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Jumping up can be a result of being nervous or uncertain. My dog jumps up if startled or unsure of a situation, most often when on leash or in a room where his 'flight' option is removed.
When walking Spirit, it sounds like he is stressed, not feeling very confident about what is going on. Tail between the legs, panting out of context, (has not been exercising or is not hot) and ears lowered are all stress signals. Can be caused by lack of confidence, fear or physical discomfort.
Thank you, i think this is exactly right, i really want him to enjoy walking with me, what can i do to help him?
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Thank you, i think this is exactly right, i really want him to enjoy walking with me, what can i do to help him?
Confidence building exercises can go a long ways to helping a dog feel more comfortable 'out there'. Training, practicing and rewarding basic obedience skills help the dog understand what is expected of him and build confidence. Teaching simple 'tricks', touch, shake a paw, weave (between your legs), anything the dog can easily succeed at, can help. Play is a great confidence builder and reward for a dog, fetch, find it, even hide and seek or tag. Each 'success' is a step in building more confidence in a dog.
 

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Pixie actually jumps when she is afraid of something and wants to go home. It is a bit her way of saying "get me away from here".

Of course that she also jumps when she is excited (still trying to stop that behavior when she greets my boyfriend), but somehow it is a different type of jump.

OutWest, about your yawning comment. Please correct me if I am wrong, but dogs also yawn by the sake of yawning right? Every morning after waking up Pixie gives a huge yawn! It is different from her stressed yawn. This one is a full open mouth with a sound that comes from really inside (if this means something...). It is like she is saying "aaaahhhhh I had a nice nap :D )
Well I'd like to know what Charliethree says, but I think you're right. My dogs do yawn just for yawning, like humans. And I thinks it sounds/looks a bit different than a stress yawn. I guess the thing is to know your dog really well and be tuned into different environments to interpret what things like yawns mean at any moment.
 

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Yes, dogs do yawn 'for the sake of yawning', but as you noticed it seems different - the dog will seem more relaxed over all and especially afterward. Know your dog, know what he looks like when he is relaxed and content, from there you can tell if your dog is stressed or not. Keep in mind that a little stress is not a 'bad' thing - after all learning is stressful to a degree and so is excitement.
 

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I miss my Buddy
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Confidence building exercises can go a long ways to helping a dog feel more comfortable 'out there'. Training, practicing and rewarding basic obedience skills help the dog understand what is expected of him and build confidence. Teaching simple 'tricks', touch, shake a paw, weave (between your legs), anything the dog can easily succeed at, can help. Play is a great confidence builder and reward for a dog, fetch, find it, even hide and seek or tag. Each 'success' is a step in building more confidence in a dog.
Thanks Charliethree for this useful info. How do you teach "touch"?
 

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Kristy
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How do you teach "touch"?

hold your hand out with your palm facing toward your dog. Place a tiny bit of a treat under our thumb and hold it against your palm with your thumb. When the dog goes for the treat, say "touch" the minute his nose hits your skin and release the treat. Keep practicing and you will eventually be able to stop using the treat, just make sure when you transition that he still gets a treat whenever he 'touches'. If his nose doesn't make contact with skin, no treat.
 

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Charlotte
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I ordered the two books recommended in this thread and they arrived Friday. Very interesting reading.
Jess likes to stay close to me but is not a cuddler. Yesterday morning I gave him a little hug. He did the " look away".
 

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Discussion Starter #28
I ordered the two books recommended in this thread and they arrived Friday. Very interesting reading.
Jess likes to stay close to me but is not a cuddler. Yesterday morning I gave him a little hug. He did the " look away".
Dogs are extremely tolerant of our social 'ineptness', there are a lot of things we do (and are acceptable in human interactions), that may make them feel uncomfortable with us- hugging (bending over top or putting our arms around them and restraining gently), head petting, eye contact can be perceived as a threat to a dog especially if it is from a stranger. But we can and should teach them that these behaviors from us are good things by pairing them with rewards, so that when they occur when encountering a stranger or a child (children love to hug dogs and almost always, it is human nature, make eye contact) they are less likely to respond negatively to that person.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
There are many great books out there once you start looking for them.

Feisty Fido - Help for the Leash Reactive Dog - Patricia B McConnell.
How Dogs Think - Stanley Coren
Dogs are from Neptune - Jean Donaldson.
The Other End of the Leash- Patricia B. McConnell
 
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