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What breed is River?


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Discussion Starter #1
We were told by the rescue that she's a Sheltie/Shiba Inu mix, but we'd like your expert opinion.

Please let us know in the poll. ;)

 

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Hi. I'm not sure of her breed/mix but I hope you don't mind me making a couple of observations.

In the first video, River's body language is very tense. She is looking away, lip licking, and her eye whites are showing - these are all signs of stress. She is tolerating being petted by your son, but only just.

Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with as I said, there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals or reprimand the dog for giving them; stopping the dog from giving them would be like taking the battery out of a smoke alarm.

If I could make a suggestion, it would be to back off from her for a bit.

For the next two weeks, I'd suggest you ignore her. Completely. Not even eye contact, because to a dog, direct eye contact is very intimidating. Also, position yourself so you are never between your dog and her safe place (bed etc) or escape route (door from the room).

Then you can try taking some lovely treats and tossing them past her, so she has to go away from you to get them. That is because approaching you puts her in a state of conflicted emotions. She wants the treat but has to approach the scary person to get them. I realise tossing them away sounds counterintuitive but it helps her build a positive conditioned emotional response (google +CER for the science if you are interested) without having to get too close.

After a number of days of doing that, put one of the treats on the floor, about 18 inches from your feet. See what she does. If she darts in, takes the treat, and goes off, then she isn't ready yet for this stage. So, as with anything in dog training, go back to the previous step for a bit longer.

When she takes the treat from the floor and eats it there, do that for a few days. Still no eye contact.

Once she has been taking the treat from the floor happily for a number of days, offer one from your hand, but again see how she reacts. Any lack if confidence (taking it and stepping back) again is a sign she isn't ready, so back up a step for longer. And still no eye contact.

Once she is comfortable taking treats from your hand (and I mean really comfortable) you can try petting her, but using the five second rule.

Stroke her for five seconds (some dogs prefer you avoid the head) then stop. Only if she initiates further contact by nudging you or similar, continue for another five seconds then stop again. Continue only for as long as she keeps asking. That gives her control and in turn that will build her confidence around you because she knows he can make it stop at any time.

Expect this to take a while depending on the dog. But don't be tempted to rush it, take it at her pace.

I'm sorry this will be disappointing but I promise it will pay off in the long run.
 

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Breed? She looks very much like a kooiker cross those lovely red colours
Apart from that I have to agree with JoanneF rescue dogs need time, how long that is depends on the dog. They need time to get used to their situation and their surroundings your son running after her like that and petting her when she's obviously not comfortable it's really asking for trouble youre setting her up to fail so please follow the advice you've been given..
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
In the first video, River's body language is very tense. She is looking away, lip licking, and her eye whites are showing - these are all signs of stress. She is tolerating being petted by your son, but only just.
That's amazing observation! I was completely unaware of all that cues. She must have been stressed, because the video was recorded within ten minutes of arriving at our house from the dog rescue. Everything was unfamiliar to her. She acted so calmly to untrained eyes.

She did nip at us on that first day, but the nipping stopped after the second day. She barked at me the first time I returned home from work, but that only happened once. Now she jumps up and down and licks my face when I get home. I've taken her running several times already, and she seems happy.

Now all three of us are feeding her from our hands. I take it that's a good sign of her being comfortable around us. She also follows us wherever we go around the house, and she lies next to my wife while she works at the computer.

This is the fifth day that she's with us. I'll record another video when we take her out later this morning, but I truly appreciate your analysis.

She looks very much like a kooiker cross those lovely red colours
Thank you for your tip. I have no knowledge of dog breeds, and her coloration and body shape indeed look like a kooikerhondje. Her temperament is friendly and energetic like a kooiker too.
 

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No problem. To be fair, it really isn't amazing observation if you are a dog nerd like I am. Show me a baby though and I wouldn't be able to tell the top from the bottom ...
 

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There's one thing I would like to point out about kooikers. They can be nervous and they can be nippy so if there is any chance she has kooiker in her please make sure that you take things slowly.
 
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