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Dogpages encourages owners to learn the skills to train their dogs with modern non-coercive methods and not to train with pain. Posts and advice given must reflect this policy.

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> Lip Smacking - Fear Or Aggression?
fionagw
post 5th Sep 2007, 7:39 pm
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Hattie is a 9 month old great dane. She was abandoned by her breeders in a boarding kennel at a very young age and came to us at 16 weeks. She lives with our other dane and a border terrier. She is great at home and most of the time when out. She is very nervous when encountering new people, places etc and wil tend to hide behind me when she is worried. She does have a bit of a problem with other dogs particularly if she and the other dog are on leads. At times of stress she lip smacks - opens and closes her mouth, teeth are not visible. She often lies or sits when she sees the other dog but may lunge when they are level with her or after they have gone past. There does not make any noise when doing this. She has a real problem with terriers (she was badly frightened by two who stuck their heads through a gate barking and snarling as we walked past) and spots them from a long way off. If the other owner is brave enough to let Hattie approach things are usually fine but many people are (understandably) very wary of a very big dog behaving oddly. I don't believe that Hattie is aggressive just very nervous but am worried I may be misreading the signs - particularly the lip smacking which can look a bit alarming!!!! How can I reassure Hattie that everything is ok? Would be very grateful for any information / advice.
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Katdog
post 5th Sep 2007, 7:57 pm
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Lip smacking is just a sign of stress, feeling uncomfortable in a situation. This can be accompanied by yawning and avoiding eye contact with the source i.e. dog. I wouldn't reassure hattie as that would be confirming that it is right for her to feel worried. Could you distract her with some food when you see a dog on approach and once past reward her with the food? How is she with dogs off lead? It could be that she feels threatened because she is being restricted by the lead.
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fionagw
post 5th Sep 2007, 8:14 pm
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Pretty good off lead although recall could be better!! Have tried distracting with food - sometimes works. Biggest problems are when the other dog barks or growls - particularly if the dog is very small.
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