The dogs are munching on a late breakfast of Taste of the Wild kibble with grated raw carrot, diced raw yams, chopped cabbage leaves and beansprouts mixed with whole soy milk and a dash of Wild Alaskan salmon oil...I wonder how much a healthy diet is also a factor in an easy-going temperament in dogs?
The book I promised yesterday is Patricia McConnell's "For the Love of a Dog", although it's a close call to "The Other End of the Leash" which I loved so much I gave away. The books make me laugh and cry while being written in excellent prose, and the love of dogs just radiates through every page in an outward, warm aura that brings light and blessings to the reader.
"You can learn a lot about a dog's motivation by watching him approach other dogs. Polite dogs greet one another by approaching from the side, as if following a curved line toward the other dog's flanks, rather than taking a straight, head-on approach...You can do the same thing when you meet a new dog - just turn slightly sideways, and approach as if walking forward along a curved line. You'll be amazed at how many dogs will be thrilled to meet you...I began wagging my body back and forth like some crazed two-legged Labrador, along with turning sideways, adopting an open-mouth play face, and crinkling my eyes in the universal sign of friendliness. As I approached her, she turned and cuddled against my leg, raised her head, and leaned into my hand as I stroked her neck. "Oh my," said her owner, "That's not what she usually does. She's here as a case study because she snaps at people when they try to pet her."
The book also mentions that a stiff, frozen posture with wide eyes and a closed mouth, corners drawn tight is a sign of tension and dislike, so that a nervous owner worried about their dog's behavior, standing frozen staring eyes-wide no smile face-on at new company is virtually encouraging their dog to attack, or at least protect their extremely nervous owner: in this way, an owner's response to other people and dogs may reinforce aggression and fear. Cool, huh?
"The usual approach of all people, when greeting human or dog, is basically the opposite of a polite approach in dog society. Dogs approach one another from the side, curving the line of approach and avoiding eye contact, while keeping their bodies loose and fluid. We do the opposite: we keep our bodies upright and relatively still, and make direct eye contact while reaching out with our paws before we've even so much as exchanged scents."
Photos by Lelantos