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Teeth, Face, Personal Space: Please Advise

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  • #41
    Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
    Overall the posts in this thread puzzle me. Not so much regarding the OP's dog, who was a racing dog and not a pet, but everyone else's. Did you get them as puppies or as adults with baggage?

    I've known a lot of dogs, actually, and most did like to be hugged. Dogs are companion animals. They often prefer humans to their own kind. Dogs that are bred as strictly working dogs are very rare in this country now. They very often get in OUR space. So often, it's usually one of the first dog training concerns that people have. ("My dog keeps jumping on everyone in greeting, what do I do?")

    I don't get in the faces of dogs I don't know very well, and I also expect the dog not to get in mine unless I say it's OK.
    Dogs jumping up are demonstrating active submission to a presumed superior, not necessarily friendship and willingness or ability to interact as we want them to.
    Once the rote greeting ceremony is over, some of those dogs will refuse to interact further in expected ways like playing with balls or tag or having any desire to actually BE with people. It is rare, but has been seen in unsocialized to people dogs. And when pressed to interact, that dog may bite.

    Ask vets and groomers how often they get bitten by snuggly family pets... not as uncommon as you might think.

    I'm not saying sighthounds are biters, they generally have a very low incidence and tend not to be dog aggressive, too. On the other hand, they are often very choosy when and who they snuggle with after they reach maturity and may prefer the adoring gaze from across the room and the head on the knee approach as compared to the jump in your lap and smother you with kisses, paw you and knock your glasses off in jubilation response you can get from some breeds.

    All dogs need training. How and what direction that should take depends on native tendencies and the environment the dog will be in.

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    • #42
      Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
      Overall the posts in this thread puzzle me. Not so much regarding the OP's dog, who was a racing dog and not a pet, but everyone else's. Did you get them as puppies or as adults with baggage?

      I've known a lot of dogs, actually, and most did like to be hugged. Dogs are companion animals. They often prefer humans to their own kind. Dogs that are bred as strictly working dogs are very rare in this country now. They very often get in OUR space. So often, it's usually one of the first dog training concerns that people have. ("My dog keeps jumping on everyone in greeting, what do I do?")

      I don't get in the faces of dogs I don't know very well, and I also expect the dog not to get in mine unless I say it's OK.
      I ahve 3 dogs that were strays. One is fine with hugs/kisses on muzzle while hugging, and in general very submissive.
      One will allow hugging briefly, or laying beside her, and can be kissed on her nose. But she wouldn't like having her cheeks held while you bring your face up to hers to kiss. And she doesn't like to be hugged face on, but is ok from the side.
      The other I can ask for a kiss, and he will come up to me and kiss my nose. I can hug him, and he is fine. But there is no way in hell that he would allow another person to do that. Not even my husband.
      The 2nd dog will growl when she is uncomfortable, and snap the air, but never a person. The other 2 will not growl or bite at me ever. But the 3rd dog, while he has never even growled at me, would be dangerous with a stranger attempting to hold onto him, or hug him.

      They all have thier different levels of comfort. I accept them for who they are, and don't allow others to interact in ways that would be dangerous to people or dog. And these dogs have taken years to learn to allow me to do these things they aren't comfortable with. So a person getting a new dog, should probably not hug/put their face in front of the dog, until the dog knows them, trusts them, and they have become acclimated to closer handling.

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      • #43
        I don't hug my dogs. They're dogs, not people. They like to sit by me, or sit on my lap, be petted or brushed or wrestle around but they don't...hug. I don't think it's very practical to expect a dog to be like to be squeezed. I think dogs can tolerate kissy behavior because it harks back to that puppy licking submission that they have when they're young or maybe they're trying to figure out what you ate for lunch but dogs don't kiss any more than they hug. They LICK and that's not a kiss.

        I can expect one of my dogs to let me examine its teeth or ears or let me hold it securely for the vet to give a shot or for DH to pull porcupine quills.

        But I don't expect dogs to act like tolerant people. I don't even like for my husband to breath in my face, why would the dogs like it any more? Nobody expects cats to tolerate hugs and kisses and they can hurt at close range too! LOL

        Some dogs are just not stuffies to be handled as if they have no nerve endings or personal space; just like some horses are not meant for beginners.

