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  #1  
Old 06-26-2002, 12:00 PM
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Location: Atlanta, GA USA
Stalking pose when approaching other dogs

I'm curious. There are a couple of people in my neighborhood that walk their dogs at the same I do in the morning. I'm friendly with them and we always stop to chat and let our dogs say hello. When we approach, my dog squats low and approaches the other dogs in what looks like a stalk, she almost looks like a panther stalking prey. Once we get up to them she goes into her regular playful puppy mode. The other owners say their dogs do that sometimes too, but they've never done it when approaching us. Any idea why she would do this?
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2002, 12:09 PM
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We have a Lab (about 15 mos.old) who does the same thing to my rottie, and my neighbors Retriever. It is her way of showing respect to more dominat dogs. She is groveling to show no threat to them, but it does look like she is about to pounce I know what you mean.
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  #3  
Old 06-26-2002, 12:13 PM
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Thank you, that makes perfect sense because she is very submissive.
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  #4  
Old 06-26-2002, 12:15 PM
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I have also heard that submissive dogs (I have one too) will turn sideways or avoid staring, just to let the other dog know they mean no harm...

Then of course there's the play bow, needs no explanation...:D
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  #5  
Old 06-26-2002, 02:39 PM
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Working dogs...getting ready to herd...both my Rottweiler and border collie do it. I don't think it has a lot to do with submission...they seem to be sussing out the situation...wondering if they have to get into herd mode.
Barbara
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2002, 03:38 PM
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The dropped head is to remove threat while still watching the stock. A head held high and looking forward sends the stock running in a hurry which makes the hard to manage. That is a dog that understands stock and does not want to send them into flight. I think the approach to other dogs is still much the same, saying "I am no threat to you"........
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  #7  
Old 06-27-2002, 05:07 AM
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My Jess does that to every Dog she meets first up at the park. She does it on the lead and off. It depends on the dog but if there is more than one she will get right down on her belly until the other dog/s come up to her then pounces up ready to play. She only has been doing this down position since a couple of yappy white fluffy dogs gave her a mouthful one day and she thought it was not very nice. She seemed to become more subbmisive to dogs at first meeting even if she knows them. I think it is the herding instict coupled with submissive posture.
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2002, 05:40 AM
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In a typical submissive crouch, described well in Stanley Coren's "How to Speak Dog," the dog will not only hunker down but you would see the tail held low, (if you have an undocked Rott or enough of a tail to show direction and intent), the ears will lie flat and droopy or may be pulled back, the dog will avoid eye contact, the corners of the mouth will be drawn back; however, the head will usually be semi-erect and not dropped toward the ground. You may notcie the dog raise one of its front paws slightly off the ground if it is stationary. The dogs mouth will either be shut or rather casually open. This posture is used to pacify another more dominant dog.

However, both Fear-Aggression and Anxiety can cause a slouched low-to-the ground position also. However, in a Fear Aggressive stance, the dog's hackles will be up, the head will tend to drop closer to the ground, the lips may be curled and more teeth showing. The nose will wrinkle, and the dog's pupils will usually dialate. The dog will not avoid eye contact, but may stare glaringly at the other dog. The tail will be stationary, but the ears will be tight against the head or pulled back just as in the submissive dog. Whereas the Fear Aggressive dog will seem to be leaning forward, perched for action, a submissive dog will usually be directly over its center of gravity or may lean backwards slightly. This posture suggests the dog is afraid but is ready to fight or attack if necessary. It is in fight or flight mode. Unlike the submissive dog who will generally give an impression of being artificially relaxed and loose, an aggressive dog will appear stiff.

The final low-to-ground posture is one of general anxiety. Here we have ears back, body low, and tail, if observable, dropped, as in the submissive posture. Whereas the submissive dog's head is often slightly lifted and the Fear-Anxious dog's head is held low, the anxious dog will usually hold its head in an in between position, level with the top line of its body and extending forward. The general line of the anxious dog's back is straight, making its entire body and head appear to be one unit. In both Fearfully Anxious dogs and Submissive dogs, the back is usually bent and resembles a series of rolling hills. In a Aggressive dog, the high point of the back and of the dog's tension will be the front shoulders, whereas in a submissive dog, the butt often is raised high, with the back slopping downward and then back up near the neck. Rapid panting and a wide open mouth are typical of anxious dogs.

