A dog with whale eye after he caught sight of himself in a mirror. This is a warning message to the dog in the mirror to stay away I might attack. It's also a sign that the dog is anxious and possibly fearful. Whale eye refers to the white part of the eye showing as in the photo below. Not easy to detect in all breeds because of the shape of their faces, so, you have took look for other signs that this dog may be stressed or fearful.
Dogs go through two stages of fear naturally, its part of their development. The first stage of fear happens between 5 and 7 weeks old and lasts for two weeks. Most dogs come through this stage without any problems at all. The next stage of fear happens between 5 and 8 months (depending on breed). This episode lasts for two months and normally subsides without any problems. This is all normal and may not even show up as fear in a dog. In the the fist stage of fear i.e 5 to 7 weeks the puppy is with its mother and siblings so nothing should go wrong there. In the second phase of fear at 5 to 7 months that is when things can, and do go wrong. During this stage most dogs are capable of pushing through this stage without any problems. Those dogs that are mistreated, handled badly, abused, neglected, trained badly etc will be fearful for the rest of their lives and will need special care. It is so important to know this and yet no such advice is ever given. Yes, people say at puppy stage 'you must socialise your dog' but normally that's it. There is a lot more to it than just socialisation.
Even the Bloodhounds of London couldn't find me today.
A Lady phoned me last night that has a 5 month old Bloodhound a dog that you don't hear about or see much anymore in the UK.. Still used for tracking by the police in the USA but on the endangered species list here in the UK. Her queries were that her dog at 5 months had become fearful of everything. As a young puppy her dog was well socialized with everything and everyone, even the postman came in and had a cuddle. Her puppy had never been attacked by another dog and had a nice solid start in life. So whats gone wrong now, the dog now hides from the friendly postman and is scared of parked vans and people with hivis jackets etc. Think about a baby who is passed around the family, people leaning over the pram saying hello lots of cuddles with the family etc. All very much like the young puppy all is great in the world for the baby and the puppy. A human baby will go from strength to strength and hopefully socialize well and live without fear of anything. Its in our genes, that is how we are. This is not the case for some dogs however, a dogs genes work differently to ours. At around 5 or 6 months survival kicks in to the dogs brain where everything is seen as a threat to the dogs life and for no apparent reason to us the dog develops fight or flight. This is where care needs to be taken in training. Trust is the most important thing between dog and owner. Get your dogs trust and the fears will disappear.
What can I do about off lead dog's in my reactive dog's face.
Be smarter when off lead dog's approach you and your dog and the owner is unaware of your situation. Most of you it seems, do a great job in this situation and cope well. However, there is never a cure all solution for this situation. What I mean by getting smarter is, when we end up with a reactive dog It is our responsibility to do what ever we can to help that dog, this means in all situations including unaware people and their off lead dog. I have found that if you politely ask the person to control their dog, then they will. I know you come across people that want to have a row about it and start getting abusive, in this case, say nothing broaden your shoulders and move on in the knowledge of knowing that you have won and you have left them standing there with their tongue flapping and their gums banging. Go home, relax and pat yourself on the back because you handled the situation really well and you won. Every situation you go through and win adds another smart tool to your box. You will come across a situation where a dog will follow you, you may have a method to deal with this difficult situation or you may not. Stay calm and firmly tell the other dog to go, you have to be very firm and very calm and I have found it is better to stand still too. There is only so much we can do, we have to accept the situation, we cannot control every dog and owner. Keep calm and polite and don't get involved in dialog with an abusive owner.