Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fear and the Princess

March 3rd is the doll festival celebration here in Japan, and Claire is our princess. I've been reading an interesting blogpost from Upward Hound about watching our dog's body language for awareness of fear-related dogbites, Listen to the Whisper. When Lady Claire was rescued from the pound, she nearly wasn't because she was such a (canine ladder of aggression rung 8 and 9) stiff, staring, fearsome growler and aggressive-looking barker, but I've only ever seen her snap and vent at unwanted attentions from over-ardent butt-sniffing males. She's softened up in her old age as she has become accustomed to jostling and space-invasions from boisterous Nobunaga, Luna and now Sherlock...she knows it's not about her after all.
I borrowed Sheperd K.'s 2009 visual canine ladder of aggression from the blog, very interesting to think about the different ways each of my doggies talk to me...sad to say, poor old Sherlock came to us on rung 6, with his tail tucked under and crouched down like a dachshund. In the early days, Sherlock has actually snapped and drawn blood at the mistaken invasion of a kiss...but that was based on human folly...a mere shaving accident, as it were... Only this morning he was on rung 7 with me for some reason, rolling over with one leg up as though he wanted a belly rub, only he's ticklish and hates belly rubs and messing with paws or hindquarters...perhaps because yesterday I was a bit out of sorts and short of my own temper and must admit I slapped him smartly on the shoulder a couple of times for barking...at the table, at the door, at the gate...ah the folly of the raised hand, sorry sweetie...
Finally sweet-tempered Nobunaga, who loves babies and small children, and who has never growled, snapped or bitten in his life, using rungs 1-4 with great aplomb. He's so aware, watching carefully himself to see how the humans are taking things and what his best evasive or inviting moves are.
 He does love to playbite though, jumping and jousting and nipping mummy, arms, chest, bitey bite, let's play now, please! I have successfully taught him what a toy is, thank heavens, and when he gets in close to wrestle, I have a toy on hand to thrust in his hungry jaw...he is also good enough to respect "That's enough!"...what a darling...

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