What is this dog telling us? Do you see his behavioral cues?
Last year a friend shared a great video featuring a dog and a vet tech. I’ve been searching for it for a while because I though it would be a great one to share with you. It is a great example of how a dog can be speaking to us, but we may not be listening (or in this case, seeing) what they are telling us.
I also thought it might be a great way to test your knowledge on dog behavioral cues.
I confess that watching it again a year and a half later showed me just how out of practice I have become. I missed a quite a few the first time around. Take a look and tell me what you see. (Note: No one is hurt in this video).
Not sure? I’ve posted a list below. Feel free to read the list and then watch the video or watch the video, check the list and watch the video again. It’s amazing what we miss isn’t it?
Just out of curiosity, did anyone cringe like I did as you neared the end of the video? Do you know why? I think I know what made me cringe, but I’m wondering if anyone else caught it. (PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS RESPECTFUL. THANKS!)
Behavioral Signals seen in this video
Lip licking (hard to see)
Barking and increasing distance by backing up
Looking away several times
Stiff body posture
Stillness or freezing suddenly
Mouth closed tightly (a relaxed dog would have a slack jaw)
Hard stares (this is the one that got me at the end)
At no time does this dog look relaxed. To someone who doesn’t know what to look for, it may look like he is going back for attention, but everything else about his body posture and signals says differently.
So what is this dog telling us?
Based on what I see, I think he is nervous and uncomfortable, with both the petting and the close proximity of the vet tech. He cannot distance himself easily due to the small confines of the room. All his signals tell us he wants her to back off, but when that doesn’t work, he lets her know in a more pronounced way.