Dog Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 11 month puppy, whenever another dog gets close to me he'll start whining and licking their face uncontrollably until either they or I leave.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
Licking is the way a dog sublimates the urge to bite. When your dog sees other dogs he feels emotional energy and tension builds up. Dogs like wolves release tension through biting, and with wolves, it is biting and tearing into large prey. When they cannot bite, wolves channel this energy into grooming and playing.

So as to your question whether your puppy is resource guarding you, that is anthropomorphizing IMO. Was your dog ever punished for biting?

I would play tug with him and always let him win. This will stimulate the urge to bite. Also, have him carry around a ball or toy in his mouth.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
My 11 month puppy, whenever another dog gets close to me he'll start whining and licking their face uncontrollably until either they or I leave.
That sounds like appeasement behavior, it might also be stress and anxiety. I do think that it could cause a fight if he does it to the wrong dog.

If he were resource guarding he'd be growling and trying to warn the other dogs away from you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
That sounds like appeasement behavior, it might also be stress and anxiety. I do think that it could cause a fight if he does it to the wrong dog.

If he were resource guarding he'd be growling and trying to warn the other dogs away from you.
I have to disagree with this assessment because again it is anthropomorphizing the dog's mind. A dog does not have has the mental capacity to think, "Oh a strange dog is making me nervous, I better lick my lips to show him that I am not a threat". Quite simply dogs do not have the anatomy to think in that way, they lack a type of brain cell called Von Economo neurons which are found in significant amounts in humans, and even more in dolphins and other cetaceans. These cells allow a very high level of thinking that dogs lack, that is sense of separate self and the ability to entertain another animals point of view.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
I have to disagree with this assessment because again it is anthropomorphizing the dog's mind. A dog does not have has the mental capacity to think, "Oh a strange dog is making me nervous, I better lick my lips to show him that I am not a threat". Quite simply dogs do not have the anatomy to think in that way, they lack a type of brain cell called Von Economo neurons which are found in significant amounts in humans, and even more in dolphins and other cetaceans. These cells allow a very high level of thinking that dogs lack, that is sense of separate self and the ability to entertain another animals point of view.
You clearly do not understand the spindle cell. It has nothing to do with consciousness or emotional depth, but simply the presence of empathy. The spinde neuron is believed to enable an animal to mirror the emotional behavior of another individual of the same species. It has nothing to do with the situation described here. In fact, not enough research has been done on spindle cells to accurately make conclusions about their effects in any way.

A dog most certainly has the capacity to knowingly display appeasement signals. You are suggesting that a dog licking it's lips is an automatic response, otherwise known as a Fixed Action Pattern. This is inaccurate, as communicative behaviors are almost always choices. Almost every dog will respond differently in the above situation, and the behavior that it elects is a result of the ontogeny and specific breed phylogeny of the individual itself.

To the OP, it seems as though your dog is nervous about strangers approaching to interact with itself and you. He is responding in a typical puppy way, which involves licking the lips of an older dog to symbolize that it is not a threat. If your puppy was resource guarding you, he would be growling and showing aggressive body language. I would suggest addressing your pup's anxieties by allowing friendly dogs that both of you know to approach while feeding your puppy treats. I would also suggest giving him more time to play with new dogs, as it seems like he may not have gotten enough socialization time to make him completely comfortable in situations like this.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,613 Posts
When Heidi was younger she would lick other dogs quite a bit, and was accompanied by a very low tail, wagging rapidly "I'm small and friendly, don't hurt me!". She still might do it on occasion if the other dog comes in with some significant presence, but she's moving on pretty rapidly to just walking away if someone is in her space.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
A dog most certainly has the capacity to knowingly display appeasement signals. You are suggesting that a dog licking it's lips is an automatic response, otherwise known as a Fixed Action Pattern. This is inaccurate, as communicative behaviors are almost always choices. Almost every dog will respond differently in the above situation, and the behavior that it elects is a result of the ontogeny and specific breed phylogeny of the individual itself.
I do not agree with you, I do not think the dog has the capacity to knowingly display appeasement signals although the end result of licking behavior might create that result. It is an anthropomorphic explanation which is easy for humans to make as a knee-jerk way of explaining animal behavior that is understandable to our point of view. I prefer to remain in a parsimonious, dog-centric mindset rather than going off into fantastical thinking. That being, licking sublimates the urge to bite, anything else about what a dog is thinking is speculation.

