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  • Hi! I'm not sure if there are any other posts on this. But, recently, Hideo's hair has been standing up when he is approached by other dogs. It was at first just in one spot, now it is down the length if his back. He is around other dogs frequently, and has been since he was a puppy, and he has always gotten along well with other dogs. He doesn't seem angry or scared, he is just on alert, his guard is up. His body stiffens as well. This is all new behavior, and I'm just wondering is this just normal in Shibas as they grow up. Hideo will be 2 in a few months. Also, I am wondering what this means when his hair is standing up. Is he afraid? Could he attack another dog if provoked? Why are his defenses up now so often?
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Generally that is a sign of stress or excitement. Yes, dogs can go through developmental phases where they may be stressed a bit more than others. It is a sign that you should be on alert too as it sometimes spurs on more intense play or aggression. Hard to say in your case since we can not observe your dog. Shibas sometimes become more intolerant of unfamiliar dog as they age, so be aware of that.

    Snf
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    I think whether or not your dog would attack if provoked depends on your dog. Especially since he's 2 you should know what signs to look for. The standing hair on the back can mean stress or excitement as SnF has mentioned.

    I've seen Bootz with her hair up when a stranger is near us during our walks, or if she sees a cat she would like to chase. Depending on the situation, I usually analyze and act accordingly. Stranger - if all is clear, I give her a pat on the back and tell her "its ok" she usually loosens up after that. For Cat, I use the "leave it" and "lets go" walk the other way and her hair would fall back down into place.

  • ShibaLoveShibaLove
    Posts: 554
    The hair standing up means they are alert, maybe excited, maybe on guard or defensive, it is really hard to say without observing his behavior. Your male could be going through changes in behavior as he ages and becoming less tolerant to other dogs even though he was properly socialized. This does happen. It could be a certain dog that he is not reacting well to, like maybe an intact male. I don't think you should jump to the conclusion that he is getting aggressive and will attack, but I definetly think this warrants you paying very close attention to his body language and interactions with other dogs and be prepared to step in to prevent anything if it looks like he might be getting aggressive. Ember's hackles rise sometimes when she is just really excited for play, so I just stay close and watch her.

    Is this your first dog? Do you really not know that dogs hackles rise and what that means? I am hoping you do but just wanted some advice, but if not I suggest you read some more about dogs in general but especially reading the cues they give because it seems you will be needing to use those cues to let you know how Hideo is feeling about other dogs and in certain situations. Good luck. It doesn't sound too serious now but just keep an eye on him.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I am fairly new to owning dogs, but what I have been told is that raised fur, as others said, indicate afraid or overly stimulated.

    What concerned me is you say he gets rigid/stiff which often is a sign he is about to become aggressive from what I have been told.

    For example an aggressive dog usually will go stiff, his ears and tail raised high and if you reach to pet him his entire body freezes rather than wiggling to get closer.

    A dog with a relaxed loose body and raised fur is more likely just over stimulated, but rigid body raised fur in my opinion is something to really be watchful for and probably a sign you should back away from the situation with them.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @redcattoo, I would have to disagree with you.

    When a dog stands still and becomes stiff...that doesn't mean they will become aggressive. I think its just them being on guard/alert. Bootz does this all the time as a way to inform me "hey mom there is a stranger close by" When the dog/person comes up to her, does she attack? No. She quickly analyzes the dog/person by sniffing them. Then according to how she feels about the person, she'll react accordling. Which is usually 1 of 3 ways. 1) she initiates play. 2) she brushes them off and acts like they're not important. 3) she bares teeth **which rarely happens with me, only when shes alone with my husband**

  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
    Rigby's little mohawk stands up alllll the time. When he sees a dog that looks like fun, when he sees a cat to chase, when we come home from work, when he sees a human who looks exciting, etc... I would just pay attention to your dog's other cues, like if he's yawning, lip licking, or appears otherwise stressed, or if he growls or barks (and what kind of growls and barks are important too!). Otherwise, I wouldn't let it stress you out when the behavior occurs because you don't want him to think there's a reason to be afraid/stressed! :)
    Jenn, Shiba Slave to Rigby / http://hellorigby.com
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    Bootz said:

    @redcattoo, I would have to disagree with you.

    When a dog stands still and becomes stiff...that doesn't mean they will become aggressive. I think its just them being on guard/alert. Bootz does this all the time as a way to inform me "hey mom there is a stranger close by" When the dog/person comes up to her, does she attack? No. She quickly analyzes the dog/person by sniffing them. Then according to how she feels about the person, she'll react accordling. Which is usually 1 of 3 ways. 1) she initiates play. 2) she brushes them off and acts like they're not important. 3) she bares teeth **which rarely happens with me, only when shes alone with my husband**



    Well that is good to know. Everything I had ever saw or read had said stiff body was not a friendly relaxed dog, but maybe in this case Shiba's are a little different exception. As I noted I am newer to the dog world, so am still learning and have no personal experience with aggressive dogs (thankfully).
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    For us it works well if I acknowledge that stiffness before Juni has had the time to decide for herself if it is something threatening or scary. I usually just say "that's ok, he is allowed to be there" or "good girl there's a dog there" or something similar and then she knows I saw it too and there is no need to get worked up.
  • Thank you, everyone for all of the feedback! It has been really helpful!! I guess I was mainly wondering why it is occurring so frequently now, and had never occurred before. He seems to be very alert, and on guard while we are at the dog park. He doesn't seem to really be scared or angry, he's just watching his back. He still plays and gets along with the other dogs, it just takes him longer to warm up to the group and start playing. This is new for him. I just wanted to compare experiences with other Shiba owners.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960

    He seems to be very alert, and on guard while we are at the dog park. He doesn't seem to really be scared or angry, he's just watching his back.



    To me this is contradictory, if he is on alert and watching his back that means he isn't at that point comfortable. As I noted I am newer to dogs and haven't dealt with reactive or aggressive dogs though. I also know from reading this forum that others have had Shibas that around 2 years old become more intolerant and reactive.

    Only you know your dog best, I still would be concerned as you noted this is a change in his previous behavior, you note he is coming on 2 years old, and you describe him as stiff, on alert, watching his back which to me is not a dog who is comfortable at that moment and at a state things could go anyway especially if the next moment there is a reactive or aggressive dog at the park who approaches him rather than a relaxed friendly willing to be patient dog who approaches him.
  • @redcattoo - I understand why my statements seemed contradictory to you.

    What I mean is that I have seen Hideo afraid before, his tail goes a little limp, and he tries to move away from the thing/ situation. He is not doing either of those things.

    I do not believe he is angry (or ready to be aggressive) because he is not showing his teeth or growling, or showing any other signs of aggression. He is mostly, I believe, assessing the situation and the other dogs around him.

    I do agree that if there is the possibility that Hideo could react toward a dog that he perceives as threatening. I am monitoring him and his interactions carefully.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    Yes, the full picture with ears, eyes, tail and body posture tell more about his feelings which is why the person seeing it is always a better judge. :)
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Raised hairs mean several things. I compare it to us when our adrenaline is flowing. Kaji always raises his hairs when he's playing with Taisho and gets serious. He's still having fun though. When he gets angry, his hairs stand up too, but his body language is different. He has never raised hairs towards strangers or other dogs but he's still a youngster, so he thinks everyone/thing loves him and vice versa.

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