You won’t. You will only end up at the doctor and it will hurt. It will cost you a lot of time, time you could have spend walking on the beach or sleeping on the sofa in the sun. I don’t have to think long what I would prefer.

Body language (1)

Readers of this blog will know that I sometimes write about canine behavior, because there are a lot of things humans do not seem to understand about us. I believe that by writing about these misunderstandings, I will make life better for humans and dogs. That is one of my Ambitions. This time I would like to write about body language, to be precise ear language.

If you want to understand dogs, it helps if you know what to look for. You can start by reading our ears. We dogs can move our ears in a lot of different ways, no matter what shape they have. It is easier to read this by dog breeds with big ears, like German shepherds. But when you know where to look, you can also read the flappy ears of breeds like labradors. Look at the root of the ears, where they are attached to the head.

Basically, there are three major positions. The first one is when we are alert and interested in our surroundings:

Body language alert

You can see both dogs (the German shepherd is my friend Boss) have their ears turned forward. When we look like this, we are ready for action: playing, running, guarding, anything.

The second position is for situations when we do not feel too sure. For instance when we are impressed by another dog, cautious or scared of something. Then we turn our ears backward and stick them to our head, as flat as possible.

Body language submissive

The dog on the left is lying on the ground and moving her ears in a position that tells the black dog: okay, you are the boss (for now). The black dog is not feeling too sure either, her ears are flat as well, although she is dominating the one lying on the beach (notice she is almost stepping on her, another sign of body language I will write about later). This probably is because the picture was taken by Nicoline, my personal trainer, and Nicoline told the black dog to behave. The black dog was busy dominating the other one, but while doing so thought ‘uh-oh this might not have been a good idea with Nicoline so close’. This happens a lot to dogs, especially the not so smart ones: they act first and think later.

Notice that the lab next to the black dog is totally relaxed, ears in a neutral position. But hey, he is a very dumb lab. He probably did not get what was going on, thinking about balls.

Then there is the third position, I will call it neutral. It is when we are relaxed:

Body language apprehensive

Mind you: this can change very fast. We dogs react to our surroundings almost immediately (that is, the smarter ones), so we can go from neutral to alert to submissive in a split second. When you want to understand us, you have to be a good observer. But that is the fun of it, right? Never a dull moment.

Of course, these are just the three basic ear positions. There are a lot of other ones, for special occasions. I for instance have a wide array of positions, which I use as I please. This one is for when I feel hungry and P is eating something that smells lovely. It is something in between alert and neutral. Of course in this situation I am very alert (food is my top priority), but I do not want to give the impression of being too pushy. That is why I wear my ears like this:

Method cropped.jpg

This is for when I want something really, really bad:

Being very sweet

And then there are dogs that have a body language that is beyond any description. Like this one. What does it mean? Your guess is as good as mine:

Body language your guess is as good as mine

 

Hair extensions

Yesterday we met an extraordinary dog breed. There were four of them, on the beach. Their human told M they are Salukis, a very old hunting dog breed from Arabia. I played with the youngest one of them and he was as fast as I am. We looked alike, having the same physique. That is no surprise to me, because I am sure I descend from a line of noble, ancient hunting dogs. My grandmother could very well have been a Saluki.

There are no pictures of us playing on the beach, alas, because it  was a bit dark already. But M managed to find a picture of this breed on the internet (and no, they are not skinny, they are just right!):

Saluki_895534.jpg (1200×1062)

I think they look absolutely gorgeous. I especially like their ears. I am a pretty dog myself, but I would like to have ears like that. So I decided what to ask for a present, this Christmas. Not a bed (I already have loads of them), not food (they will probably give that to me, anyway), nor toys (I destroy them in seconds). I will ask hair extensions! For my ears! That would be so pretty.