If dogs are able to recognize separate self and an understanding of another dog's point of view, why do they fail the mirror test? IMO, dogs are part of a network consciousness, as is the entire planet.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
I do not agree with you, I do not think the dog has the capacity to knowingly display appeasement signals although the end result of licking behavior might create that result. It is an anthropomorphic explanation which is easy for humans to make as a knee-jerk way of explaining animal behavior that is understandable to our point of view. I prefer to remain in a parsimonious, dog-centric mindset rather than going off into fantastical thinking. That being, licking sublimates the urge to bite, anything else about what a dog is thinking is speculation.

If dogs are able to recognize separate self and an understanding of another dog's point of view, why do they fail the mirror test? IMO, dogs are part of a network consciousness, as is the entire planet.

I think you need to study appeasement behavior more. Dogs are more then capable of being fearful, nervous, or anxious, about something and display appeasement behavior to signal the other animal that it's not a threat, it does not want to fight.

My own dog tends to show his belly to humans. It is an appeasement behavior and in no way denotes his wanting his belly pet.

This article is from Patricia McConnell a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, and it discusses muzzle licking and the probable reasons for it. Kiss to Dismiss?

Dogs can and do reason things out, they are more then capable of thinking if I do x y will happen. I rescued a dog and had her maybe 3 or 4 months when I started coming home and finding her and my other dog on my front porch instead of in the backyard where I had left them. The gate to the yard was ajar and I blamed my roommates for leaving it open, they denied doing so. I kept blaming them till the day they left the house before I did and I still came home to find my dogs on the porch. I then remembered that every time I opened the gate Jersey, my rescue dog, would calmly sit next to me and watch as I opened the gate. She learned how the gate opened and figured out how she could open it herself.

There's also dogs that go get help when their owner is in trouble, and they've never been taught to do so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
I have a related question about face licking- people usually say it's a submissive or appeasement behavior. However, in my observations, it just seems to piss off the dog who's being licked. I've seen dogs get bitten in the face for that sort of behavior. So what's the point of it? It certainly doesn't seem to appease other dogs, just annoy them!

I do not agree with you, I do not think the dog has the capacity to knowingly display appeasement signals although the end result of licking behavior might create that result. It is an anthropomorphic explanation which is easy for humans to make as a knee-jerk way of explaining animal behavior that is understandable to our point of view. I prefer to remain in a parsimonious, dog-centric mindset rather than going off into fantastical thinking. That being, licking sublimates the urge to bite, anything else about what a dog is thinking is speculation.

If dogs are able to recognize separate self and an understanding of another dog's point of view, why do they fail the mirror test? IMO, dogs are part of a network consciousness, as is the entire planet.
By your logic how can you conclude that a dog's even thinking that? Just sounds like another explanation a human came up with that we can't validate by asking a dog if that's why it's licking. Same as any of the other theories. I don't see how we can observe the dog feeling the urge to bite and then licking and then the urge going away. Just doesn't seem very empirical to me.

ETA: Also, about the mirror test, that's such a human thing to do- our primary sense is vision so we expect other species to recognize each other by vision. I've actually heard of Dr. Marc Bekoff conducting an experiment where he placed yellow snow along a trail and dogs spent significantly less time investigating their own urine than that of other dogs- he concluded that dogs recognize themselves through scent rather than vision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
I think you need to study appeasement behavior more. Dogs are more then capable of being fearful, nervous, or anxious, about something and display appeasement behavior to signal the other animal that it's not a threat, it does not want to fight.

My own dog tends to show his belly to humans. It is an appeasement behavior and in no way denotes his wanting his belly pet.

This article is from Patricia McConnell a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, and it discusses muzzle licking and the probable reasons for it. Kiss to Dismiss?

