Tag Archives: Body language

Fall 2018 And Your Canine Companions

wp oct 9 2018

The above picture of Champagne is exactly how I felt this past Summer: hot, bothered, and anxiously waiting for better weather.  And you know what?  My wish came true and here’s Fall!  We’ve had rain and a lot of cloudy days lately here in Stoughton, MA but I can’t complain about the weather because it’s been very pleasant with a few sunny days.

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So, what’s Abby been up to?  She’s been taking her usual walks – no longer very early in the morning – and lots of sleeping in her comfortable and warm bed.  What a hard life my girl has, right?  Anyway, enjoy this weather and don’t forget to walk your doggies.

Socializing Your Dog With Other Dogs

social1As a child growing up in Ecuador with a menagerie of animals, dogs were our constant companions.  I grew up in a small village by the sea and for us to see a dog being walked on a leash was something very weird.  Socializing dogs?  We didn’t know what that meant.

Once I got my first dog, a challenging handsome staffie, and started to go to training classes, I realized that dogs getting along with other dogs, socializing, was something a lot of dogs have difficulty doing.  I also figured out that many pet parents didn’t know how to properly socialize their dogs.

social2When a dog stays with us, I send pictures to the pet parent so he can see his furry kid.  A couple of years ago I had a pet parent say to me, “You sent me a picture of my dog sitting right next to another dog.  How did you do that?  She doesn’t like to sit next to other dogs.”  I was surprised by what she said.  A couple of other pet parents also said similar things.

How did I do it?  I made sure that they had plenty of exercise, structure, discipline, and boundaries.  For some dogs, being next to another dog, like the above picture is close to impossible.  If you don’t know how to work with your dog, do what I did years and years ago, find a trainer that can help you understand and learn about dogs.  Living with a dog should be enjoyable, not stressful.

Christmas is Coming – Is That The Mailman?

presents2014Just like us humans, dogs also wait for their presents when Christmas is approaching, as you can see in the above picture.  The bad thing about it is that I don’t know yet what to get for them.  Any ideas?  I think an orthopedic bed.  They all go to the front window when they hear the doorbell ring expecting goodies for them.  Brats! presents2014 (2)And this is what most people end up seeing once I open the door.  Two adorable furry kids waiting for presents.  Talk about not having any patience.  Have a great weekend.

Teaching Bella To Get Along With Other Dogs – BARCS ID# A21561474

getalong117 days ago, Cynthia and I went to pick up Candie, now renamed Bella, from BARCS, and the progress she’s made so far is amazing.  At the beginning, Bella wanted nothing to do with Alex and we did not force her either, but rather took them both for walks, and runs around the neighborhood.  Bella’s body language was that of a dog in shock of being outside.  More details in another post.  Anyway, as time went by, Bella stopped staring and wanting to go for Alex.

getalong2But look at Bella now.  She is sunbathing on our deck with Alex and Dexter.  Does this take time?  Yes, it does.  And a ton of patience.  Today, Monday, was a nice day so we went out and stayed hanging out on the deck for a while.  What is the point of doing this?  I want Bella to get used to just relaxing around other dogs and I also wanted to observe her body language towards Alex and Dexter, and the squirrels around our backyard that always get her attention.

getalong3This is one of my regulars, Dexter, a boxer mix.  Dexter loves to sunbathe indoors or outdoors.  He is a bigger sun worshipper than my daughter, Alex.  Bella was not very good at dealing with other dogs once we were inside the house, but…

getalong4this is Bella now.  Bella was already on that spot.  Dexter came over and decided that that was the right spot for him and proceeded to fall asleep without a care in the world.  I was looking at their body language to see if there was any signs of aggression to come, but nothing.  I know this may sound ridiculous to some people, but I wanted to cry.  Why?  This is progress for Bella, being able to get along with other dogs indoors, and I was over the moon.

getalong5As you can see, Bella is about to fall asleep too.  Is there anything in particular we did to get her to this point?  No, it was a combination of many things such as:

