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Having trouble "reading" dog's expressions, pup doesn't care if he gets petted?

Looking for suggestions for "how to read your dog's body language" articles/videos, specifically on dogs whose eyes bulge out! We were going to rehome our peekapoo puppy (long story written out in a different post here) but nothing is opening up for him right now so I will continue to learn and work with him.

My trouble is not being used to dogs with bulgy-eyes, so he always looks scared or upset to me because I can always see the whites of his eyes. I know to look at the rest of his body, but things are just not always that clear. I would love to see some photos of other dogs with dome-heads and what they are "saying."

The other half of my thread title is that I don't know if this dog enjoys getting petted. He is very eager to greet people, loves to sit on laps and will always, given the choice, bring a toy over to sit in your lap and chew,(rather than sitting by himself), but he doesn't seem to care if he is being touched. He doesn't stiffen, lean away or look unhappy if he's petted in my lap, but he never comes up and seems to be asking to be petted. Has anyone else had this experience, that it seems like their dog doesn't care?
 

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Some dogs don’t enjoy petting so much. Beckie doesn’t like having her head touched in a certain way, even by me.

If you sit down on the floor, will your dog come to you ? If you pet him, then stop, does he come closer or stay away ? If he comes closer, he wants be petted some more. If he’s staying away, he doesn’t really care for it.

Try it a few times. Bend down, move your hand towards your dog but let him do the last few inches. Don’t call him, just look happy to see him. Does he come on his own close to your hand ?

Watch this short video, it’s really good. https://youtu.be/-cGDYI-s-cQ
 

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Watch this short video, it’s really good. https://youtu.be/-cGDYI-s-cQ
Thanks,Dechi. Very good video and I had my kids watch it, too. So based on this my dog never wants to be petted, ever.

Does anyone else have a dog that never wants to be petted? Kind of a bummer. Do I just relate to him through training, walks, playing tug which he really likes, but we don't pet him? How do you think I should interpret that he always eagerly wants to greet people and to sit in our laps? Hopefully that is a sign that he wants to be near us, just does not want hands on him. Is sitting in laps ever a sign of dominance and not affection? I feel like I've read both things about it.
 

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Buck was not a big cuddle bug until he was spayed. He prefers not to be patted on the top of his head, prefers a chin scratch or a cheek pat. I think if your dog wants to be in your lap, you just need to find the right spots:)
 

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Our trainer sent us a bunch of links about this subject. I'll find the email and PM you.

Noodle has gone through stages where he has not been into petting and times when he loves it. I think we messed up by using a particular groomer. She did a beautiful job but he came back growly and skittish for a while. We have been working with him a lot on handling since then. I mention this because your guy is rescue and he might have had some tough experiences.

Noodle does like to be petted and cuddled now though we do have force ourselves to stop before he has had too much. I know you've got a lot of anxiety about your pup right now. I hope you find a home or solutions soon.
 

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I consider lap sitting a sign of affection and comfort. Yay for you,she is bonding :)

If petting is important to you, I have had some success with teaching a childhood cat and a roommates dog to like it. I vaguely followed an SPCA guide for cats, I think?

First ... Avoid petting the dog at all. Yes,I know,it's hard, but he doesn't like it anyways (for now)

Pet once, treat.pet again, treat. Stop after a few, while the dog still wants more (treats,not pets, for now)

Most dogs like their chest and the underside of their chin/ears scratched gently. Avoid the top of the head and back. That spot on the butt might work too.

When the dog is comfortable with this, maybe two pets, then a treat and leave him wanting more. Eventually he might follow you for that treat, if it's really good, and ask for more petting. Pet, treat, reward. Maybe try continuously letting him lick something as you pet like cheese whiz or peanut butter. Happiness about petting eventually becomes a conditioned response.

Anyway, our cat is still not the most affectionate animal in the world, but she now actively seeks out petting and enjoys the feeling. She LOVES being rubbed by people's feet. My roommates very aloof Airedale also started to like my chin scratches (even without the treats). I did still try to always leave them wanting more!