Dogs can and do reason things out, they are more then capable of thinking if I do x y will happen. I rescued a dog and had her maybe 3 or 4 months when I started coming home and finding her and my other dog on my front porch instead of in the backyard where I had left them. The gate to the yard was ajar and I blamed my roommates for leaving it open, they denied doing so. I kept blaming them till the day they left the house before I did and I still came home to find my dogs on the porch. I then remembered that every time I opened the gate Jersey, my rescue dog, would calmly sit next to me and watch as I opened the gate. She learned how the gate opened and figured out how she could open it herself.

There's also dogs that go get help when their owner is in trouble, and they've never been taught to do so.
I don't think I need to study appeasement behavior more, but thanks. I am not saying dogs aren't able to display fear, all I am saying is that by describing the behavior as appeasement you are ascribing human values to the emotions the dog is expressing and we have no way of knowing what they are thinking, or even if they have the capacity to "think".

Dogs are masters of pattern recognition and their behavior and intelligence can be explained through that, not intellectual ability.

We are learning more and more about the nature of learning and the energetic underpinnings of behavior and learning, and what is becoming clear is the behaviorists have it wrong and are basing their theories on outdated, 1930s science.

Not a fan of Patricia McConnell, again she is doing what just about all the behaviorists do, anthropomorphizing dog behavior.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
I think you need to study appeasement behavior more. Dogs are more then capable of being fearful, nervous, or anxious, about something and display appeasement behavior to signal the other animal that it's not a threat, it does not want to fight.

My own dog tends to show his belly to humans. It is an appeasement behavior and in no way denotes his wanting his belly pet.

This article is from Patricia McConnell a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, and it discusses muzzle licking and the probable reasons for it. Kiss to Dismiss?

Dogs can and do reason things out, they are more then capable of thinking if I do x y will happen. I rescued a dog and had her maybe 3 or 4 months when I started coming home and finding her and my other dog on my front porch instead of in the backyard where I had left them. The gate to the yard was ajar and I blamed my roommates for leaving it open, they denied doing so. I kept blaming them till the day they left the house before I did and I still came home to find my dogs on the porch. I then remembered that every time I opened the gate Jersey, my rescue dog, would calmly sit next to me and watch as I opened the gate. She learned how the gate opened and figured out how she could open it herself.

There's also dogs that go get help when their owner is in trouble, and they've never been taught to do so.
I don't think I need to study appeasement behavior more, but thanks. I am not saying dogs aren't able to display fear, all I am saying is that by describing the behavior as appeasement you are ascribing human values to the emotions the dog is expressing and we have no way of knowing what they are thinking, or even if they have the capacity to "think".

Dogs are masters of pattern recognition and their behavior and intelligence can be explained through that, not intellectual ability.

We are learning more and more about the nature of learning and the energetic underpinnings of behavior and learning, and what is becoming clear is the behaviorists have it wrong and are basing their theories on outdated, 1930s science.

Not a fan of Patricia McConnell, again she is doing what just about all the behaviorists do, anthropomorphizing dog behavior.
I understand where you are coming from but you are confused on many of the basics of animal behavior.

Appeasement is not an emotion, it is an action. In the world of ethology, an appeasement behavior is used to describe an action that diverts the aggression of another. A dog may chose whether to respond to an aggressor by appeasing, ignoring, or meeting the challenge. As I have mentioned previously, how an individual chooses to respond is a direct result of their personal temperament, age, and specific development. It is not an unconscious action, it is an informed and developed choice.

You are also wrong about the nature of a dog's intelligence. The unanimous conclusion on canine intelligence states that they are masters of communication. Above any other capacity, dog's perceive and understand the signals of a and even other species (human). This requires an incredible degree of intelligence and awareness as the social ability of a dog rivals even that of a great ape.

Finally, the mirror test is not a definitive measure of an animal's self awareness or not. That is not how the experiment is designed and no respectable ethnologist would state that you can divide animals into the conscious and non catagories using only the mirror test. Again, the bear unanimous decision amongst scientist states that a dog is indeed a self aware creature, based on several tests including the one mentioned by a previously poster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
By your logic how can you conclude that a dog's even thinking that? Just sounds like another explanation a human came up with that we can't validate by asking a dog if that's why it's licking. Same as any of the other theories. I don't see how we can observe the dog feeling the urge to bite and then licking and then the urge going away. Just doesn't seem very empirical to me.
Study wolves. Look at behavior as a process of tension and release or flow if you will. When emotion builds up in the dog's system, it creates tension and stress which needs to be released. This is released through external behavior, physical movement. For wolves, the most satisfying way to release the tension is through biting on a large prey animal, or in the case of the breeding pair, copulating. As wolves only breed once a year and most pack members aren't allowed to mate, the way they relieve tension is by sublimating the urge to bite, if not there would be carnage in the pack. The domestication of dogs rests almost entirely on bite sublimation, dogs that bite humans don't live.