  • Exercise – a mix of walks and runs twice a day
  • Feeding – once she is finished eating, she is to wait patiently until all the other dogs finish their meal and then all of them go to bed to relax and take a nap
  • Sleeping – she sleeps in her crate after we give her some loving
  • At home – she is not allowed to roam around the house on her own.  She is either with Cynthia or I so we can monitor her body language and interaction with other dogs
  • Outside – we are working on getting her to walk properly, and she is doing better.  Her body language during our walks went from afraid to more relaxed as time went by, although squirrels still drive her nuts
  • Structure – she gets all the love she can handle, but she must earn it.  She has to sit before she gets anything, she has to wait before going out the door, and so much more

getalong6Bella is even getting more comfortable with Alex sniffing her and being close to her.  For those pet parents and foster parents that just got a new dog to add to their pack, my advice would be to do the following: have patience, appreciate the progress your dogs are making regardless of how small they may seem, do not leave them unattended, provide structure for them, exercise them, and work on teaching them basic training and good manners.  Understand this though, your dog will not change overnight.  You will see progress and change in your dog as time goes by, so arm yourself with a lot of patience and do not feel discourage when there are setbacks, and there will be set backs.  Our foster furry kid, Bella, is an amazing girl and little by little we are starting to see a more relaxed and balanced doggie.  Enjoy your holiday with your furry children.

Introducing Bella To Alex – BARCS ID# A21561474

introbellalex1Well, it was time to introduce Bella to Alex today and this is how I introduce new dogs to my pack.

Cynthia, Alex, Bella, and I went for a walk together.  At the beginning of the walk, Alex was on my left side while Bella was on Cynthia’s right side.  We stopped for a couple of minutes so they can do their business, but they were not allowed to interact with each other yet.  Because Alex cannot walk a lot we had to stop after we walked for a little while to give them an opportunity to sniff each other.  Bella’s body language was relaxed and curious.  So far so good.

introbellalex2Once we got home, we went straight to the deck where Bella, still on leash and collar, was able to interact with Alex.  What did I realize?  Bella has no doggie manners.  She almost stepped on Alex a few times.  What did Alex do?  Nothing.  And that is why Alex is perfect for me and for what I do which is board, train, and work on behavioral issues many dogs have.  After a couple of minutes, we brushed their hair and wiped their paws and proceeded to go inside.

Bella’s body language indoors changed.  She became tensed and zeroed in on Alex.  I redirected that behavior by getting her attention and she was fine.

introbellalex3This is what I realized about Bella:

  • Bella’s interaction with Alex outside was great.  She did a play bow inviting Alex to play
  • Once inside, her body language became tense and on guard.  She lowered her head, body was tense, stared at Alex and looked ready to go for her
  • Even though I was not crazy about her body language indoors, Bella responded well or I should say amazingly well to voice corrections and commands
  • Although she did great while playing with other dogs at the shelter, now she has to learn to live in peace with other dogs in a home environment
  • She has to learn doggie manners.  She cannot step over other dogs
  • On the deck, Bella showed signs of stress, pacing back and forth, but she relaxed after a few minutes when she saw Alex sunbathing

This is just the beginning for Bella.  She has a long way to go and this is why a shelter dog, in my opinion, has a better chance to find her forever home when she has been fostered for a while.  Why?  Living in a home environment teaches her how to be a member of a pack and that is something that she cannot learn in a shelter.  I have great admiration for the people who work in shelters.  They do an amazing job, and they can always use our help whether this comes in the form of donations, volunteer time, fostering dogs, etc.  Have a great week.

Introducing A New Member To Our Pack

As a pet sitter, I am always introducing a new dog to my pack, and I was recently asked by a pet parent how do I go about doing such introduction, so I decided to share this information and experience with other pet parents and perhaps get some feedback as well.

This evening, after dinner, Cynthia and I took Alex, our dog, Walter and Dexter, furry boarders, for a nice walk.  Walter stays with us very often so he is used to Alex, but Dexter, a Boxer mix, is the new kid on the block, therefore we needed to do a proper introduction.

Dexter

Dexter

I started by taking Dexter for a long walk as soon as his mom dropped him off.  I walked him for about 10 minutes, and I then asked Cynthia to bring out Walter to join our walk.  After about 25 minutes, during this time they were not allowed to interact with each other for all I wanted was to walk as one pack, we went to a grassy area so they can sniff each other and observe their body language while they are both on a leash.  They were both relaxed and curious about each other which is what you want to see.  I asked Cynthia to now bring Alex out while I walked Walter and Dexter.  Once Alex and Cynthia joined us, we walked for another 20 minutes.  Before heading home, we let them go to a grassy area to do their “business” and sniff each other again, and then proceeded to go straight home.

Alex, Dexter and Walter (from left to right)

Alex, Dexter and Walter (from left to right)

The walk we do as a pack is extremely important when I am introducing a new dog to my pack and this is what I do every time a new dog joins us.  I also like to observe their body language during our walk and while they are interacting with each other for any signs of aggression.

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They were all tired after our walk and decided to take a well-deserved nap.  What a hard live my canine companions have, don’t you think?