What happened to little Zani while I was at work one day? Summer was in the crate. Cricket was in the other room. But something had gotten Zani very very worried, and she took a long time to recover.
I have already written about and published many pictures of my feral dog Clara when she was frightened and stressed at the vet’s office.
Now I’m sharing what Zani looks like when she is frightened. But we can only speculate as to what got her that way.
When I first got Zani, she was about one year old, and quite confident for her size and age. She has always had a great temperament and been friendly to all people and dogs.
She spent several months playing with Summer when she first got here, which is no mean feat. Summer is not that playful, and really prefers male dogs. But Zani persisted (which a lot of the time meant that she just barked in Summer’s face until she got a reaction).
Also, Summer’s play is not all that “nice.” She has never fought with or bitten Zani that I know of, and I would probably know since I supervise pretty heavily when my dogs are together. However, Summer is a very “doggie” dog. A lot of her behavior reminds me of what I read about with primitive breeds. And her play has an edge to it that just didn’t feel all that friendly to me.
I consulted my trainer friend a lot, and we kept a sharp eye on things, and there was never a physical mishap.
However, at least two times, Summer appeared to have done something to scare the crap out of Zani, such that Zani was scared even to go near her. Summer was confined both times, so there was obviously not a physical altercation. I have no earthly idea what happened.
Here is the aftermath of one of those episodes. I came home, and Zani was loose in the den, like I had left her, and Summer was crated. (I never left them loose together.) It seems very clear from what I recorded that Zani was afraid, and that she was specifically afraid and avoidant of Summer (who remained crated throughout the video).
By the way, you’ll see Zani wagging her tail, particularly when I approach her and try to get her to move. But take a good look at the tail wag. It has characteristics of an appeasement behavior. See if you can specify what makes it different from a happy-go-lucky one. We can talk about it in the comments if you want.
Link to video for email subscribers.
Zani had one other fear episode with Summer, where there had been no physical contact or even a dirty look that I knew of, yet she again acted fearful for a long period afterwards. And interestingly, there was an interaction with Cricket that I did witness that triggered a shutdown from Zani. I will be posting about that separately.
Here is a gallery of photos of Zani showing typical signs of fear. Again, sorry that they are not higher quality. They do not have the detail that my photos of Clara have, so I didn’t label the notable body language aspects on the photos. But the captions list the main signals. As with the Clara photos, let me know if you would like copies for any presentations or compilations of body language. Click on the photos to view them in a decent size.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to know if any of the rest of you have ever had a dog show fear for an extended period over an unknown cause. Thankfully, Zani has not had an episode in several years.
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