Dog Body Language Study: Intruder in the Yard!
My little dog Zani has so much personality, but it is rare for me to capture her feisty side on camera. She is almost certainly a hound/terrier mix. She has the softness and sensitivity of some small hounds, and can dole out appeasement signals as well as any beagle. I’ve shown her fearful side. But she is also a tough cookie. She holds her own in a household with two bigger dogs. She chases (and yes, kills) small animals. She tells me off sometimes. So when she was alone in the yard, alarm barking but not advancing on whatever was bothering her, I grabbed the camera. I knew it would be interesting.
The “not advancing” part was what clued me that this was something different. If there had been any sort of animal or human in the yard or close by, she would have moved forward with less hesitation. This was some other kind of threat.
(I was glad I had my camera ready a few years after this post when she again noticed something visually amiss. I think you’ll enjoy the comparison. In the 2019 incident, she is similarly wary but also in a more predatory mode, and her tail never stops wagging.)
It would be easy to make light of what it turned out to be. But you know, my little dog is brave. She weighs all of 19 pounds. It’s true that she didn’t start to approach the monster until I offered to go along, but she led the way. I do wish I could have had a view of her from the front. There is a section in the video where her body language gets a bit scary looking. It starts at about 0:46. I would get out of the way of any dog who was advancing towards me in that manner.
The other amazing thing to me is how fast she piloerects–and then how fast the fur goes down again when she determines that all is well. Here’s a nice piece by Karen London on Piloerection–do you think Zani counts as “confident” according to her observations? Thanks to Julie Hecht for a mini-discussion about this too.
I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I did. There’s so much more to observe than what I noted in the video.
How about your dogs? What scary things have they conquered?
Related Posts and Pages (featuring the adorable Zani)
- The Look of Fear
- Another Look at a Fearful Dog
- Please Go Away: Dog Body Language Study
- How My Dogs Play
- You’re Too Close! Dogs and Body Pressure
- Body Language Posts and Videos
© Eileen Anderson 2015 eileenanddogs.com