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Discussion Starter #1
Cooper started lying down when we meet other dogs on lead (on the street). He sometimes does it when off lead at the park, i.e. he'll look at a dog and then lie down, facing the dog, chin on the ground, tail wagging, but when at the park he doesn't seem that interested in other dogs and he is happy to play fetch with me.

It's a bit annoying when we're walking on the street because I can't really move him, so either I'm stuck there and the other owner tries to walk past us or a couple of times the other dogs have responded by barking, etc, so it's not a great experience.

I thought he might be worried/scared, so I tried to put myself between him and the other dog and lure him to walk with treats, but last night he did it with a dog coming on the other side of the street (the other dog then started barking at him from across the street) so there was plenty of distance between the two.

Any thoughts?
 

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He's basically saying to the other dog that he doesn't pose a threat and that he wants to say hello. This is really good seeing as he's a youngster - he's trying to make himself small and low to the ground, whilst wagging to show he is a friend not a foe. It also is an invitation for the other dog to approach him if the other dog wants to play. Some dogs will even belly crawl and then roll on their backs under the other dogs nose just so that they absolutely 100% know they just want to be pals.

This is all important dog communication - although its a pain it is so important to let him do what he needs to do. He's learning to talk dog :D
 

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Hehe ok makes sense. I knew about rolling on their back, but wasn't sure about this one... Do I need to worry that the other dogs are responding by barking? Obviously I can't do anything about that other than trying to avoid dogs but our heel walks are already at unsociable hours to limit the number of distractions (until he is able to stay focused!)

His behaviour with other dogs is so much better than it used to be, i.e. he used to run towards any other dog and bounce, jump, bite all over them, so got told off quite a few times (even got bit in the face by a collie once, which scared the bejeezus out of me, but I tried to just walk him away calmly as there was no real harm done, but rather a lesson learned!), and now it's either this lying down thing, looking from a distance and giving me a chance to say 'ok go say hello' (or not) or just starting a chase game when other dogs come up to him.

We met a very young pup the other day and they had a little play fight. Cooper was on his back and the 12-week old munchkin was really going for him, growling and barking, etc. I was waiting for Cooper to tell him off, but he never did. When the baby got too 'aggressive' Cooper would run away, but then come back, lie on his back and let the pup 'attack' him again.

Boogs - I also have sausages, cheese, liver treats, tuna cake and for emergencies - sardines - to distract, guide, entice, lure, get it done!

I'm asking the question because he is being VERY naughty these days, constantly whining and barking, asking for attention, focusing on everything else but me, etc, so I'm just a bit... annoyed! Don't get me wrong I love him loads and if ever I'm home and he's not there I find it all too quiet, but just right now things are a bit trying!
 

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Hmmmm, I don't know.

I do two different things.

Training and fun.

I am trying to teach her the difference without her thinking I am stopping the fun. So I go to very doggy-busy areas where she has a great time playing. But the beginning and end of the walks are for training. (Heel, sit, stay etc).

So she knows that after a training session I say 'off you go' and she can play play play. If we meet other dogs, as long as they are off lead, I often walk with the owners a while so that they can have a proper hooly. Yesterday it was two working Cockers - they gave her a run for her money!

She has no interest whatever in her ball :( She will bring it back for me every time - but only because I ask - she never asks to play ball. So we don't take it.

:)
 

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I'm not sure he is signalling he wants to play. It's hard to say without seeing him but if his tail was wagging at the end rather than a full wag and he was down and staring he could be signalling that he was nervous but willing to defend himself if pushed. The being on the lead would make him uncomfortable because off lead he would feel he had more control over the situation because he could submit or run. Rather like saying I don't want any trouble please leave me alone but half heartedly feeling he should stand his ground. If it was fearful aggressive stance the other dogs would be put on edge by this and it may be why they bark. As his confidence is growing he may be confused about how he should react. I'm sure I've confused the issue now so I do apologise but I just read it differently. In my mind a lowering of the body isn't just I want to play unless the rest of his body language was signalling that.
 

