Dog Communication Includes Diversion

November 7, 2010

How dogs communicate with other dogs is fascinating.   On the surface, their canine talk may appear simple.  But in actuality, it’s rather complex and too intricate to discuss all aspects in even a few articles.   Our focus here is the art of diversion.   In other words, its how one dog diverts and distracts the attention of another dog generally while amusing themselves in play. 

For example, yesterday one small dog named Dell decided to posture with the authority of a leader or an alpha dog.  His tail was straight up in the air, ears perked high, wide stance, nose in the air in a typical alpha stance.   Often here at Doggie Care Resort, we have to remind the dogs that we are the leaders and alphas and they are not. And at your home, you need to be the leader or alpha but that’s in another article.   Anyway, little, sweet Dell, the so-called alpha, was playing with one of the other small dogs and the selected playmat was larger than himself.  The other dog could run faster, jump higher and in all ways outperform Dell’s short legs and Dell was starting to feel tired.

Suddenly, Dell stopped.  All play ended.  Dell  intently focused on a non-existent something in the yard. Wow, imagine that big giraffe suddenly appearing in the bushes like that; the other dog just had to stop and look too.  Of course, there was no giraffe; there was nothing of interest.  But the action successfully stopped the play.  While the other dog strained to see the intruder, Dell was able to calmly walk away without losing his all-important status.

Dogs are all about status and position.  They need to know who is going to be in charge and for the most part, they don’t care if another dog or a human is in charge as long as someone holds the leadership role.  But in the art of diversion when one canine leader feels he is losing status, he can divert attention when his status is threatened. 

Suddenly stopping to scratch one’s side works.  Turning to play with another dog works too.  One can always romp over to sniff the important leaf of a plant or go check out the rump end of another dog.  One can always yawn or loudly bark at something of interest.  And, then there’s turning to stare blankly into space to ponder.  What they are pondering, well, we really don’t know.   Perhaps, they are thinking about a nice snooze in a comfy bed.

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