Trust and Tolerance

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 4:08pm PST 
When I posted Rigby's current main photo on another website, it was brought up many times that she was "so tolerant"

It got me thinking.

Both of my dogs, I could do just about anything to them and they wouldn't have any serious adverse reactions (such as snapping, growling, biting etc.)
Even when I first brought Rigby home and she obtained a rather nasty, painful wound, I was able to put ointment on, and dress the wound without Rig so much as raising a lip at me.
And Cobain, well, I'm nearly convinced he doesn't feel pain at this point...

This is sort of what I expect out of my personal dogs. I need to be able to do anything and everything without fear that they might adversely react.
With strangers, I would not have the same amount of trust with my dogs. Especially Rig because she does have issues with male strangers especially.

But I'm wondering, what are the tolerance levels and trust everyone else has with their individual dogs.

What are their reactions with uncomfortable situations you may put them through now (nail clipping, wound dressing, clothing, grooming etc. etc. etc.)? What about strangers?

Ideally, what is your preference in how a dog would react with you in these situations? With strangers?

Is there anything your dog expressly dislikes? How do they show it? How would you like them to react?

For those who have dogs that react in the preferred way, how did you obtain this response? Was it trained, or did the dog always have such a placid reaction?

For those who are currently working on a tolerance/trust issue, how are you working on it? Let's hear about your success so far!

I'm not going to post specific examples as I'd like to incite more of a conversational forum, and have others weigh in on their experiences with different situational contexts.

Edited by author Mon Jan 21, '13 4:11pm PST

Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 5:48pm PST 
Jackson is extremely tolerant. Of course he doesn't like some things but will tolerate whatever needs to be done. He will stand still while I pull thorns from his feet, let me carry him across hot concrete, stand in the shower and get washed. I can put ointment in his ears and put his winter coat on, put his gentle leader on (which he hates like poison) and take food from his mouth no problems. He gets a tragic look about him but that's about it.

The only thing he still not tolerate is bandanas! These get ripped off and spat out. laugh out loud I don't like my chances putting a hat or doggles on him either so I don't even try, lol.

With strangers, I don't think he would be so willing to play. He's a deeply suspicious character.

Edited by author Mon Jan 21, '13 5:50pm PST

Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 6:43pm PST 
Charlie is extremely trusting and tolerant of a lot of different things. Particularly when it comes to me. He KNOWS that if he's uncomfortable with something and gives me even the subtle signals, I'll immediately react by making that situation better in any way I can(example, if a child is harassing him to play and he doesn't want to anymore, he'll look away, walk away, sit on my feet, etc, and I'll immediately end that session of 'play' with that child and explain to the child why he needs a break).

Charlie STILL hates nail clipping.. If I do it, he'll lick me to show his discomfort, or simply try pulling his paws away, but for the most part, he's pretty good. The ONE and ONLY time I had a groomer do it, he attempted to bite her. Grooming, he loves it, his sweater, he loves it because he knows it keeps him warm. His booties, not so much, but he tolerates them and doesn't try to pull them off or anything - he just doesn't enjoy them being put on his paws. Once they're on, he could care less. He'll tolerate his Halti without issue and even my twelve year old sister can walk him with that on(supervised ONLY and only after I showed her how to properly and safely walk him on it). He trusts that if Ria is harassing him too much, I'll step in too and call an end to her antics. He knows that he can trust me in almost all situations.

One time, we were on a walk through a field and before we realized it, we were in a MASSIVE patch of thorns. Charlie's paws were getting pricked and I couldn't pick him up because of the steep hill we were on and an injury at the time, so I held his leash really close to his collar, and guided him very very slowly, around the thorny plants. Not only did he NOT pull at all, but he stayed RIGHT by my side, trusted me to guide him out and listened to everything I said. He'll go into situations that would have make him uncomfortable as a puppy when I first got him too. I can have him go across a wobbly bridge on a playground and he won't think twice about it and handles it with a wagging tail because he's just happy to be doing something with me. If he's in pain or gets hurt in any way, he'll seek me out to help him with it because if it's something like a pulled muscle(happens frequently when he jumps baby gates in my house), he knows I'll massage it out for him and help him get past it. He trusts me to pick him up, he trusts me to step in for him where needed, he trusts me with pain.. Most of all, he trusts me with his seizures. When he starts going into a seizure, he's almost always next to me(coincidence, he's just naturally a velcro dog), and if not, he'll try to get to me before it fully hits. As soon as he feels abnormal, can't keep his balance, etc, he seeks me out. And he alerts me to things too.

When my foster dog, Beau, had escaped my yard, Charlie, instead of following him(the hole Beau had created was LARGE enough for Charlie to have followed, easily), barked and barked until I came and got Beau back again. If I walk him at night and he spots someone he doesn't recognize, he'll growl under his breath and stay in front of me, unless I give him the okay that they're safe and welcome to be near us.

I want a dog to be able to tolerate things and trust me so well as Charlie does and can. But it took YEARS of us learning one another's body language, and gaining one another's trust to this level. It took a lot of consistency in me reading him properly and stepping in when needed, to be the best owner possible to keep him comfortable and safe in all situations.

