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Old 06-02-2009, 12:42 AM
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LEM LEM is offline
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Default Not sure what to call this....

Ever since I brought Keanu home, hes been a great dog. I love him and wouldnt trade him for anything. Thing is, I dont understand this one quirk he has. My younger brother, hes 12, and Special Needs. I doubt thats got anything to do with this, but anyway, it started with Jordan. Everytime Jordan goes to hug Keanu, he growls at him. Then if Jordan doesnt let go, he sorta mouths him so he lets go. Now its not just Jordan hes doing it to. Its almost everyone in the family. Except my 23 year old brother Johnny, and myself. Anyone care to try to explain this to me? I would really appreciate it.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:32 AM
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Actual, Jordan having special needs probably does have a lot to do with this. I'm assuming he acts differently than most other people, maybe not by a lot, but with as perceptive as dogs are with body language and what they're socialized with as "normal", a little can turn into a lot.

Not all dogs like to be hugged...it's a totally foreign concept to them. Keanu growls to let Jordan know to stop it, since Jordan doesn't pick up on the lesser signals. Neither does Jordan acknowledge the growl and stop hugging, so Keanu feels forced to go to the next level, which in this case is mouthing. That's actually awesome, that he's still using that much control, especially since it looks like Keanu is pretty young himself.

Anyway, I'm assuming that when Keanu mouths Jordan, Jordan stops hugging him and goes away? Keanu just got the result he was after and that is the reward. Since it works so well with Jordan, he's going to try it out on everyone else to see who lets him get away with it. I'm betting you and Johnny don't, so he's not going to try it with you.

You need to get it across to Jordan that he can't just come up and hug Keanu, he doesn't like it and he's being very polite in saying so. I imagine Jordan is hugging because he knows it's a nice thing to do to someone you love, but it's not going to work in this case.

I would say to tell the rest of your family to ignore the mouthing but I don't know those circumstances well enough to feel comfortable saying so. Growling is a dog's way of communicating his dislike and if we don't "get" that, he will escalate to something we do understand. But you shouldn't let him turn into a pushy little brat either...there's a line there, but I can't see it over the Internet.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:57 AM
germanshepardguy germanshepardguy is offline
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what breed is he?
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by germanshepardguy View Post
what breed is he?
Pure breed German Shepherd. I had him since he was about 8 weeks old, and hes now 5 months.

My mom keeps telling me that he's a very good dog, but he doesnt seem to like Jordan. I always tell her no, he loves Jordan. He plays with him outside with balls, toys, and they wrestles sometimes. I have tons of pictures of the two playing together. Its just the hugging me cant tolerate from him. She seems to think that Keanu is aggressive, and nomatter how many times I tell her he isnt, she doesnt get it.
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:14 AM
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Zoom is so right. Hugging is not a natural thing to dogs...not something most readily like. It's something primates do. We show affection by hugging. Dogs generally show affection in other ways. Hugging can sometimes resemble to a dog, an act of aggression, hunkering, hovering over them, covering them, trapping them. And so they often react like your pup....in a defensive manner. "Hey, *growl* stop doing that."

See if you can get your brother to give a milder hug and feed very tasty treats (tid bits of chicken or white cheese) all the while he's gently hugging him. Then ask your brother to stop hugging him...get him onto something else for a minute. Then again, give a mild hug and feed treats at the same time. Do this several times a day for a few weeks...just for a very short time each time....1/2 a minute or so. Don't let the dog become over whelmed but do associate gentle, careful hugging with high value treats. Your pup should come to beg to be hugged. LOL.

When Jordon is just meandering through the house, give him a small handful of tiny, tiny treats and ask him to drop them on the floor near the pup as he walks around. Condition your pup to thinking when Jordon comes around, very good things happen. "I like it when Jordon comes around."

You can practice these conditioning exercises with everyone....so the pup generalizes this tolerance to hugging to others in the family. Not just hugging but anything that might be normally mildly annoying to him. That is to say again, don't over whelm the pup and harrass him. Just a little here and a little there to get him use to weird things humans do.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Zoom is so right. Hugging is not a natural thing to dogs...not something most readily like. It's something primates do. We show affection by hugging. Dogs generally show affection in other ways. Hugging can sometimes resemble to a dog, an act of aggression, hunkering, hovering over them, covering them, trapping them. And so they often react like your pup....in a defensive manner. "Hey, *growl* stop doing that."


You can practice these conditioning exercises with everyone....so the pup generalizes this tolerance to hugging to others in the family
As far as I've learned, this here is pretty much spot on. What I don't know is if -any- dog 'likes' being hugged, or if they're just tolerating it because they like you otherwise

But yeah, what they said:
1. Dogs + hugging =/= affectionate display
2. Supposed to 'ease' your dog into it. For example, my dog is used to it b/c our family has been hugging it since it was young. Whether or not any dog (authentically) 'likes' being hugged is still a mystery to me
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:20 PM
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Yes, I would say a great number of dogs come to like it because it's always associated with things they do like; attention, affection, playfulness from their family. Dogs come to understand human social behavior, some of which they already come understanding as tiny, baby puppies. But some, like hugging doesn't always come naturally to them. And you're right....some simply tolerate it. LOL.
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"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

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Old 06-02-2009, 12:26 PM
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Here are a couple of things that would make child/dog safety more clear.

Pet Central: Dogs and Children - what parents, kids, dog owners and dogs need to know


Hug Dog - Teach Your Dog to Enjoy Hugging
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