The behaviour interpretation thread

    • Gold Top Dog

    It may be a little too long and the quality is not that good which I don't understand.

    • Gold Top Dog

    That was really interesting. I wouldn't want to be your neighbor! LOL

    The reason the quality is bad is because when you upload it to any free host, they compress it to take up less space. I hate that.

    The black Dane seems a bit insecure. Might be lower ranking in the pack. Seemed like he was uncomfortable with the 2 playing but started to go into a play bow at one point. I did notice that his tail was wagging to his right side most of the time, which (supposedly) indicates he's communicating with dogs he knows (according to one of those Dog shows on National Geographic).

    The 2 playing seemed quite comfortable with each other. The "spotted" one actually reminded me of how my alpha dog acts when she's playing.

    When the Aussie-looking dog started moving a lot, Drizzle exploded onto the scene in a dominant manner. Drizzle seems quite dominant.  

    If I had to guess, I'd say that of the 4 active dogs in the video, the spotted one was alpha and the Aussie was omega with  the Danes in between.

    But it's HARD to know what's going on with unfamiliar dogs. Interesting, though. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts on it . 

    • Gold Top Dog

    Corvus- I don't have anything to say about your vid except that Penny is super cute Smile.

    DPU- there's a lot of stuff happening in your video- it looks like Marvin initiates play with Lexi (? the collie?), who was initially interacting with Petro- then Petro wants to join in, but just stands off to the side and barks while they're playing. I get the impression that he's trying to get Marvin's attention.  It's interesting that Marvin does an obvious yawn while he's on his back (calming signal?) about 55 seconds into it, which I'm pretty sure was directed at Petro.

    When Drizzle steps in and breaks up the play, it looks to me like she's asserting her dominance by standing over Lexi.  I think it's cute how Marvin comes over and tries to protect Lexi, who looks quite overwhelmed, and anxious (tail down, ears back). You can just about isolate the breaking point (when the play becomes too much)- I think it's when Marvin gets Lexi on the ground and she rolls over onto her back (at about 2:45). When all three of them start trying to wrestle with Lexi, I think I see her air-snap- I'm not quite sure. It looks to me like none of them are behaving "aggressively"- just 3 on 1 isn't really fair play. Also I think its interesting how  at the very end you can see Lexi trying to appease Drizzle by licking her mouth

    I'm glad you posted that video, DPU- I see Pocket behave very similarly, and similar interactions occuring between Basil, Pocket and other dogs when I take them to the dog park.

    Here's my vid of a similar dynamic...

    Pocket, Basil, Bella 


    • Gold Top Dog

    Vinia, Pocket's behaviour does seem quite similar to Petro's. I think it's interesting that Petro seems to gain confidence when Blizzard comes onto the scene, and basically tries to force Lexi to play even though she looks like she doesn't want to anymore (ears down, head low, tail low). I see with Pocket that just when I was predicting a petulant "Hey, play with ME" bark, Pocket didn't deliver. First she had a bit of a break and caught her breath, then she got in there and tried to take control of the play session from Basil. Pocket's behaviour seemed less insecure than Petro's to me, by the way Pocket was getting in there and playing whereas Petro was looking like she wanted to play, but skittered away from it until Blizzard was there to boost her confidence.

    And Bella is so cute I want to eat her all up. My partner has expressed a desire to get a bulldog specifically for poking. He says he'd sit in his big chair and say "Bring me my poking dog!" and someone would scurry in with a bulldog on a red velvet cushion (somehow) and hold it out for him to poke. Possibly with a pipe. That he would buy specifically for poking the poking dog as he doesn't smoke. 

    DPU, I had a whole post written out about your video, but then the internets eated it. It's late, so I'll come back to that one tomorrow. 

    • Gold Top Dog

    I watched it again this morning and now I need to get to work, so I can't get in depth. Marvin initiated the play. First with Petro, who wasn't that interested, then with Lexi (?), who returned play. Then Marvin upped the ante, playing a little harder and the Lexi returned fire, which aroused the ire of Drizzle. Petro follows Drizzle. And the 2 GDs decide to protect Marvin, the instigator, by ganging up on Lexi. That was my take on it this morning.