        OP the only thing I might wonder about with yours is a vet check to make sure he's not feeling defensive b/c something hurts. After you warn the vet and muzzle him, of course. Otherwise, you've been warned, be more observant with him and see if you can figure out his cues; with one of mine it's simply a raised eyebrow that makes her look silly and most people would miss it. He has a glitch; you have to handle it and not make it worse.
        “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

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        • #44
          Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
          I'm sorry Wendy, but I have to disagree with you here. I think there is something to be worried about. Had this been a child instead of an adult, it could have easily been a bite to the face.
          Guess how I got snapped in the lip by a Weimeraner as a kid? (Don't know what the owner said to the dog; my mother read me the riot act and made me apologize to the dog's owner, and told me that's what I got for not listening to her and getting out of the dog's face as she'd already told me.) Leaned an important lesson-don't get in dogs' faces. (Kids should be just as under control around animals as the animals as they often ASK to get bitten.)

          If I've got a dog who doesn't want to be a cuddler, I don't force it any more than I try to make the cats who don't want to be lapcats into lapcats. Getting my face in the dog's face isn't a natural behavior for them, and it's not something a well-behaved dog needs to put up with (like wearing a leash, being prodded by the vet, etc.) So I don't do it.
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          • #45
            Originally posted by Rubyfree View Post
            The thing is- it's NOT a "mildly unpleasant gesture". To THIS dog, and many dogs, it is an extremely aggressive encroachment into their personal space. Saying the dog has a screw loose because it is trying very, very hard to express it's tremendous discomfort and fear is disheartening to ME. ... I do think this is a problem, for the reasons stated so articulately by other posters, but the dog really IS displaying very good bite inhibition for an animal that is unused to extremely close human interaction, and a dog that wants to please and is trying hard can be worked with. No screws loose here, just a dog communicating in the only way they know how to.
            I agree that hugging and similar activity is unpleasant and worrisome for a dog. Where we differ is that I don't agree that growling or showing teeth is within the norm for a dog who's experiencing an unpleasant or worrisome activity. That may be a bit hard-line, but I think that given the spread of "rescue" mentality where every breathing dog is considered a viable pet candidate, better a little harshness about what we consider acceptable than the slippery slope of "understanding" dangerous behavior.

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            • #46
              I hug my dogs. Yoshi is more wary of than Milo, or my friend's GSD. These two are leaners. Heck Milo would bury his head in your chest for a scratch. I don't think it's unreasonable for the dog to be expected not to bite you if hugged. As a poster pointed out -children are notorious for doing this kind of spontaneous loving, and there are adults who just don't know better.

              Having said that, I reiterate my post that sighthounds are not calm, they are still. And they tend to get really still when something bothers them. So this greyhound was probably throwing all kinds of signals but his new people didn't speak Sighthound yet and just pushed too fast past that comfort zone. Learn to read sighthound.

              I describe the sighthound mentality -facetiously -like this. Imagine an "Evening Shade" kind of scenario -a bunch of sighthounds lounging elegantly on a veranda looking like nothing at all in the world would stir them. A rabbit hops into view. There's an explosion of activity. In short order the rabbit is caught, dispatched and consumed. And the sighthounds go back to lounging on the veranda.

              Paula
              He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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              • #47
                Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                I hug my dogs. Yoshi is more wary of than Milo, or my friend's GSD. These two are leaners. Heck Milo would bury his head in your chest for a scratch. I don't think it's unreasonable for the dog to be expected not to bite you if hugged. As a poster pointed out -children are notorious for doing this kind of spontaneous loving, and there are adults who just don't know better.

                Having said that, I reiterate my post that sighthounds are not calm, they are still. And they tend to get really still when something bothers them. So this greyhound was probably throwing all kinds of signals but his new people didn't speak Sighthound yet and just pushed too fast past that comfort zone. Learn to read sighthound.

                I describe the sighthound mentality -facetiously -like this. Imagine an "Evening Shade" kind of scenario -a bunch of sighthounds lounging elegantly on a veranda looking like nothing at all in the world would stir them. A rabbit hops into view. There's an explosion of activity. In short order the rabbit is caught, dispatched and consumed. And the sighthounds go back to lounging on the veranda.

                Paula


                Living with TWO Whippets, I simply had to respond with a guffaw at this description

                danceronice--those were the "good old days", when parents (appropriately) blamed the CHILD for his/her actions, and didn't put blame on the "reactor."

                That said, I agree with those who say that making a dog uncomfortable by simply invading its space should *not* result in said dog attacking with a bite to the face (or a threat to bite), this is just not sufficient provocation. Obviously there are often extenuating circumstances. Dumb people who don't read dog cues are way more common that tuned-in people who DO read dog cues--but the cues are often subtle (as another posted mentioned.)

