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Slow Motion Chewing When Getting Petted


Guest cwholsin
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Guest cwholsin

Nash, our super sensitive boy, does this slow motion 'chewing' thing when he's getting petted. He frequently tucks his tail when encountering new things, and shows other stress signs so we know he's a very sensitive guy. My question is: is this slow motion chewing thing just submissive behavoir or is it also a sign of stress? He has other submissive behaviors in addition to this like exposing his belly when we pet his body.

 

I haven't been able to find a dissection of this particular behavior ( his tongue stays in his mouth, so it's not lip licking which is definitely a sign of stress) in behavior books and online. Sometimes he does seem pretty uncomfortable when he's doing the mouth thing and getting petted, but sometimes he doesn't seem stressed and does this behavior almost every time we pet him.

 

Secondly, what would you guys suggest to help Nash build confidence? He prefers to react fearfully when encountering new things, sensations, etc. and I'd like to help counter his insecurities. I'm access training him, which seems to have a positive impact on him in that he's very attentive and seems more relaxed after we do training exercises out and about.

 

Thanks for the input!

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I would interpret "chewing" when being petted as a worry. He is likely insecure I think, and shy.

 

Ryder also had low confidence when we got him. We tried to expose him to everything under the sun to get acclimatized. I first took him to an obedience class to get him used to sights, smells, different people, different dogs, in a controlled environment - not like a dog park. IMO this helped immensely with his progress. The class was also the "basics" to agility....so he was exposed to tunnels, hoops, etc. The greatest confidence builder for him was to go through a tunnel.....we simulated this at home using chairs lined up and a blanket covering the top, which he was encouraged to go through from one end to the other. As he became more accustomed to it, we would lower the blanket so he would end up touching it with his back as he would go through.

 

That is my bit of experience. I'd say start with things like that. Ryder was also very fearful outside with loud bangs and it is quite the thing for him to learn not to be scared. Still to this day he is terrified of roofers and their air guns, terrified at home if we use an air compressor. I do try, if I have time, to hang around the source of the noise that bothers him instead of avoid them, even a flapping tarp on a road for construction scares him....I just continue to walk by it over and over again and he learns to not be afraid of it due to the exposure and realizing nothing is gonna happen to him. Praise and reward for these situations are paramount.

 

Good luck!

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10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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Guest cwholsin

I'm leaning towards a submissive behavior from observing him today.

 

Something startled him and he got up from his bed and came over to me. I stroked his head for a minute and got no 'chewing' response, so I put my chin on his neck for a quick hug and the chewing thing started. When I lifted my head, he continued for a few seconds and stopped again. He didn't have his tail clamped, his face wasn't tensed and he did come over and initiate rubbies. It would seem he tells us frequently that we're the boss. The funny thing is that Nash is more dominant than Hermes, who is much less nervous.

 

It's fascinating to see how they interact. Hermes gets a particular look in his eye when Nash comes over to sniff him or get in his space.

 

Dog language is so cool :)

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