Inspired by a bunch of comments from yesterday’s post, I figured I’d write just how sensitive my Ri-monster really is. He really wears his feelings on his sleeves but even more than that, he shows even the tiniest bit of stress in noticeable ways which is so very different than Shayne. It takes a lot of stress for her to lip lick or yawn or do look aways which is very different from my expressive Rio.
Startline Stay—When I leave Rio on a startline stay he will yawn and lip lick as I walk away. This is mixture of two stressful events… me walking away and the anticipation of getting to play agility!
Movement of leash–If i try to untangle a leash by shaking it a bit, that type of sensation will cause Rio to lick his lips and look away. If I try to move him with the leash he will give a big yawn, lip lick, and sometimes whale eye.
Tell him “all done” (no more ball throwing)–When I tell him that I’m not playing anymore he gives a very dramatic yawn/whine, lower his head, and will lick his lips. If he is feeling particularly sensitive he’ll give a little whale eye and look away.
Going outside–As I approach the door to let him outside he starts lip licking, puts his ears back, and gets squinty eyes.
Not throwing the ball–If he gives me a ball and I do not throw it he will lip lick and yawn/whine at me and do look aways if I look at him (the picture of the top was taken while I held a ball but wasn’t engaging in the game).
Leaving Ritual–Rio doesn’t have any noticeable separation anxiety… no destruction, no apparent pacing, no barking etc. When I’m getting ready to leave, however, he pulls his ears back, tucks his tail, lowers his head, and lip licks as I get ready to leave.
Returning home–When I return home, sometimes I will get a submissive grin, sometimes I get teeth chattering, sometimes I get lots of lip licking and yawning (along with barking).
Getting leashed up–When I leash up the dogs to go for a walk, Rio does lots of lip licking and frequent yawning and occasionally I’ll get some sneezing.
But I want it–If I cue him to “leave it” or expect an “it’s your choice”– be it a toy, food, agility obstacle, other dog, or leaf on the ground he may stiffen up, drop his head, lip lick, yawn, and potentially tuck his tail. Apparently it is very stressful for him to see something he can’t have.
The freezer is stressful–I’d say 80% of the time when I open the freezer Rio gives a big yawn.
I could go on an on about his very sensitive nature and his really over the top communication. It’s a far cry from Shayne who will lift a paw when unsure or stressed but who rarely yawns and only occasionally licks her lips even when very stressed (other body language cues). To people who don’t know him he must look like a nervous, stressed out wreck… luckily I know him better than these people and can say, it’s just how he communicates. He doesn’t appear to be overly stressed out… he just is very clear about when he’s feeling even the slightest amount of stress (good stress or bad stress).
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