    And I could be wrong.

    • Gold Top Dog

    I like the interpretations and I will let you know some of their defined relationships.

    Petro is a very happy dog and lives to play.  He is meeter and greeter for any new foster that comes here.  He will always put the new dog at ease with play. 

    Marvin came here over a year and he definitely did not like males.  He did not fight but was aggressive toward Petro.  I got the aggression toned down but what Marvin started doing was herding Petro to the outer edges of the yard.  Marvin has since eased up on Petro and only interfer with Petro's play with other dogs, especially the female dogs.  Marvin loves female dogs and does not want Petro to play with them.  Marvin allows Molson to play   Now Paganinii is not shown in the video but the dynamics change when Lexi is removed and Paganini joins the group.  Paganini plays really rough, too rough for Marvin.  Petro loves playing with Paganini because, well, she really can't reach him and does not hurt him.  Marvin does not interfer with this play.  In the video Marvin is definitely protecting Lexi, going in between Drizzle and Lexi and also keeping Petro away.  What I did not understand was why it was Marvin that brought Lexi to the ground.  That surprised me. 

    Molson has no interest in what is going on in the yard.  He is off camera rolling on the ground getting a back scratch.

    Drizzle is coming out of a depression because of the passing of her littermate Blizzard.  Some of her behavior is new to me.  The entire pack behavior is new to me because a major member of the pack is not there.  What was very pronounce to me about Drizzle is how she interpretted what was going between Marvin and Lexi.  Drizzle was not paying attention to them until their activity increased and I think she saw it as aggression toward an established pack member.  She disciplined Lexi by standing over her and then tried to roll her by taking her big old head and slam it again Lexi's neck.  When Lexi was rolled, Drizzle started stomping on her with front paws.  Then Drizzle administered what like a bite.  But it was not a bite but a heavy nose nudge into Lexi's neck.  At the end of that video Lexi continuously licked Drizzle's mouth. 

    Lexi is new to the group and she definitely started off by being dominant to the other dogs.  She had dog fights with both Molson and Marvin.  Marvin was absolutely crushed by this.  When Drizzle or any other would come by me, Lexi would body block the dogs and lick and nip their cheeks.  She does not do that any more with Drizzle but continues to do that with only Molson.

    I also think that the group has not learned Lexi's body language yet.  A lot of her behavior is new to the group and they look at her in puzzlement.

    • Gold Top Dog

    It is funny because just before I took that video, Pocket had just severely disciplined Bella for being "rude" (by her standards)- Bella is a well-meaning but rather obnoxious teenager, and Pocket has a very low tolerance with her, especially when it comes to space. Pocket got a reprimand and time out for being mean, and you can see the result of that- throughout the video, you can see Pocket checking in with me just to make sure she's not going to get into trouble.

     I totally agree that Bella is cute! I'm generally not a fan of bulldogs, but she's got spunk.  Tell your boy that I totally agree that you need a pipe when poking bulldogs on velvet cushions- it wouldn't seem right otherwise lol.

    ETA- DPU, just out of interest, who is the dominant one of the group there? Is it Drizzle?




    • Gold Top Dog

    With the exception of Petro, all exhibit dominant behavior from time to time. 

    • Gold Top Dog

    Hmm, interesting. I wouldn't have picked Marvin's role in the pack. In this video, I would have said he wasn't bothered by much of what the other dogs did. It seems like when he comes to Lexi's rescue, it's almost coincidental. I guess it reminded me of Jill. She gets in there in a similar way, but she wouldn't know what was going on between the dogs and would just want to be in the middle of any kind of activity. It has to be blindingly obvious that a dog fight is about to erupt to get her to think of anything other than play. Is it possible that him rolling Lexi was almost like waving his butt in Petro's face? Kind of like a "My game, my playmate, not yours." thing?

