The definition of “submissive”
#1
I had a brand new realization tonight. Here is the scenario:

We are back in Myrtle Beach for the weekend, Ember and I. When I pulled up and parked at my brothers home, I got out and stood by Embers door. I had to wait several seconds to open it as cars were passing by and she always diverts for the open space of the road when jumping out. Usually this isn’t  problem but when’s we travel she is much quicker to dart out of the car. We have been working on a stay command when exiting but she’s is usually too anxious when traveling  to care. 

Tonight was no exception and she slipped out as I was opening the door. Mean less to say I screamed her name in the most scared manner (I really wasn’t expecting her to be that fast as she never squeezes past anything - ever!). 

She turned on a dime and literally army crawled back to me. She lay facing me, tail going ninety miles a minute. Squinting and grinning. 

This is very different from the avoidance behavior I usually get. 2 thoughts hit me at once.

1) OMG I have THAT power over my dog! ( and the subsequent “I never want to use it again” feeling that came with it)

2) She actually wanted to make amends! The dog who only cared about self preservation for 2 years finally showed a sign that what I think of her matters to her! It almost made me cry. The closest I’ve ever gotten to seeing this is the “obedient to a fault” behavior I get when trying to play or train her. 

And suddenly I understood true submissiveness. Not avoidance, not “I’ll make you happy so you’ll leave me alone”. It is a true partnership where she is willing to play a role FOR ME and for no other reason. 

Embers normal disposition is “please don’t hurt me - I’ll lwave you alone if you leave me alone”. Tonight, she clearly asked “what can I do to make it up to you?”  And it shocked me to the core. 

Disclaimer. Up until tonight me being in the doorway of the car is enough to body block her so I can grab her leash before getting out. I’ve always had some form of control over her when getting out of the car but have been trying to work on helping her make the right choices so I don’t have to control her. Tonight she completely didn’t but care and squeezed through the smallest openings. Turns out she just had to pee really bad.
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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#2
She was saying "Oops. My bad." At least, that's how I have taken it when I've seen mine do the same, and under the same circumstance too. They only have ever done it when they pushed past me in a way that they really knew they shouldn't have. And they've only done it when they heard the panic in my voice. I think they understand they did a boo-boo and scared the pee out of us.
Gotta love 'em.
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#3
It really highlights the sensitivity of the dog doesn't it ! In that instant fear for our dogs wellbeing our voice, body language and instant release of different body chemistry sends a very different message than to a voice raised in anger, frustration or trying to be firm voiced. I wonder if it is perhaps a very primal reaction maybe similar to how wild animals respond to their parents in "danger" situations. An instinctual thing perhaps once they receive the messages. "To mum, attention, what next".

Max is awesome with "not" doing this sort of thing. I can release his car harness and he will wait and wait to be verbally released from the car no matter what is going on. Jasper on the other hand is absolutely hopeless and we are STILL training to wait until told to leave the car. Poor Max just sits there patiently waiting while we go through the whole training procedure every single time with Jasper. He is so good with "wait" in every other situation but getting out of the car HOPELESS ! Funny thing is, Max doesn't like the car and of the two I would understand him being in a hurry to get out. Jasper loves the car, he is just a butt head in a hurry for everything.
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#4
Trifan, I think you are correct in that a dog can sense fear in us.  I have had a couple of "Oh, you stupid dog" moments when one of my pups decides to ignore me and I am very annoyed but there is no danger.  One time I had both my collies at the park and for some reason Mattie decided to wander (she never does this) and ran off.  I called in a happy way, called in an annoyed way and she didn't listen.  I put Tasha in the car and drove to where Mattie was happily exploring and sniffing and opened the passenger door and said, "Excuse Me! Get in the car!"  and she jumped happily into the car.  Compare that to the time I was in the garage and found a huge scorpion and my silly cat decided to chase it under the car and I was in a panic and opened the door to the house and screamed at my daughter to help.  Both Mattie and Tasha came running to me.  I think they could hear the panic in my voice.  

(10-27-2017, 10:40 PM)Ember Wrote: She turned on a dime and literally army crawled back to me. She lay facing me, tail going ninety miles a minute. Squinting and grinning. 

This is very different from the avoidance behavior I usually get. 2 thoughts hit me at once.

1) OMG I have THAT power over my dog! ( and the subsequent “I never want to use it again” feeling that came with it)

2) She actually wanted to make amends! The dog who only cared about self preservation for 2 years finally showed a sign that what I think of her matters to her! It almost made me cry. The closest I’ve ever gotten to seeing this is the “obedient to a fault” behavior I get when trying to play or train her. 

And suddenly I understood true submissiveness. Not avoidance, not “I’ll make you happy so you’ll leave me alone”. It is a true partnership where she is willing to play a role FOR ME and for no other reason. 
This reminded me of a DVD I have from a GSD trainer.  At one point the trainer has an eight month old puppy and asks her for a down and at the same time yanks on the leash (pup has a choke chain on) so hard that is makes her cry out.  It is so unfair because he doesn't give this sweet dog even half a second to obey his command.  I don't want my dogs to obey me because they know I will hurt them if they don't obey.  I want them to obey because we have built a relationship of trust.  And I wouldn't worry about the power you have over Ember.  You used that power out of fear, not anger. 

And isn't it great that she didn't turn into a puddle of mush?  When I first got Mattie if I would raise my voice ever so slightly at the other dogs or give them a firm "no" she would run and hide.  Now she runs up to me to make sure I'm not upset with her.
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#5
It's almost like Ember has almost finished unpacking most of the baggage she carried when she came to you. She seems to have made quite a few breakthroughs since your move. I guess that along with all the amazing effort you put into her she has also gone through a lot "with" you during the move and that's gotta build trust and confidence in the relationship. She seems to be blooming like a flower. Stay tuned folks while the real Ember dares to unfold.
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#6
She's something else, I tell you. And her rebound time is near 0 now. So we have triggers and set-offs, but almost instantly she's back and trying to get my attention. She actually got increasingly upset with me because I had her in my brother's room while a 20-something person party was happening in the living room (of a 1 bedroom apartment that hadn't held more than 8 people until that night). I was doing it for her sanity but she was NOT happy until she got to come out, make a few rounds, greet everyone, then crash beside me. It took her almost a half hour to decide she was ready to go back into the room and that only lasted about 10 minutes before she was out again at my side, even with one person making her yelp because they reached for her. Thankfully (and especially after that encounter) most people knew to just leave her alone, and she literally flittered from person to person with inspection of each.

More on that coming though, I have 2 more threads to create after this weekend. This dog though, is very different, and it seems like she changes every day now. TMM She did use to run and hide if I so much as started moving around, let alone if voice became involved too, no matter the pitch or volume.

This was also the first time in a while I didn't employ our car harness, so it really was mostly my fault. She's just never really been bad about trying to leave the car that fast and I didn't have the time to get her set up and get on the road (some important pieces had gone missing). I know what I'm going to track back down now!
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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