Misread signals

Miscommunication, do dogs ever misread each others body language? Yes they do. The other day I had my poodles at the field for a run; which is somewhere I have been taking them for probably 8 years now. The field is a place where I can let them chase the frisbee or ball without interruption. They love it there; Luke makes his marking perimeter rounds and Tilley fetches the ball; its what she lives for.

We have a routine at the field which keeps the dogs from getting out of control. They can easily become over excited but with the rules instilled we keep the chance of that happening down. So when did the miscommunication happen? I do random obedience with my dogs and they know it; I often will ask them to down stay as I go to the exit of the field and then release them. This keeps them on their toes.

But what happened the otherday was a total canine miscommunication. Tilley had a ball in her mouth which is the norm; Luke was running around her being annoying, again the norm. Tilley took a frozen posture; not an aggressive posture more like a please leave me alone freeze. I walked ahead to the exit and turned to see both dogs at the other side of the park standing watching me.

Why were they not with me? With Tilley freezing in position; Luke misread this as "she must be in a stay." So he stood beside her thinking that he probably missed my stay command. Tilley then thought that they were doing a stay because Luke was staying. I never told them to stay, I never signaled a stay or even accidently conveived a stay visual cue. This was all their doing and even as I stood watching them watching me it was obvious that they thought they were in a stay.

I waited for several minutes; they were doing a very good "non stay." I released them and they both charged to my side. There are many times dogs misread each other; this was a very good example.

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