He really dislikes his nails being trimmed, and will try to pull his paws away, will back away, will sit pretty to try to convince you that it's cruel, and will lick you constantly(instead of bite) to show you he's uncomfortable and doesn't like it. It can get frustrating at times, but with the help of my fiance and string cheese, it's been getting easier. Ideally, he would tolerate it better, but I understand his issues with it.

With Charlie, his reactions to situations were a combination of things - him learning I would step in when he needed me to, learning to read one another's body language, and he's naturally a very complacent dog. He was already very naturally complacent and tolerant of children. I just chose to step in when needed to prevent any issues from cropping up. You hear about dogs biting children all the time, or nipping at them - I don't want my dog to EVER feel he has to resort to that. I want my dogs to all know I will step in and settle a situation. With things like people/other dogs around his food, bones, toys, etc, it was a trained and conditioned response. He'll let me take anything from him, any child can, any adult can. Dogs, he'll allow to take any bone or toy from him, but will keep an eye on his food, so I've learned to keep other dogs away and keep him feeling he doesn't have to guard it. His tolerance and trust in situations like with that thorn patch were learned over time.

With the nail trim, I work on it weekly. I work on it with the help of my fiance and string cheese. The cheese comes if the nail clippers/dremel do, and the cheese goes away as soon as those stop and we make a big deal out of all of it. We also make a point of teaching him that 'touch' with the dremel and clippers = rewards. It's a slow going process, but we're working on it. smile


I love sitting- in laps
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 7:26pm PST 
Only having Moose for a year now and him still being a puppy basically, I can't say for absolute certainty, but from what I've seen thus far, Moose is very trusting and tolerant.

He allowed me to put a silly halloween costume on him and was pretty nonplus about it. Putting his birthday bandana on was a no big deal. Clipping his nails is pretty uneventful. Of course if I get too close to the quick on a nail, he pulls his foot back, but that's it. No growling or jumping up or any nervousness.

He's yet to get hurt, thank goodness, but I'm pretty sure I'd be able to tend to minor issues. The minor things I've had to check, he's super cool about.

My GSD was trusting and tolerant in most situations and I didn't think much of it, but when I got Mikey I realized how much I took that for granted. I feel blessed to have Moose's easy personality.
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 8:25pm PST 
I find myself trying to instigate some sort of reaction from both of my dogs because they get a bit lazy.laugh out loud

I want to play, but they're not having it. I'll shake their legs, mess with their jowls, shine their teeth, shake their tail...just about anything to try to get a rise out of them to instigate some play, but they just don't take to it most of the time. They just lay there completely unaffected by everything.

If you've ever messed with a puppy that is completely zonked out, then that's exactly how my 2 act just about all the time.

The only "issue" is Sanka does not like his tail being touched or grabbed. It's not that he'll give a bad reaction. He'll tolerate it if you persist, but he will pull away or sit on his tail if you touch it.

I too really prefer this from my personal dogs. But I've found that with a lot of the dogs that I've watched that they become much more tolerant after a good hike. Tried for days to cut a mat off of one dog's tail, but he was having no part of it. Went for a long walk, and he did not fuss at all when I cut the mat off after that. The owner was amazed that I was able to do that.

Lenny -The- Wrecking Ball
Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 11:20am PST 
Lenny is pretty tolerant, of my two the lesser just because he can be squirmy. But he's never shown any aggressive adverse reactions, just pulls away or squirms to remind me its not his favorite such as if I have to wipe his paws off or clean out his ears. But a little bit of massaging and he'll calm down and let me do what I need to and I try to give him some kind of reward after for putting up with me. The whole, "I'll make it worth your while." From strangers it's definitely limited, not that I would expect him to tolerate much from strangers anyways. I'm not really into letting people he or I don't know get in his personal space cause I know it can take him time to become comfortable.

Crash...I can do anything. Sanka he must be taking tips from your guys cause he'll just be out. You could do anything any the most he'd do is open an eye and seem to say "Is that necessary?" Not that I make a habit of bothering a sleeping dog mind you, but if I accidentally bumped him or needed him to move or when I'm bathing or wiping his paws he just stands there and waits patiently for it to be over. Indoors he has a very mellow/patient way about him. He's the same way to Lenny as well. With strangers Crash is the same, he loves kids doting on him at the pet store and doesn't mind anything anyone seems to do. It's like it doesn't even register lol

Edited by author Tue Jan 22, '13 11:22am PST


Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 11:24am PST 
JT - laugh out loud I can see how bandana's would be uncomfortable to wear! Come to think of it, I'm kinda surprised that so many dogs put up with them.

Charlie - I get that licking thing with Rigby!

Moose is just precious cloud 9 He definitely looks like he'd be pretty compliant with most things

Sanka - I find myself doing the same thing with my dogs. I get the eye roll from Cobain when I try to instigate him, but that's about it.
He isn't much of a fan of having his tail groomed either, but he does the same thing, just sits down.

