Kriss-Kross: Keeping Signals Straight with your Puppies

This week’s post is a continuation of last week’s conversation: a review of what your Habibi Bear puppy perceives as a threat. It is important when letting people approach our beloved
 little guys and gals that we know our pups and can advocate for them properly. 

  1. Please have guests avoid direct and prolonged eye contact with your puppy. In the doggy world, this action indicates an aggressive position which puts your pup on alert. If we take this into consideration, we have the potential for disaster, especially when the stare is followed by:
  2. A Pat on or over the head. Remember, dogs perceive Danger from Above and Safety from Below! 
  3. A Hug around the neck. A hug is, in effect, pinning your dog into an immobilized state where it cannot move freely. (See Cuddling Your Dog? It may not be a mutually pleasant experience, ) These actions are seen as aggressive moves by your pup. Hugging is seen as affectionate only by humans, so be sure to have your guests educated on how to give affection to your pup.

What is interpreted as friendly: 
Letting puppy set the pace of contact and interaction. They may go back and forth in initiating contact, approaching and retreating several times before allowing physical contact. This is encouraged and preferred. If we allow this, we are actively encouraging  building trust between guest and  puppy and giving them confidence. A Confident puppy rarely lashes out. 

Petting from the neck down only. If you’ve been honored to have dogs before, you know how much dogs love butt scratchies, petting or scratching right above the top of the tail on the back. If you find their spot, they will often start shaking a single leg in happiness and their mouths will go slack in joy, sometimes even with their tongues out. 

What if my dog growls at my guest, or barks at them? 
We at Habibi Bears see growling as Awesome! Here’s why: Your puppy is telling you exactly how they feel. They are saying Mom (or Dad) I’m really super uncomfortable with this set-up and I need you to step in and put up a boundary for me. Please take me out of this situation and help me out, with a quiet, private space where I can decompress.  If we punish puppy for growling, we are leaving them without a means to safely express themselves. 
We encourage you to remain neutral about growling, and see it as an effective means of communication and not an act of aggression.

By educating ourselves on dog behavior and advocating for our dog, we can bring out the best in our beloved Habibi Bear puppies and ensure that they remain the confident wonder pups that we know they are. We have a wealth of knowledge and resources here on our website, plus the benefit of our fantastic Pup Start program available to help you on your way. If you ever need advice or help, make sure to reach out to us at any time. We are always here for you, ready and happy to cheer you on!