If he isn't food motivated,maybe try his toy? With him in your lap pet gently as he plays,then stop and take toy away, pet once, then give toy again? Depends on his mood. Contemplative chewing is good petting time, "i'm gonna kill the toy!" Isn't really.

You may already be doing this, but for very little dogs, I think it is also important to think about consent when it comes to moving them about. Try to ask before you pick then up, to warn them, and try to use words to move them about rather than just manhandling. Using a cue - I use "Ready? Up!". Or "move ! " Or "off!". Eventually he might start 'helping you' by lifting himself. Or going away if he doesn't want up at that moment. My dad used to tell me.... " Put that dog down! It has 4 legs!" Annoying but, yeah, he was right. Little dogs are way happier when treated like DOGS.
 

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I think wanting to be on your lap is a great sign of trust and affection. Forget about dominance, it has nothing to do with it.

Your dog is still a puppy and it can learn to like petting. Or not. He will mature and his preference may change, but you need to respect his wishes. Over time, you will probably meet half way : he will learn to accept and even like it and you will have decreased the petting.

The treating idea is a good one. You might also ask for a trainer’s help. Do it while he’s still young. Don’t give up. Sometimes the dogs who give us more challenge make the best companions !
 

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Many, if not most, dogs are not fond of being petted on their heads. Try scratching the rump in front of the tail - that's a favorite place. The chest in front of the fore legs is another place most dogs like to be scratched. Notice I say "scratched" - hardly any dog - or horse - likes to be patted, they prefer to be rubbed or stroked or scratched. That applies to people, too. Do you like to have your head patted?
 

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Reading this thread made me realize that I almost never pet my boys. They became cuddlers and lap pups probably around 6 months or so.

Instead of petting, I keep a pin brush and comb on my end table and when I sit down at night, I find I usually have one or both boys draped on my lap. So long as they're there, I pick up the brush or comb and stroke thru their fur. Net effect to me is the same as petting, plus, they stay mat free :).
 

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My poodles love being petted sometimes, but they're quite clear in when they are not in the mood by dodging the petter's hand. However they love being petted at some point every day, leaning into us and half shutting their eyes, and utilizing the reminder paw if we stop. Also they love being groomed and lean into me, totally relaxed. But I've had other dogs (collies) who didn't seem to enjoy being petted, or rarely. They loved being spoken to though

Sent from my VOG-L04 using Tapatalk
 

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Wow! That video taught me a LOT, Dechi! Thank you!

It's not that I didn't know those signals. It's more that I've intentionally ignored them in the past because *I* was craving contact and enjoying giving affection and chose to interpret tolerance as acceptance.

I'm guilty of sometimes putting my needs before my dog's needs, and sure it's mostly harmless, but not when it causes them discomfort or pushes them to behave in ways they then get scolded for. Not fair at all.

I know some people object to Cesar Millan's techniques, but one of the most invaluable things I learned in his first book, Cesar's Way, is that, culturally, in the United States we tend to use our dogs as emotional crutches. We come home at the end of a stressful day and want to treat them like teddy bears. This video gives a very practical illustration of how those interactions might play out.

Thanks again!!
 

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Yes, I have not been petting him on the head but doing exactly what you described above. He usually likes a quick rump scratch, but only very rarely seems to want a chest/shoulder/under-the-neck scratch.
 

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PHP:
Many, if not most, dogs are not fond of being petted on their heads. Try scratching the rump in front of the tail - that's a favorite place. The chest in front of the fore legs is another place most dogs like to be scratched. Notice I say "scratched" - hardly any dog - or horse - likes to be patted, they prefer to be rubbed or stroked or scratched. That applies to people, too. Do you like to have your head patted?
Yes, I have not been petting him on the head but doing exactly what you described above. He usually likes a quick rump scratch, but only first thing in the morning for a few seconds does he like the chest/under-the-neck scratch. It is super helpful reading that other people on here have dogs that don't want petting much. Thanks. Otherwise I end up thinking it is something weird about my dog!
 
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