ETA: Also, about the mirror test, that's such a human thing to do- our primary sense is vision so we expect other species to recognize each other by vision. I've actually heard of Dr. Marc Bekoff conducting an experiment where he placed yellow snow along a trail and dogs spent significantly less time investigating their own urine than that of other dogs- he concluded that dogs recognize themselves through scent rather than vision.
Not the same thing at all, of course, they recognize their own scent, but the scent of novel dogs is much more interesting. It does not translate that they have a sense of separate self, or are able to understand another's point of view.
[/QUOTE]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
I understand where you are coming from but you are confused on many of the basics of animal behavior.

Appeasement is not an emotion, it is an action. In the world of ethology, an appeasement behavior is used to describe an action that diverts the aggression of another. A dog may chose whether to respond to an aggressor by appeasing, ignoring, or meeting the challenge. As I have mentioned previously, how an individual chooses to respond is a direct result of their personal temperament, age, and specific development. It is not an unconscious action, it is an informed and developed choice.

You are also wrong about the nature of a dog's intelligence. The unanimous conclusion on canine intelligence states that they are masters of communication. Above any other capacity, dog's perceive and understand the signals of a and even other species (human). This requires an incredible degree of intelligence and awareness as the social ability of a dog rivals even that of a great ape.

Finally, the mirror test is not a definitive measure of an animal's self awareness or not. That is not how the experiment is designed and no respectable ethnologist would state that you can divide animals into the conscious and non catagories using only the mirror test. Again, the bear unanimous decision amongst scientist states that a dog is indeed a self aware creature, based on several tests including the one mentioned by a previously poster.
I know appeasement is an action, not an emotion, but I do not believe it is a deliberate thought through action, ie the dog is thinking, "strange dog, I am nervous, so I am going to act like I am no threat", because that requires the dog to be self-aware and to be aware of the other dog and their potential status.

We are going to have to disagree on the other points, I think the behaviorists are confused, they are projecting their thoughts onto the dogs and are using bad behaviorist science and will be proved very wrong in the not too distant future. JMHO.

Bottom line, dogs feel oral tension so to relieve that they lick instead of bite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
Study wolves. Look at behavior as a process of tension and release or flow if you will. When emotion builds up in the dog's system, it creates tension and stress which needs to be released. This is released through external behavior, physical movement. For wolves, the most satisfying way to release the tension is through biting on a large prey animal, or in the case of the breeding pair, copulating. As wolves only breed once a year and most pack members aren't allowed to mate, the way they relieve tension is by sublimating the urge to bite, if not there would be carnage in the pack. The domestication of dogs rests almost entirely on bite sublimation, dogs that bite humans don't live.



Not the same thing at all, of course, they recognize their own scent, but the scent of novel dogs is much more interesting. It does not translate that they have a sense of separate self, or are able to understand another's point of view.
[/QUOTE]

You can't empirically observe that tension, which is what you're using as an argument in the first place. You're just assuming that's how they feel. Saying an animal feels tension is the same as saying it feels anything else. Same as assuming biting or copulating "satisfies" that tension. Sounds like anthropomorphism to me. And... why would a wolf want to bite another wolf in its pack? I'm confused why they'd want to do that in the first place, especially since that's not being observed.

I'm not saying that experiment means they do have a sense of self and whatnot, I'm saying it's just as valid to use that as evidence of self awareness as it is to use the mirror test, as you were using.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
Err yes you can observe tension.

But I don't think you are understanding what I am saying. Probably my fault for not explaining it well enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Err yes you can observe tension.

