Touch is reassuring for our rescue dogs, work out where yours like it best and work with that.
Often you’ll find your rescue dog looking to you for visual reassurance, as dogs communicate primarily through body language, use yours to communicate with them too.
Body Language and Dogs.
There are simple online courses, videos and workshops where you can learn more about canine body language and I highly recommend every dog household does at least one in their lifetime as it is so useful.
Young children can learn simply body language skills that will help keep them and the dog safe and happy and they too can be involved as touch is reassuring for them, to build and strnegthen family bonds.
What makes a dog bite?
In my opinion most dog bites can be avoided, most dogs do not want to hurt us and will give off many calming signals, signs that they are not happy before they strike with a bite, it is down to us humans to become educated and take the right action.
A dog bite is often the absolute last resort and you as a human you may have missed the signs, many rescue dogs and stressed or highly strung dogs esculate very quickly so it is important to maintain a close eye on dogs body language.
Here are 8 tips about body language.
- A newly rescued dog may not welcome touch – let them set the pace
- Avoid reaching over a dog to touch its head or face – let it sniff your hand first
- Most dogs don’t enjoy being forcibly hugged – let them set the pace, if you must, keep it short and let the dog move freely however do not approach a rescue dog or strange dog expecting to be able to hug or cuddle it
- Signs of discomfort such as the whites of the eyes showing – this is fear or uncertainty and is not a sign to proceed, back off
- Tightening of the mouth – this is uncertainty, fear or a warning that the dog is not relaxed, back off
- Ears pressed back are expressing uncomfort, fear or uncertainty, back off and let the dog set the pace
- Tucked tail – is fear and is a clear signal the dog is not happy, back off and let the dog set the pace
- Staring at a dog is very confrotational and not to be encouraged, while your dog may like to gaze into your eyes it is unlikely that a newly rescued dog will without feeling challenged. Don’t do it!
How touch is reassuring for your dog
Touch is reassuring for dogs, especially rescue dogs when they are settlig into their home and here are a few pointers.
When someone new visits the home a reassuring stroke can provide the comfort a rescued dog may need.
If you are out with your rescue dog they may choose to lean on you or sit bhind your legs, this is so they feel safe and your touch is reassuring for them.
A rescue dog may have learned a new trick such as giving you her paw, she may then over-do this constantly offering her paw to you for reassurance – take the time to hold her paw as touch is reassuring when they feel a little insecure. (of course your rescue dog may be really smart and wants the treat that comes after she’s done what you asked).
Brushing is very reassuring touch when your dog loves it. It is good for bonding and a great way to check your dog for ticks, grass seeds, cuts, abraisions or lumps.
Rubbing with a towel after a soggy dog walk walk can be very reassuring touch for dogs. My rescue dogs needed a little encouragement to be rubbed down with a towel at first, however they now absolutely love it and come to have towels put over their soggy fur when we get back from a damp walk and welcome the bonding time with me before laying down for a post walk snooze.
A scratch under the chin or gentle ear rub can be very pleasant to receive and most dogs like some physical interaction with their human family. Some love their rump being scratched and others roll over for a good old fashioned tummy rub, whatever your dogs preference keep it gentle, not rough or domineering and when they have had enough, let them be.
Find out which touch is reassuring for your dogs and make that part of your day-to-day life together. It is good for bonding and good for us too as time with our dogs releases endorphins, the bodys natural feel good hormones.
What to do next?
If in any doubt about what your dog is trying to communicate, book an animal communication session where you can ask the questions you’d like answered.
You can book a free chat through the online calendar here.
From the heart,