    When I see the way Blizzard comes in, I'm not sure if she sees the playing as aggression or just that she doesn't want that level of arousal around her. Sometimes Penny gets like that. I don't think she sees aggression in the play, I think she just doesn't like the level of arousal. Possibly she doesn't want them running around unpredictably, paying little attention to where they're running.

    I think it's interesting that the dominant display Blizzard does where she sticks her chest out and tilts her head down slightly while looming over Lexi is something I've seen Penny do. Penny obviously does not have the height advantage that Blizzard does. Nonetheless, I've seen her doing that to Jill. Or Jill's front leg. I guess she just does it from slightly further away rather than using her body size the way Blizzard does. Jill seems to take it the same way as Lexi. Often Jill will lie down and Penny will come up closer in the same pose, and then they'll start to play. 

    I did think Petro seemed more confident when Blizzard was on the scene. Did I say that already?

    Vinia, we're not fussed much about bulldogs, either, but they are just ever so pokable. There are lots of Aussie Bulldogs around here that are not quite as exaggerrated but still deliciously chunky. So cute, but no interest in really owning one. Smile They're usually pretty sweet-natured, though. 

    • Gold Top Dog


    Hmm, interesting. I wouldn't have picked Marvin's role in the pack. In this video, I would have said he wasn't bothered by much of what the other dogs did. It seems like when he comes to Lexi's rescue, it's almost coincidental.

    No, this is Marvin's normal behavior.  He seems to always interrupts play when a female dog is involved.  I think Marvin switched when he rolled Lexi.  He went from "resource guarding" (or coming to Lexi rescue because of genuine affection) to joining in the activity of the pack and that is disciplining Lexi.  I have never seen Marvin roll a female.  Notice how Marvin treats Petro (male) versus Drizzle (female).  He puts himself between Drizzle and Lexi but he is aggressive to Petro to drive Petro away.

    I think it is interesting that we actually see 'alpha rolling' and what looks like disciplining amongs dogs.  Others have said it does not exist.

    • Gold Top Dog

     Being technochallenged, I'm probably not going to be a firsthand participant here, unless someone wants to visit me and tape my dogs... but I just wanted to say that I agree with mudpuppy.  If you are going to be looking at dog behavior, don't be part of the action yourself.  Your input can change the dog's behavior.  I'd prefer to see vids of dogs behaving as they normally would as if the person and the camera weren't there.  That way, you are not influencing behavior.  Maybe some of you could get a friend to video as you interact with your dogs on a walk, or while training.  Or, just video your dogs running to the door when someone knocks, or playing with a toy, etc.  That way, you could also get an idea of the dog's behavior while you do interact, but the camera thing is less of a novel stimulus that might interfere with the behavior you wanted to evaluate.

    • Gold Top Dog


     Being technochallenged, I'm probably not going to be a firsthand participant here, unless someone wants to visit me and tape my dogs... but I just wanted to say that I agree with mudpuppy. 

    I believe I did that but yet you or Muddpuppy have not commented on the behavior in my video.  The video does appear to contradict many things you have said about dog behavior.  I admit that when Drizzle was getting too involve I did give her the COME command.  This interrupted her behavior but she went in a very round about way to come to me.  In another video, where she did appear to get too involved, the COME command worked.

    • Gold Top Dog

    I just got the chance to watch the video.

    Commenting on the alpha roll, I'm one of those people that mentioned something similar to what you have said before, with a caveat, and that was that I've never seen a stable dog physically roll another dog. I didn't (personally) say that it didn't happen, but that dogs who are adept at communicating with other dogs do not roll other dogs. And that none of my dogs have ever rolled another dog physically. There's a difference between those statements.

    In this case, (I don't know the dogs by name, sorry - it's the first video/pics I've seen except in your tag/tag line) I see a completely different context. So I'll describe how I saw the sequence of events.