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Kiki_Dollywood said:
I'm asking the question because he is being VERY naughty these days, constantly whining and barking, asking for attention, focusing on everything else but me, etc, so I'm just a bit... annoyed! Don't get me wrong I love him loads and if ever I'm home and he's not there I find it all too quiet, but just right now things are a bit trying!
Stick with it and don't lose heart. Although Poppy is a little older than Cooper she still has her moments (usually when I've started to relax..). Yesterday, for example, her off lead walk through the woods was a dream, she walked at heel when I asked her, spot on recall away from dogs, polite greetings for everyone. Today she jumped on two people, ran through an open gate in someone's garden and came back only when she was ready (not when I called), ran into a creek sinking in mud over her knees (again took a couple of calls to get her back), irritated some swans which hissed at her and she wolfed something unsavoury down before I could get to her (probably fox poo). It does get easier, but there are still good days and bad days (well for me anyway!) :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@tumack - I hear you. I'm still quite the newbie, so dog body language is very new to me! It's never as clear in real life as the pictures in the books, eh? I'll keep monitoring carefully and will pay attention to what happens next without putting anyone or their dogs at risk.

@Loopy_Lou - how old is Poppy? Cooper is exactly like that, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at the moment... He did pretty much exactly everything you listed in the past week (jumping on people, running into a garden, ignoring recall, etc) but then other walks he is all walk to heel, wait patiently, recall from dog play, retrieve to hand, etc.. ARG!

And he chewed one of my yoga mats the other day. Literally chewed to pieces. A whole yoga mat chewed to a pile of small rubber squares. Not impressed, but at least it wasn't the sofa...

Patience, patience, patience...
 

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Kiki_Dollywood said:
@Loopy_Lou - how old is Poppy? Cooper is exactly like that, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at the moment... He did pretty much exactly everything you listed in the past week (jumping on people, running into a garden, ignoring recall, etc) but then other walks he is all walk to heel, wait patiently, recall from dog play, retrieve to hand, etc.. ARG!

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Poppy was one in October, but I have to say, in comparison to her earlier behaviour, she is vastly improved. She's super-duper sociable and would take off across a football field to greet people as well as dogs. I had to have her on a long line for quite a while :roll:

I also forgot to say Poppy quite often lies down when she sees another dog and very occasionally she'll do it on the lead. I'm not really sure what it means behaviour wise, but as a rule Poppy is very submissive and rolls over to most other dogs (other than lab puppies strangely - she's a bit too boisterous with them!).
 

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He's a teenager. Don't worry that this will be his adult behaviour in a worrying way. Maggie was 12 months when she came, and frankly out of her box. As she calmed down and got used to free running she still did the lie down thing. Now l looking back I think it gave her time to suss out the situation and although I accept the notion of "come in peace" it did freak out quite a few dogs of all breeds, especially when she reckoned the distance was right and then launched herself to play 8O

I wouldn't waste time trying to interpret it, if it's a behaviour you don't want then stop it. Turn around and walk him sharply in the opposite direction with lots of encouraging high pitched voice and a treat if you like when he focuses back on you. If he then manages to walk past on lead still paying more attention to you, then wait till they've gone and tell him he's wonderful (which he is :D )
 

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He's a teenager. Don't worry that this will be his adult behaviour in a worrying way. Maggie was 12 months when she came, and frankly out of her box. As she calmed down and got used to free running she still did the lie down thing. Now l looking back I think it gave her time to suss out the situation and although I accept the notion of "come in peace" it did freak out quite a few dogs of all breeds, especially when she reckoned the distance was right and then launched herself to play 8O