                I have worked with adopted OTTGreys in my classes (though not many of them), and am wary about this--so do NOT get up in their face--knowing that they have had bad past experiences, and intuiting that are not going to "react to normal things that humans do" the same way most other dogs will.

                Of my two Whippets, the one we got at 9 months old (having bounced through a couple of homes, then back to the breeder to live in a large pack, so is more aloof--though still loves attention) is SO not the "mush hound" that the younger female is. We got her as a young puppy, and she is "our baby." (YES, we CODDLE her and cuddle her and kiss and hug her, constantly , and she eats it up with a spoon, goes all floppy, closes her eyes with content, sighs with ecstasy, and would climb into my womb if she could. Of course I am a dog trainer, so she still has to "do stuff" and is regularly put through her paces, even though she is our Baby BooBoo Princess Whippet Lovebug How embarrassing...Anyway.)

                So I think it "depends on the Sighthound", though most of them are more aloof than our (ahem) Baby--and Greyhounds are usually significantly more aloof than Whippets. Plus, if they are OTT, they have some PTSD going on. Best to pay close attention to his "tells", and observe him carefully!
                "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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                • Original Poster

                  #48
                  Just to add to this interesting discussion - it can be easy to overestimate a dog's comfort with close contact (the way I did) because the same dog might (does) seek out close contact at other times, including proximity to the face.

                  People always say sighthounds are 'aloof,' but that description doesn't fit all of them. I have seen OTT greyhounds that were completely inhibited and fearful around people, but this dog seems to crave close proximity. He is affectionate with me and touchingly devoted to my boyfriend, his main person and caretaker. His favorite thing is to position himself on the sofa, draped across BF's lap. When we go to the store and come back this dog celebrates like he just won the lottery - even if its only been 15 minutes. He handles separation very well when he has to, but he follows BF around the (small) house as though they were attached at the hip. I believe that if it were possible, he would never let BF out of his sight. Like a lot of greys he is a leaner, will park himself in front of you and lean in hard to solicit love while wagging tail. If you pet him in this position he wants to turn up his nose and lick your face.

                  This is why it was easy for us to get a little too casual and assume a degree of comfort with close contact that, clearly, he doesn't actually possess.

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                  • #49
                    Originally posted by wendy View Post
                    I think you are worried about nothing- your dog obviously has wonderful bite inhibition.
                    For now. But if his warning signals are continually ignored, he'll escalate. In his mind he has to: "I've tried & tried not to bite, but they keep sticking their faces in my face. I've warned them over & over again but they don't listen or they don't understand. I have to try something else." Chomp.

                    threedogpack is correct in their response: this issue must be addressed.

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                    • #50
                      Sooty, it's definitely easy to overestimate a dog's comfort level -especially dogs that are not overt in their body language. He was as shocked as you were more than likely.

                      Paula
                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
                        I think you are worried about nothing- your dog obviously has wonderful bite inhibition.
                        /endfirstquote
                        For now. But if his warning signals are continually ignored, he'll escalate. In his mind he has to: "I've tried & tried not to bite, but they keep sticking their faces in my face. I've warned them over & over again but they don't listen or they don't understand. I have to try something else." Chomp.

                        threedogpack is correct in their response: this issue must be addressed.
                        if you read the rest of my post, you see that I also say it must be addressed- the dog needs to be desensitized to having people put their face there, or yes, someone is going to get chomped. But it's good the dog is able to communicate its distress without actually drawing blood. Pay attention to what the dog is saying.

                        People who believe dogs LIKE being hugged should look at the pictures McConnell put in her book "the other end of the leash", or she might have some posted on line somewhere. Dogs hate being hugged, and real dog-lovers understand that and don't hug them. Of course you should spend time desensitizing your dog to being hugged (to tolerate it) so he won't take off some kid's face when the kid hugs him. But they don't like it. They just tolerate it.

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                        • #52
                          Originally posted by wendy View Post
                          Dogs hate being hugged, and real dog-lovers understand that and don't hug them. Of course you should spend time desensitizing your dog to being hugged (to tolerate it) so he won't take off some kid's face when the kid hugs him. But they don't like it. They just tolerate it.
                          Okay dog whisper. Why is it that I can be in my bed reading a book and my dog will hop up on the bed, crawl up next to me, burrow his head under my arm (i.e. a dog initiated "hug"), and stay there for however long I read with his head on my chest? Why is it that my last schnauzer would seek out the kids who gave him really hard hugs over the ones who would just politely pet? Why is it that my first cocker spaniel would ask to be picked up so she could wrap her arms around your neck and get a big hug at random times throughout the day?

