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Thread: What does this behavior mean??

  1. #1
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    Default What does this behavior mean??

    So our new baby has been home for a few weeks now and I'm so glad to say that Lucky (2 years old) its taking it wonderfully. It was truly the best thing we could have done for him. Of course we did it for us, so this is just an added bonus. They run around and play and sleep together and has even helped Lucky with his OCD bird chasing...he's so preoccupied with her that he doesn't do it as much. House training is going sooo well because Lucky is such a good teacher! Everyone in the house is happy!

    I'm wondering what something that Lucky does to her means.....when they rough house and play around he'll always put his chin on the back of her head, I'm assuming this is a dominance thing. She doesn't mind, she just grabs a mouthful of his ear and hangs from it....so funny to watch.

    What he does is nibble....on her ears or neck. He uses his very front teeth and gently nibbles on her....it doesn't hurt her, actually she seems to let him do it. Doesn't run from him or anything. Any ideas what this behavior is?

    They are both so vocal when they're playing....I wish I could translate!
    Lucky Day, M, Blenheim, born May 17, 2008
    Lady Love, F, Blenheim, born January 10, 2010


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    Not 'dominance'. Just playing . The pup is way too young for an adult dog to be trying to assert himself and at any rate, you don't tend to get much of that kind of behaviour anyway with two dogs of the opposite sex. It's jusyt yet another of the many variations of hom dogs play with each other.

    If you haven't downloaded Dr Ian Dunbar's free book on training and caring for your puppy, I'd definitely recommend it as he goes into some iof these kinds of details. You can find it on www.dogstardaily.com (I think there's now a link on the front page).

    The whole idea of 'dominance' is pretty meaningless, at least in what dog owners can view and judge -- the area is extremely subtle dog-dog communication. Most things people guess are 'dominance' are just the opposite -- 'dominant' dogs actually almost never confront or assert anything. They don't have to -- 'dominant' dogs are very benign leaders. People do a lot of very incorrect training in response to this very outdated view of how dogs and people interact. Ian Dunbar is very good on this and can help avoid some major training mistakes that can set dogs up for problems rather than resolve them!
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    I guess I just thought the head on the neck thing was sort of a way of claiming what what his. He espically does it when she's paying/getting attention from a human....like he's jealous. But hey, what do I know!? I have downloaded that book and I'll take another look. I was just curious about the nibbling. He does it with his babies (toys) also.
    Lucky Day, M, Blenheim, born May 17, 2008
    Lady Love, F, Blenheim, born January 10, 2010


  4. #4
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    My 2 boys do it. My 14 week old hangs off the back of the neck, ears and tail of my 16 month old (sometimes causing the older one to yelp) Porthos can be very rough and D'Artagnan isn't always sure how to act.... if he's had enough, he will make this weird (chewbacca from Star Wars) kinda noise or nip back at Porthos. Of course the little one never gets hurt....he then sounds like a proper dog fighting with his puppy growls and barking. D'Artagnan is very very soft....he gets annoyed and runs and hides....of course, Porthos has already scampered after him and grabbed his tail.

    We sometimes seperate them for a bit and let D'Artagnan go and have a walk or a lie down away from the little terror.

    Mind you, I have seen D'Artagnan start the play fights...so he can't hate it that much
    ~*~*~*Susan*~*~*~

    D'Artagnan 08/12/08 Porthos 28/12/09

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    The whole idea of 'dominance' is pretty meaningless, at least in what dog owners can view and judge -- the area is extremely subtle dog-dog communication. Most things people guess are 'dominance' are just the opposite -- 'dominant' dogs actually almost never confront or assert anything. They don't have to -- 'dominant' dogs are very benign leaders. People do a lot of very incorrect training in response to this very outdated view of how dogs and people interact. Ian Dunbar is very good on this and can help avoid some major training mistakes that can set dogs up for problems rather than resolve them!
    I think the characteristics of dominance vary between dominant dogs, and the make up of their particular pack.

    I have always kept dogs and bitches, usually in packs of five. At the two extremes, Angus was pack leader for all of his life. He just walked in, watched the interaction between the other dogs and then just muscled in on them. Anyone who was not subdued by a look was promptly tackled into submission and flattened on the floor until he thought they were ready to slink off into a corner. He gave no quarter to anyone and growled ferociously if a puppy misbehaved. The only one who could get away with even the slightest thing was his lifetime partner, Emma, who treated him with the utmost contempt, did her own thing and got away with it while he glowered at her.

    Those who followed him worked with eye contact only, particularly Easter, who was still in control when she left us at 15.

    Hattie took over after Easter went. She used loud barking to bring the younger ones into line, often circling them like a sheepdog to show who was boss. She was killed before she was seven years old, which left Rebel in the top post.

    I think it took Rebel quite a while to realise that the other dogs were looking either for leadership or to take it from him. Rebel used to be a little feisty, but soon toned all that down as he eased into the top dog's seat which he never seemed to want. We have now established a routine in that Rebel will take action to bring a dog in from the garden when I want them or to stop any behaviour that he thinks is wrong. If I want them caged in a hurry or to do something else, I will ask Rebel to tell them what I want. He fixes the younger dog or bitch with a steely eye, then they do what he tells them, even though they won't do it for me.

    Rebel seems very Ian Dunbar from what you have said, but not the others. I have also noticed throughout the years that every pack leader except Hattie has been challenged by the younger ones, the only exception being Hattie, who kept them firmly under her paw, big, big smile. At present is Little Joe who has a regular run in with Rebel first thing in the morning. It's very physical and I can see the 'Thank goodness for that' expression on Rebel's face as soon as Joe has slinked off with his tail between his legs.Rebel has actually put Joe on his back a couple of times too, the classic sign of submission of course.

    This is an absolutely fascinating subject and I would love to know about others' experiences too.
    Warmest wishes
    Flo & the ByFloSin Cavaliers
    Rebel, Winston Alexander,Little Joe & Holly Poppet
    Birmingham, UK

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    i have a problem with `dominant` dogs on the field where i take ruby -almost without exception they roll her over and she is scared of them -im talking about small dogs one a border terrier and there are 2 yorkies .. the owneres say they are playing . am i supposed to let ruby find her feet among them ? she really tries to hide behind me lol . im used to dogs or thought i was and dont think im transmitting any feelings of fear to her . how do i help her feel more confident . any advice would be great .

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    Quote Originally Posted by vgaffney83 View Post
    I guess I just thought the head on the neck thing was sort of a way of claiming what what his. He espically does it when she's paying/getting attention from a human....like he's jealous. But hey, what do I know!? I have downloaded that book and I'll take another look. I was just curious about the nibbling. He does it with his babies (toys) also.
    Here's a booklet that you might find helpful; I bought it several years ago at the suggestion of our dog trainer: Feeling Outnumbered - How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen B. London, Ph.D.

    Of several sections there are two that address this type of behavior:
    • Staying Away From Trouble
      • Prevention
      • Thank You for Not Fighting or Making Threats in Our Home
    • Coming and Going
      • So You Want Another Dog?
      • Introducing Two Dogs to Each Other
      • Signs That May Indicate a Serious Problem
    A few of the signs to watch for are: one dog seems jealous of the attention you give to another dog, one dog protects you from other dogs, one dog bullies the other dogs, one dog keeps another dog from moving freely around the house.

    I wouldn't worry too much about your two, since one is a puppy and new to your household; I'd just make sure that each dog has special attention and time with you, and that they both understand it's ok.
    Last edited by Cathy Moon; 11th April 2010 at 04:19 PM. Reason: typo
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

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