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loggerboots

'work mode' and confidence/assertiveness boost

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So, I had a foster dog in the past few days, a little heeler mix and she was quite pushy with the resident dog (my BC, Emmie). She would take cheap shots at her and had my dog pretty much avoided crossing her path while in the house, acting a little intimidated by her.

 

When I took them out, though, things would change in a big way. My dog views games such as fetch or frisbee as work, and when we start a game, she immediately snaps into work mode. You know what I mean, that hyper focused, crouching, frozen in concentration but ready to explode off the line with a command.

 

While in this mode, my dog would basically completely not allow the heeler to participate at all. She would run her over, bull her out of the way and even give her a cheap shot herself if the heeler was bothering her while she was focused on me. These games would quickly had the heeler bowing out and refusing to try to participate, basically reversing the relationship they had indoors.

 

Now, both these dogs are good dogs, just a little snippy with each other, but there were no serious dust ups.

 

I just thought it was interesting how wary of the foster dog Emmie was in the house, but how she completely took control when she switched over to working mode. I've seen her lost her patience with dogs that wanted to play with her while she was in this mode, but it was interesting to see how the same dogs treated and reacted to each other so differently just based on the activity.

 

My theory is that her wariness in the house was actually due to the fact that I was correcting (verbally - stern voice) the heeler for nipping at Emmie and Emmie associated the presence of the heeler in the house with me changing to my harsh tone and scolding (Emmie reacts to any raised voice in her presence as if it were directed at her). Or, it could just be that she gets a big boost in confidence and adrenaline when she gets into this work mode.

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While in this mode, my dog would basically completely not allow the heeler to participate at all. She would run her over, bull her out of the way and even give her a cheap shot herself if the heeler was bothering her while she was focused on me. These games would quickly had the heeler bowing out and refusing to try to participate, basically reversing the relationship they had indoors.

 

I can't speak to your larger question about their "indoor relationship" but I can say that this ^^ sounds very familiar.

 

Once my dog is "clocked in" he's not interested in playing with other dogs, nor does he tolerate a pushy dog insisting that he pay attention to them. "Can't you see I've got work to do here!?!? Bugger off!!" Is pretty much his mindset.

 

Now, if other dogs are also chasing the ball that's perfectly fine. He doesn't seem to mind other dogs participating in the game. What he won't tolerate is another dog trying to play WITH him (like trying to chase or herd him) while he's in that mindset.

 

Or, it could just be that she gets a big boost in confidence and adrenaline when she gets into this work mode.

 

I would say that when my dog "clocks in" he goes into a very different (much more intense) mindset and it's almost an immediate transformation. It certainly seems to me that adrenaline is involved, but I do not know for sure.

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