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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We all like to attribute human personality onto to our darling labs but do they actually think, what we think there thinking. For instance: when Beau tilts her head to one side, is she actually thinking "What are you trying to say to me" or is she thinking something totally different or not thinking anything at all. Another example is when she wags her tail. is she thinking "Im Happy" or is it an automated response to stimulation. We even try to read facial expressions. I have two cats and one in particular pulls all sorts of faces, I love to try and figure out what he's thinking. My little Beau has a great personality, she is very loving and playfull and loves to have her belly tickled. When it's food time she spins around and around on the spot until she has been fed. She must be thinking "yea it's food time, if i act like a nutter ill get lots of food". She also has that look on her face when im trying to eat food, you know the look, the one that could melt butter and makes you think arrr she hungry, give her a little bit.
If anybody has any interesting stories about your labs and thier personality's id love to hear them.
Thanks for now.

Matt
 

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When Corbie is asleep I'll sometimes wake him up and give him a cuddle, but he gives me that 'I want to be alone' look! :lol:

Or when it's bedtime he'll be asleep on his comfy cushion in the lounge, I go into the kitchen to make sure his bedding is all in his cage (he likes to take the blankets out during the day) and by the time i go back to see where he's got to, I'll find him asleep on the sofa! I try and get him off but those eyes say ' Come on mum, can't you see I could sleep much better here on this cosy couch?!' :D And then I get the dirty look when I make him get down and go to bed :lol:
 

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Hi Matt,

Good topic. :)

I often think how human like Brad our lab can be sometimes. I can read alot by his eyes and facial expressions, those being very similar to our own, apart from the furry face of course! I can normally tell by looking at his eyes what he is trying to tell me, i.e. he needs the loo or just wants a cuddle. If i am by myself with him and he feels uncertain about a certain something, he looks at me in a way as if to say there is something up, and his face looks all concerned.

The other thing he does is sigh. I find this quite funny, as he actually sighs upon looking out the window as if to say 'I want to go out and play' !

Other human like behaviour includes burping and snoring! :lol:

I think the wagging of the tail is definately a sign that they are 'happy', the tail wag does double time when Brad has been swimming or has been given his favourite kong!

Julie
 

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Hi, the desire to know what my dog was thinking and feeling is what started me on my study of canine communication and body language. I thought I would learn what she was trying to tell me in human terms, but the opposite has happened. I have learnt what she is telling me in dog terms and it is sometimes a whole different story! I understand and respect her 'dog mind' so much more now and think it has added a new dimension to our relationship.
Rosie
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi
Thanks for your reply's everybody, im especialy interested in what Rosey w said about canine communication. Can you give us some example's of what you said about: "learning what she is telling you in dog terms".
You say that it's a whole different story to what we think they are thinking, can you elaborate on that a little, it sounds very intriguing.
Thanks
Matt
 

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Hi Matt, a couple of things spring to mind. Dogs are very sensitive about their personal space. This varies from dog to dog and in each dog it varies according to context ie. things in the environment like where they are, what dogs/people are present, how well they know them. It depends how they are feeling, worried, sleepy, relaxed, ill etc, If they have something of value, or another dog/person has, if they are a timid or confident dog etc etc. Poppy is a fairly confident, well socialised dog. She loves people and can communicate well with other dogs through observing dog 'etiquette'. She is fairly independent and not one to follow me about, want to sit on my lap or have cuddles. Although I knew this before I started to learn about body language, I still couldn't resist giving her the odd kiss and cuddle. Since learning tho, I can see that she really is not comfortable with this 'smothering' as she sees it. She will put up with it, but she licks her lips, turns her head away, she might yawn or her tail wags uncertainly. Some people are 'touchy-feely' types and some aren't, so I now respect Poppys' feelings. She loves her chest and tummy rubs etc so I am not 'starved'! I also can see when she is beginning to be uncomfortable, say if she is onlead and another dog invades her personal space, young kids are too boisterous near her etc. It is not that she would at that stage do anything, but I am listening to what she is communicating through her body language and can then help her out, perhaps by moving away or standing inbetween her and whatever is bothering her. Tail wagging is another thing that some people misinterpret. They think a waggy tail means a happy dog. This is far from true. It depends on height of tail, relaxed or stiff, a wide arc or a quiver and everything inbetween. This also has to be read with the rest of the body language and also depends on context. How many times have you heard after a dog has bitten someone 'It was out of the blue, he was wagging his tail'
Sorry to ramble, but you got me going on my favourite subject. I find it so fascinating and there is so much to learn.

Rosie
 

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i have two labs after unfortunatly loosing one a few months back, obvioulsy they are very different characters.
Winston, the oldest, has become a real 'victor meldrew' in recent years after we had the litter. i wonder wether this is because cassie (the mother) was very protective of her pups. Now winston hates puppys and small children.

sherman (one of the litter who we kept) is a differnt matter. i cannot possibly see how that amimal thinks at all! he is the most loveing and effectionate creature but possibly the most stupid! the other to could work things out but sherman is complete instinct.

many animals learn habbits so if you feed them at the same time every day then they know that say 5 o'clock is tea time and will pester you until u feed them.
but then how do some animals work out that brambles hurt or how to open doors!? maybe one day we will have the techknowlogy to find out.
 

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Hi, animals learn these things through trial and error learning [operant conditioning] They get scratched by brambles, so learn to avoid them. They might scrabble at a doorway because they last saw you go through it and accidentally pull the handle down and so open the door. They are much better at reading us than we are them and notice every little cue we give before a certain action.
Rosie
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Rosie,
I like the bit about the tail wagging. When we introduced Dixie (seven weeks old) to beau (12 weeks old) tails were wagging but they were allmost straight and just the end of it was wagging. I would interpret that as saying "I'm not going to bite your head off, but just go easy because im not sure about you". Is this correct or am i way of the mark.
Where do you get your information about this subject from? is it in the form of a book or a website that you could post a link for.
Thanks

Matt.
 

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Hi Matt,
Your interpretaion sounds pretty much right, but as I said, its read along with the rest of the facial and body postures. I have been to seminars, attended college, scoured the internet and read books about dog communication. I am also friends with a behaviourist who can read dogs better than anyone I have ever seen or heard and I nag the life out of her. She has let me come on behaviour consults, walk with packs of dogs, watch videos of dog interactions or just talk and she tells me what is going on. I also often take my camara or camcorder out with me when I take Poppy for a walk so I can record interactions then study them. Some of the signals are so quick or subtle that I miss them when they are actually happening. Also, I often have a picture where I think nothing much is happening, show my friend and she says what an interesting picture it is, look at this, look at that....Like most other things, the more I know, the more I realize I don't know! Two books I can recommend to get you started are 'Dog Language' by Roger Abrantes and 'How to Speak Dog' by Stanley Coren.

Rosie

Rosie
 

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Thanks for recommending those books! I have just started reading 'How to Speak Dog' and find it very interesting and thought provoking.

I'm currently learning to speak doggish :lol:

It does really make you more aware though of your dogs reactions to words. We chatted about this the other day on a thread somewhere about how dogs actually understand things you think you've never taught them.
And that possibly it isn't always a command = reward situation.

Good book. Thanks!
 
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