but we’re even worse…..
Why the Poker analogy? Well because one of the skills of a great card player is knowing how to read the other players, those little clues which predict when someone’s, bluffing or holding a killer hand.
Great players can contain their responses so that their opponents can’t read them but are expert at reading the ‘tells’ of others.
If you feel your dog is unpredictable or that you don’t always understand how he might be feeling – it won’t be because he’s an expert liar, or is able to disguise his body language. He’s giving you clues all the time you just have to learn how to interpret them. Why? Because not only will it help you with your relationship bond and training but could also help you to keep him and people/dogs around him safe too.
The exception to this would be a dog who has become ‘shut down’ through trauma or one where appropriate responses have been previously punished out of them. (If you think this is the case seek help from suitably experienced trainer.)
So we have to become doggie detectives and study the particular signs that our dog is giving. Some might be really overt and obvious and others slight and subtle, Some appear quickly and others build slowly. These could be stance, muscle tension, position of ears, tail carriage, mouth- opened or closed, vocalisations. etc. etc. etc.
Phew! So much to look for, but the more you watch the more you’ll learn and the better you’ll get at reading your dog’s Tells and getting a better picture of how they’re feeling.
Want to find out more? A really great resource is the Dog Decoder App you can download it from the Google Play or App Store for under £4.00, it provides amazing interpretations of canine body language through very clear illustrations and simple text. It’s brilliant! ttp://www.dogdecoder.com/
See whether some of your dogs’ poses are in there, is this what you thought they meant? You might be surprised.
Why not test yourself now? Here’s two images:- have a look at the first one and see if you can spot all the indications of how this dog is feeling all these show us that the dog is very unomfortable with the proximity and scrutiny of the little girl? All the Tells are in the second image.
Jo Boyce. BCCS.Dip.Behav.Prac