Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Brief lesson on fear avoidance

http://hellogiggles.com/10-awesomely-adorable-dog-gifs?sl=2#sl=3 GIF #3 if it doesn’t load properly.

This came to me on Twitter in a link entitled "10 awesomely adorable dog GIFS" - the rest of the images are, in fact, cute, so go ahead and click the link and look at the rest of them if you want to check them out, but I had to comment on this particular one.

If you recognize the body language here, this is NOT cute at all. This dog is showing very fearful behavior here. Now, if you’ve ever seen an object (ball or whatever else) come too close to your dog’s head, you will recognize the ear position and the squinty eyes - dog trying to duck and protect its face from being hit. Add that to the fact that this dog is turning its head away from the person whose shadow you can briefly see in this GIF, the mouth stretched back in a grimace, and the licking of the lips, and this is a VERY nervous dog right here. If it looks super-friendly, it’s because this dog is trying to make an appeasing gesture to avoid a confrontation.


  1. Lots of the images posted online of "cute" behavior makes me a little ill. This poor dog.

    The ones I find particularly rough usually include kids with dogs.

    Dogs sure put up with a lot.

    1. Yeah some of the ones with kids... oh man my parents would have NEVER let me do some of that stuff.

  2. Yep, I'm with you and Pamela on this one. A lot of things circulating the internet that are supposed to be funny/cute dog behaviour are actually extreme examples of stress, anxiety, insecurity, and fear. It's frustrating, for sure. Goes to show how very little the general public knows about canine communication.
    But I do appreciate you taking the opportunity to point it out and try to educate people - that's the only way we can fix it!