Here`s another great article:
I have had my pup for two years. I got her from the shelter at a year old, before that she was a stray. We've worked through a ton of anxiety and behavioral issues. She is sweet and loves cuddles but is "reactive" when people ignore her body language when she asks for space.
For example, if I have friends over, she will happily trot around to get pet, roll on her back, and crawl into people's laps. But if someone she isn't besties with yet tries to hug her, she gets uncomfortable. She will look away and show the whites of her eyes. If they continue then she freezes. (This is what I mean by freezing https://www.silentconversations.com/freezing-or-stillness-dog-body-language/) If they still continue she jumps on them and barks in their face. (We keep the muzzle on in general so this is not dangerous)
Unfortunately most people don't notice these signals, and just see that a happy lolling dog barked aggressively suddenly. But I can read her pretty well. When she is doing her "look away" I can call her to me. But once she "freezes", if I call her, it puts her over threshold and she immediately starts jumping and barking.
What do I do if I don't catch it until she freezes? I only have a split second to act, so I need some solution that I can build into a reflex. Grab her, call her, some amazing magical new trick perhaps…. But everything I have tried just puts her over threshold. At this point its to late to talk to the person because I need to keep my attention on my pup. We have the same issue sometimes when socially inept off leash dogs sniff her without approaching politely, so I would love to have some routine I can control.
The flip side is, how can I ask people to respect my dog's boundaries? They are different for people she knows vs new people, so its confusing why she is ok wrestling with my best friend but doesn't want a hug from the new guy.
Thanks for your help!
Edit: also, I know dogs don't like hugs, its just an example… Other things are stepping over her when she is lying down, or trying to squeeze by her when shes doing something else
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