The context and subsequent behavior of the dog will help to determine which of these crouched positions is being employed. The submissive dog will often continue to approach the other dog, and will sometimes duck lower and lower as it approaches. Upon confrontation, it will exhibit typical submissive signs such as licking at the other dog's face, rolling onto its back, or standing still while the other dog circles it sniffing. It will offer no vocalizations. This is ritualized aggression, and unless the dominant dog is grumpy, it typically will result in no real aggression or attack.

A Fearful and Aggressive dog will usually stop in its tracks and threaten from a distance. It's behavior will become more aggressive if the other dog comes nearer.

A stressed or generally anxious dog often is not responding or directing its behavior at one specific dog or threat, but is broadcasting its body language to all in the environment. It may keep walking or stop and refuse to walk in a specific direction. Its behavior will most often remain costant and not escallate quickly.

Growling or barking would be expected from only the Fear Aggressive dog, while the other two crouching types are usally silent except for the panting or wheezing of the generally anxious dog. Generally anxious behavior is often seen in uncomfortable weather conditions such as extremely hot days and is often a sign of tirednes or overworking the dog.

Behaviorist Patricia McConnell's new book, The Other End of the Laash, also discusses much of this material. The combination of both the Coren book and McConnell's make a great and thorough introduction into bady language and dog behavior. Coren spends more time on vocalizations--barking, growling, whining, etc., where McConnell's book is aimed more at trainers and interested owners. Two handy dictionaries of dog sounds and body langauge appear in the appendix of Coren's book, and summarize all the material in the book in a quick reference fashion.

I am unfamiliar with the typical postures of herding dogs, but I don't view a Rottie as a herding dog.

Last edited by BarryMcD; 07-01-2002 at 05:57 AM.
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  #9  
Old 07-02-2002, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BarryMcD
I am unfamiliar with the typical postures of herding dogs, but I don't view a Rottie as a herding dog.
Not to put too fine a point on this, Barry, but that's what they were initially bred for. Their protective instincts can obviously include more than one purpose (schutzhund being another, for instance) but if my cats were alive today, they would readily attest to being herded around the house by a very serious Rottweiler on one of his slower days. ;)
Barbara
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  #10  
Old 07-02-2002, 08:20 AM
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A bit of digression, but not really. At one of the herding clinics I attended the person giving the clinic (who is a Border person) addressed the audience and told them that "the Rottweiler is the original and first of the herding breeds". She also stated that she had never tested a Rottweiler that did not have herding instinct. Some have a natural ability to understand this from the beginning, some have to learn that if they rush in, they lose the stock and then they figure it out. Waring has the dog presenting it's side which controls and further removes the pressure.

In herding, an upright breed that advances on the stock with head held high and a direct look will send the stock into flight which is counter to meeting the needs of moving them peacefully. This is particularly true with sheep. A dog with good stock sense will drop the head and usually turn it so as to remove the threat as much as possible. With that manner of approach, it can work more closely to the stock and control them without sending them into flight. It only resorts to the direct, hard approach with stubborn stock and especially with those young steers that say "go away or I'll stomp you into hamburger"!!!

The dropped head while approaching is intended to remove threat and this same posture still means "no threat" when approaching another dog although herding is not the intent and it can be seen used by any dog of any breed in interdog interactions. Inter-dog, it is usually used by a more submissive dog who wants to interact with the other dog peacefully and is attempting to assure the other dog of that intent. Barry's descriptions are quite complete in the different meanings of all the fine clues, but in this particular case where the dog is making the approach and solicitating interaction, I believe it is the more obvious message to the other dog that "I am not a threat, and want to say hello safely". The stronger although friendly dog will usually be in an upright position often on its toes with ears forward and adding a bit of bounce to the front end indicating "play". The Rottweiler by its nature is usually of the stronger nature, although that certainly is not always the case. Young dogs and more submissive dogs that want to interact but do so safely will often exagerate this message of no threat.
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