                          I completely agree that a lot of dogs would rather be pet than hugged but to say that ALL dogs hate being hugged is absurd.

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                          • #53
                            I don't even think most dogs like to be petted- certainly many dogs dislike being patted on the head, and tons of dogs would be so much happier if random strangers would stop trying to touch them.
                            Dogs are, however, very trainable- perhaps you, in particular, are very good at teaching dogs that "hugs" are a good thing?

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                            • #54
                              I never really thought about it but I know when my Rhodie is "calm" it normally is the calm before the storm. He is indeed just "still" thinking about his next move. He is a paw swiper. He plays with everyone and swipes them with his big hands. Is gets in my face here and there. Just puts his nose on mine (or forehead).. sniffs and walks away. Not a licker at all. Never really was.
                              Draumr Hesta Farm
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                              • #55
                                Originally posted by wendy View Post
                                I don't even think most dogs like to be petted- certainly many dogs dislike being patted on the head, and tons of dogs would be so much happier if random strangers would stop trying to touch them.
                                Dogs are, however, very trainable- perhaps you, in particular, are very good at teaching dogs that "hugs" are a good thing?
                                I'm sorry, this is the most ridiculous thing I have EVER read from you. You must be around extremely aloof dogs. Most dogs I know CRAVE physical attention starting from birth. My barn gets multiple sets of hound puppies in every year, and they all follow you around begging to get hugged, held, rubbed, and scritched. Granted dogs have different preferences on how they want to get patted, but it's a rare dog that doesn't love it. My lab wants to get pet HARD. No soft stroking for her, she wants you to scratch and pat and rub. Now that she's old and poorly balanced, we actually have to hold her up because the patting she wants knocks her over. My nervous boy dog prefers rubbing or (his favorite) having his face squished around.
                                .

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                                • #56
                                  I don't force anything on our dogs - but they still love attention and despite the dog whisperer's comments I don't believe it.

                                  A hard bang, bang, bang, on the head when the eyes go blink,blink, blink -
                                  I would say that is someone who is not sensitive to a dog's preference.

                                  A kiss, kiss, kiss, in the ear must be torture (try it on your BF/Hubby) since their hearing is so sensitive.

                                  A mommy dog nuzzles and licks her babies - they are desensitized to the touch and a dog will become that way too with its owner, given time to gain the trust.

                                  It is our duty as dog owners to protect them from overly ken kids and adults who do not ask first. Our dogs have to learn to tolerate being pestered since tht is why we have them...to fit into our lifestyle.
                                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by wendy;
                                    Dogs hate being hugged, and real dog-lovers understand that and don't hug them. Of course you should spend time desensitizing your dog to being hugged (to tolerate it) so he won't take off some kid's face when the kid hugs him. But they don't like it. They just tolerate it.
                                    I'll have to ask my dog why he snuggles under my arm EVERY morning. He certainly doesn't act like a dog that hates to be hugged. All of my other dogs seemed to enjoy being hugged too, but I'm just a dog hater, so what do I know?
                                    Seriously, do you have to label everyone who doesn't think lock-step with you an animal hater? It's why I can't take anything you say seriously even if there's a nugget of truth in any of your posts.

                                    I also have to question what kind of dogs you are around that have caused you to conclude that most dogs don't like being petted. Maybe dogs do not like you? I've met maybe two dogs that were aloof of strangers. Even the one that was terrified of people finally came over for some gentle pets.
                                    You are what you dare.

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                                    • #58
                                      Milo so hated being hugged that when you sat down he'd bury his head in your chest so you could scratch his poll. Come on now; dogs come in different stripes just like all other critters. There are velcro dogs and next-to dogs and many in between. What do you mean dogs don't like to be petted? What kinds of animals are you guys hanging out with?

                                      Paula
                                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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                                      • #59
                                        Wendy, is it just that YOUR dogs don't like to be petted? Mine sure do.

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                                        • #60
                                          Puff is okay with being petted, not into "hugs", Tucker the Corgi will practically lie on top of you to get attention (and does not care who "you" are.) Dogs are like people, they differ in how much physical contact they like.
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