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Is it Fear, aggression, possessiveness or dominance?
  • Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 09:49:50
  • DebDeb
    Posts: 286
    My guess is anxiety (lie down to try to calm himself, not for politeness) then followed up with fear aggression. While you are waiting to hear back from the breeder and trainer, I would suggest not stopping for greetings with other dogs, just walk in a semi arc with you between him and the approaching dog and you just simply say hello pleasantly to the other dog's person while continuing on your walk. Try to notice if the oncoming dog is staring at your dog, as that can be very unsettling for your dog. Notice, too if your dog is staring. Dogs staring at each other constitutes a challenge.
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    Not to address entire scenario, but just laying down...Koji does this almost everytime he sees a dog he's interested in yet doesn't already know...he looks like a lioness in the brush ready to pounce...At least in his case I do not think he's calming himself, just his weird cat like way of waiting and watching...if other dog comes in the "zone" Koji will spring up and's not aggressive or fear, and he has very good doggie communication skills...I think he's observing to see the other dogs style...and if he is interested enough to initiate contact...very amusing...

    I would take a class or work on deliberate controlled meet and greet training - is he still a puppy?
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Yes agree, lying down does not mean that he wants to greet the other dog. Juni does that too when she is unsure about another dog. I would also suggest no greetings at all when he is on leash. Increase the distance to other dogs until he seems more relaxed and can focus on you instead. For many Shibas having to meet unknown dogs, especially on leash, is just stressful. Tell other dog owners he doesn't want to or is not allowed to greet other dogs. He will probably feel more relaxed when he knows he doesn't have to.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I am glad others are saying laying down is not from anxiety. My boy typically starts in a sit and then lays down when he desires to initiate play of a greeting similar to @Koji's mom described.

    I don't believe his habit is anxiety as much as my training impulse control and waiting for permission has probably fed into this habit now before greeting other dogs especially on leash (which we typically don't allow).
  • Merritt is almost 20 months old. I would say the laying down started when he hit a year. Everyone's insight is much appreciated. I have reached out to the trainer we used and will soon meet up so she can observe his behavior. I think I will eliminate meeting new dogs until we meet up with trainer...
    @Deb - he is most definitely staring. I watch him so closely for his body language, sometimes I miss the nuances of the other animal.
  • DebDeb
    Posts: 286
    All by itself, lying down doesn't automatically mean anxiety. But, coupled with Merritt's chain of events ending in growling, it's my guess that was what is going on. Try to divert him from staring at other dogs, it's challenging. Good luck with the trainer watching his activity and getting to the bottom of what's up as well as getting the behavior turned around. I'll be interested to hear what the trainer says.
    Post edited by Deb at 2013-04-28 23:32:27

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