    I didn't see any alpha rolls at all to be honest! I saw a "play take down", one very ritualistic form of play. By that I mean the dog you call the Roll-ER (Marvin I think), grabbed the roll-EE (Lexi?) by the neck, and moved forward slightly, but if you watch the momentum of the bodies Lexi voluntarily went down on her own - Marvin basically just followed her movements. This is a typical play behaviour. Lexi's movement to the ground was so fluid, it is clear (to me) that it was volunteered rather than forced. And after she was on the ground, play simply ensued. They continued mouthing each other (I call it the bitey-face game) and Marvin (I think, if that's the right dog) play bowed and jumped on Lexi before she got up. In fact the almost identical situation happened in reverse at about 1 minute 45 seconds - Lexi grabbed Marvin by the neck and Marvin flopped himself onto the ground, and they continued playing. To me that is considered a very ritualistic form of play - one dog offering to be the "underdog" one time, and then the other doing it the next time.

    The dark Dane - Petro? The dog that was outskirting the play session of the two dogs. The barking to me seemed like frustration barking - Petro wanted to play but was intimidated by Marvin always interfering. So he was "complaining" about it (also complaining about Because I also notice that Petro's barking is always directed squarely at Marvin. Petro, by his body language, is quite intimidated by Marvin, as he backs away every time Marvin glances at him, or approaches him. I did see Marvin chase Petro away as you described. Does Petro ever get the opportunity to play with the rest of the group with Marvin absent? It seems Petro feels quite inhibited in his ability to play when Marvin is around in this video, as Marvin will interfere (I would consider it a type of bullying behaviour on Marvin's behalf, but you did mention resource guarding so it makes more sense). I know you said he can play with Paganini, and Marvin doesn't interfere, but does ever get the opportunity to play with the others without Marvin for a bit?

    At 2:07 I am 90% sure that Drizzle was about to hump Lexi (which of course can be a matter of controlling a situation). I've seen that prototypical behaviour and stance (including the shift of weight and theb bounciness) so many times that it always sticks out *G*.  It didn't look to me like she observed aggression but that she was just getting in on the play, as increased movement is also indicitive of more exciting play, and the ho-hum play wasn't all that invigorating. At that time, she approaches from the side, considers humping but then doesn't do it. Her weight is constantly shifted backwards, and again at 2:17 there is another "almost hump" moment, several actually, and she stiffened up slightly when Petro came up, and barked at him to back off. I think Drizzle was also saying in this situation "This is my play buddy right now", followed by another almost hump. Poo Petro's getting the short end of the stick in this play session. But Drizzle's weight is almost always shifted backwards, and tail is relaxed and wagging slowly, ears relatively typical, in a very relaxed posture. Once again I notice that Drizzle's barking is directed only at Petro, not at all at Lexi, and when Petro leaves Drizzle stops barking altogether. I was actually surprised when you called Drizzle away, as the play seemed, based upon the 3 minute clip, very laid back and perfectly normal. Drizzle's bounciness and expression was not at all assertive to me, and I didn't see any disciplining going on but some sort of attempt at play, unless you were concerned with the foot boxing hurting Lexi simply by sheer weight.

    Thats how I interpretted it anyhow.

    • Gold Top Dog

     I wouldn't call it an alpha roll because it looks like Lexi goes down on her own. What I noticed in that bit is that Marvin gets between Petro and Lexi and then he's like WHAM, we're having SUCH a great time. It almost seems like it could have been a message to Petro as much as getting back into the action.

    I do think Blizzard is quite intense about the play and Lexi doesn't seem very comfortable. Just after Blizzard comes onto the scene, she stands over Lexi and Lexi holds her head down and her ears go a bit flat. But then, it still reminds me of Penny when she plays with Jill. That chest-justting and stiff legs and head high and tilted slighty towards the other dog are all ways that Penny seems to use to tell Jill she wants to play, but on her terms and Jill usually responds by lying down so Penny can reach her neck and face. Pity I don't see it often when I'm home. Penny doesn't often feel like playing with Jill.  

    • Gold Top Dog

    I have no problem with the owner being part of the video or recorded interaction. That's behaviour too, you know. It's harder to see what's going on, but not everyone has the luxury of having someone on hand to tape them talking to their dog. You can still see interesting things even when you are part of the interaction and you can't film yourself.