Who dunnit?

                   I took this photo many years ago; but remember the moment like it was yesterday.  The big dogs rallied together, trying to intimidate the little one.  He was not intimidated and held his own.  Lucky for him the Labradors were impressed and welcomed him into their club. 

You know those you tube's where an owners is asking their dogs "who did this?"  The ones that everyone think are so funny?  Well I hate them, I do not think that they are funny.  Why you ask?  I'll tell ya.   When  dog's ears drop, their head lowers and their eyes squint; they are submitting.  When you continue to push the submit buttons, just imagine how a dog is feeling during the interaction?  I can get my dogs to look guilty easily; most people can but should we?  No. 

Dog communications are fleeting, very swiftly given and meant to be received and read as quickly.  Unless there is a huge turmoil between dogs; messages typically last seconds or fractions of seconds.  Continued submitting puts a dog in a very stressful situation.  It causes great anxiety.  Constantly asking "did you do this?" just to get a cute behavior out of a dog is really sad. 

So many people come to the conclusion that their dog knows they've done wrong just by their behavior when asked.  But try asking when they have done nothing wrong; you'll get the same guilty behavior.  We humans have a tendency to draw things out, don't we?  When we are mad we love to prolong the agony; trying to ingrain a message to the core.  But dogs don't work like that; their world revolves around the moment.  Instant feedback is how they learn and deal with issues in life..  It is by far the best way to deal with their behaviors; both desirable and unwanted.  Instantaneously. 

Playing with your dog's emotions is not a good idea.  They don't understand "I was just kidding," moments like we do.  You cannot tell them after asking them "did you do this?" that it was all just to show your friends how cute they look when they are guilty.  I don't think that it is cute or funny; canine communications are very serious.  By drawing out a submission, you put a great deal of stress and risk fallout behaviors from it.  When a dog is forced to submit for long periods of time; it may not last forever.  There may come a time when they say "enough is enough."  Submission can go bad when a dog has had enough.  Then what? 

Some trainers (like on television) think that constant submissive signals are required for a proper relationship.  They believe that dogs need to be consistently signaling submission to us.  That is a bunch of dog crap.  Life is filled with feedback moments but when life is good it should just be good.  There should be no constant requirement to submit.  Saving serious feedback for serious moments hold much more impact.  Even then a small communication is all that may be needed.  Take for instance when your dog is chewing on your favorite shoes.  That is a moment to offer feedback.  What I look for is the slightest ear drop of "ooops, wrong item."  The issue is dealt with; move on. 

Being in a submissive state is not healthy; nor is a good place for any dog to be in.  It should only be called upon when truly required for a communication.  Don't use it as entertainment.  Dogs would never do that to us.  Come on people. 

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