But I don't think you are understanding what I am saying. Probably my fault for not explaining it well enough.
Your argument is incredibly confusing. You are criticizing the theory that many of us are sharing by saying it is "anthropomorphic" but turning around and saying that wolves can experience a build up of "emotion" that they must release orally.

First, even I believe that speaking of emotions in animals is a questionable practice. While I certainly believe that most animals are emotion creatures, I would not employ that rhetoric in a discussion of science as it is a relatively unproven idea. What you have said is far more radical and anthropomorphic than anything the rest of us have shared. Second, your image of wolf society and behavior seems very unresearched. Perhaps due to your explanation, but the theory you have posted seems essentially made up. I have never heard anything about "oral tension" or really any types of tension in a wolf, or any animal for that matter, which drives its daily decision making. Finally, you may not make determinations about dog behavior by observing the wolf. The two animals are incredibly different in terms of how they process and react to information. The research on differences between these two canines ultimately concludes that they must be looked at in terms of their own sub species exclusively.

Also, FYI: a "behaviorist" is someone who studies and subscribes to the physiological movement of the 1920-1950s that relies on classical conditioning methods. What you mean to say, is ethologist, which is a scientist who studies animal behavior.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
Study wolves. Look at behavior as a process of tension and release or flow if you will. When emotion builds up in the dog's system, it creates tension and stress which needs to be released. This is released through external behavior, physical movement. For wolves, the most satisfying way to release the tension is through biting on a large prey animal, or in the case of the breeding pair, copulating. As wolves only breed once a year and most pack members aren't allowed to mate, the way they relieve tension is by sublimating the urge to bite, if not there would be carnage in the pack. The domestication of dogs rests almost entirely on bite sublimation, dogs that bite humans don't live.



Not the same thing at all, of course, they recognize their own scent, but the scent of novel dogs is much more interesting. It does not translate that they have a sense of separate self, or are able to understand another's point of view.
[/quote]


I don't think you can learn much about dogs by studying wolf behavior, if it worked that way I could go study chimpanzees in order to learn about human behavior, or study bobcats and lynx in order to learn about domestic cats. I'd see some similar displays but not enough to learn much about the domesticated animals behavior.

Do you have any links to some field studies about wolves relieving tension by biting and licking? I've done some studying on wolves but have never heard that theory before.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cookieface

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
Your argument is incredibly confusing. You are criticizing the theory that many of us are sharing by saying it is "anthropomorphic" but turning around and saying that wolves can experience a build up of "emotion" that they must release orally.
Nothing anthropomorphic there. Okay, think of emotion as pure and simply energy, e - motion.

First, even I believe that speaking of emotions in animals is a questionable practice. While I certainly believe that most animals are emotion creatures, I would not employ that rhetoric in a discussion of science as it is a relatively unproven idea. What you have said is far more radical and anthropomorphic than anything the rest of us have shared. Second, your image of wolf society and behavior seems very unresearched. Perhaps due to your explanation, but the theory you have posted seems essentially made up. I have never heard anything about "oral tension" or really any types of tension in a wolf, or any animal for that matter, which drives its daily decision making. Finally, you may not make determinations about dog behavior by observing the wolf. The two animals are incredibly different in terms of how they process and react to information. The research on differences between these two canines ultimately concludes that they must be looked at in terms of their own sub species exclusively.
I have not made up anything. Perhaps we should talk in terms of proto-dog and proto-wolf.

Also, FYI: a "behaviorist" is someone who studies and subscribes to the physiological movement of the 1920-1950s that relies on classical conditioning methods. What you mean to say, is ethologist, which is a scientist who studies animal behavior.
Thanks I know the difference. Have you read the book How Dog's Work by ethnologists, Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein, (University of Chicago Press). I agree with some of what they write but not all, Bekhov's not particularly enamored!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
Nothing anthropomorphic there. Okay, think of emotion as pure and simply energy, e - motion.



I have not made up anything. Perhaps we should talk in terms of proto-dog and proto-wolf.



Thanks I know the difference. Have you read the book How Dog's Work by ethnologists, Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein, (University of Chicago Press). I agree with some of what they write but not all, Bekhov's not particularly enamored!
Sorry a victim of auto-correct should be ethologist.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top