I wouldn't waste time trying to interpret it, if it's a behaviour you don't want then stop it. Turn around and walk him sharply in the opposite direction with lots of encouraging high pitched voice and a treat if you like when he focuses back on you. If he then manages to walk past on lead still paying more attention to you, then wait till they've gone and tell him he's wonderful (which he is :D )
 

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Lying down is a calming signal that indicates they don't want to be seen as a threat. Luna used to do it A LOT!!! When we first started at agility comps it is the reason I met everyone who has since become friends... she'd glue herself to the floor as their dog approached... I got NO WHERE fast as there were so many dogs so got chatting instead!!! I think that while they are lying down to indicate they are no threat they get the chance to assess the situation and read it... at least once Luna began this behaviour she began to get better at interpreting behaviour of other dogs and humans. She learnt which dogs wanted her to go around in an arc, which humans and dogs wanted to play and which just weren't too bothered. As she got older she has been less dog focused and more me focused, she has also become very used to training and competition environments and has a work head on that means she has the confidence to ignore other dogs in those situations. On a lead walks now she tends not to do it, just off lead mainly.

I've seen Tucker copy the behaviour more and more over the past couple of years and I LOVE seeing it because if he could become as good as Luna is at reading body language I would be a happy Laura... he's a slow learner though!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Gotta love the teenage phase lol!

It doesn't bother me too much. There have been a few occasions when it was really not the time or place (ie crossing the street!), but generally I don't mind giving him a few second to assess and make up his mind. Same as I don't mind a little sniffing as long as he can focus back and move on.

I hope this wasnt a silly question. I'm still worried about messing things up so I try so hard and tend to over analyse things! Thanks everyone for your input and advice!
 

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... its also a dog 'stalling for time to assess the approaching dog and their demeanour'. I would imagine he's at a fairly independent stage at the moment as he, when on the lead, is not taking YOUR confidence to proceed as 'enough' he needs to read the situation for a little while for himself. You tend to find this is genetically driven as a response. If you did a straw poll I would imagine several other litter siblings would also be responding this way to approaching dogs.

Good advice on the... 'if offlead let him deal with dogs his own way'.... On lead if its annoying, make the bugger walk.... be that either forwards or turn and heel away as mentioned.... When on lead he obeys your rules, and seen as you have never let him down yet, IE lead walked him into a full on attack, he needs to learn that what HE is thinking about, at that time is secondry to keeping the pavement clear etc etc ;-)

Di
 

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I have to endorse Laura and Luna's response as I have the same with Mischa, more so since her cruciate Op, but she is certainly being careful at the moment with any new dogs and laying down to tell them she is no threat.

With dogs she knows it is different, she is happy to rough and tumble but still carefull.

To be honest I have always liked this little foible it does tell other dogs she is no threat, but just lately since the OP she is a little over cautious and I wish she would man up, but maybe she knows more than I do so I will go with the flow for another week or two an see if her confidence improves, or maybe she still has a discomfort that needs checking out, who knows with these labbys :roll: .

June
 

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Bruce does this too all the time when he is off lead with other dogs and today I was so pleased he did . Today while we were out walking he was off lead when a bull terrier came racing up to us . It had slipped its harness somehow and it's owner was running after it . I shouted Bruce back to me but before he could get back the other dog was there with a very dominant stance . Thankfully Bruce lay down and didn't move till it's owner got it then very quickly returned to me . I dread to think what could have possibly happened if he hadn't taken the time to read the other dog or had been jumping around expecting to have a play so today at least I'm very happy he did this even though it can be a bit of a pain sometimes .

Claire x
 

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Peps was at the Vet's this arvo and met a 12 year old dog with a sore leg. She approached enthusiastically (like a typical 10 month old) and once the old dear voiced her displeasure, Pepper went into adorable lying on her back puppy mode!

I watched that BBC1 programme tonight on Odd Animal Couples and there was a behaviourist on it who talked about play mode is the most classic submissive stance. Maybe our pups are saying "let's play!"??

Just an idea...

Hannah & Pepper xx
 
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