Love all the stories, sounds like Dogster members have some pretty great dogs! smile
Alva BH

I ordered the- best dog for me- & got her
Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 12:45pm PST 
I have always wondered our cats. They allow people, or at least me, to handle them and I can clip their claws and they are as calm as a teddybear. What have my parents done right with them or have they been just lucky and got some pretty good cats. Or is there something in me? My sister told me she cannot clip her maine coon's claws and I did in five minutes with no scratches.

And now back to dogs.

I can trim Alva's claws and brush her. I can put medication into her eyes and clean her ears. I can check her teeth. And giving a pill? No problem! I can touch her paws and everywhere in her body. She hasn't had any wounds so I do not know how she would let me care them. I can bathe her and dry her with a towel. I can carry her.

There are many things she doesn't probably like because I never trained them, just did it. She allows me to do things because she has learned that is the quickest and easiest way out of them. When I brushed her the first time she tried to bite me. I told her no and continued brushing. She never tried that limit again. When I handle animals I do not hesitate or give up. But I do soothe by talking slowly and in a low tone and I try to keep the animal calm.

I don't know how far strangers could go with her. They can pet her or touch her gently. But no one has never done anything more so I do not know for sure. A vet can examine her when I am present and she is totally calm.

There is one thing I did train. She needed eye salve and I taught her to hold her head on my knees and rewarded her when I touched her eye lids. Then the administration of the salve was easy. I've also tried to give her treats when I wash her but that is difficult when I have only two hands.

I want to believe that she trusts me and leans on me in some level but I cannot help thinking that what if she allows me to handle her just because that is the only way she has been allowed to manage that situation. I am, though, pretty sure that if she ever gets an injury I can check it and give any medical care that is needed if I am not taking her to a vet.

I think I'll do a bit different with my next dog. I want that s/he finds my handling pleasant. S/he must also allow judges and veterinarians to touch her/him without any doubts of fear or displeasure and I don't mind if kids or other people want to pet her/him and the dog could actually enjoy it. (Alva likes to be petted by people she has been allowed to sniff.)

bitches love- pantaloons
Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 1:38pm PST 
Nicky's pretty finicky about his feet, and he usually has to be burrito wrapped with my mom holding him and me clipping. This past weekend I decided to try and clip his nails by myself. I got some cheese and sat on the couch and waited. When Nicky jumped up to join me, I picked a foot and would reward him with tiny bits of cheese when I could touch/grab that foot or touch the clippers to the foot without him retracting it. When I clipped a nail I gave him a "jackpot" of cheese. I did this with each foot. He was still finicky at times, and even got fed up and jumped off the couch a few times, but I would sit and wait and he would always come back. He wanted the cheese more than he wanted to not have his nails clipped! It took 2 hours to do all 4 feet including the dewclaws.

He was also pretty sensitive about his tail. I don't know if it got pulled or stepped on or what but when I first got him I could not touch his tail at all. Now I can grab it and even use it to prevent him from sitting down when I'm trying to trim his butt. I never did any conditioning with his tail like I did with the nails. It's like he woke up one day and realized we weren't trying to pull his tail off.

He can be very possessive with certain treats like his beloved bullysticks. I actually tether him whenever I give him one so he can't go under a chair and get himself cornered. That's another can of worms to work on another day. My disclaimer for what I did was very "Know Thy Dog." I don't recommend this with larger dogs, and Nicky, although possessive, has never bitten me in his rage so I felt comfortable doing this. Although this sounds similar to the nail trimming which I accomplished in 1 day, this was actually a much much slower process. First I would touch his body and his head and around his mouth and eventually the bullystick so he could see I'm not trying to be a threat. Then I would do drop it/trade. It was a bit of power of the wills at first as he would not let go of it for the life of him. I grabbed the other end of the bully stick and would just hold on until I felt his jaw slacken the slightest bit, click, and reward. Anyway, once he got an idea of "the game" he slowly became more and more willing to give me his bullystick. Now I can walk right up to him and he will let it fall right out of his mouth... this is while he is still tethered though.

Nick also has people issues and is hit or miss with dogs on leash. I made some training mistakes in the beginning which exacerbated the issue, but the important thing is that I came to my senses, stepped back and saw what I was doing and corrected the problem.. which was me! His progress really took off when I started using the clicker. He is pretty good out in public now but I still rely heavily on managing his environment. One thing he could never get a handle on was strangers petting him so I just dropped that one and I don't let the public pet him anymore. I tried feeding him while people pet him but you could tell he was still stressed, and it made him reactive to people approaching because he thought they were going to pet him.

Edited by author Tue Jan 22, '13 1:40pm PST


Why run when you- can hop??!!
Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 2:39pm PST 
What an interesting topic!

With Josh he has a fairly high tolerance, though he migh act a bit annoyed. He doesn't mind brushing from anyone but it is not his favorite thing. We also do our own grooming and even though he tries to get away & doesn't always sit still he will let us do basically whatever we need to do, and when we used to send him to a groomer they never had an issue. He does hate having his feet & toes bothered & nail trimming is a bother because he squirms and whines like crazy! I do think if someone kept pulling his toes & feet and would not listen to him after a few growls I do think he would snap. He has never done this to me but I never let it get that far.The only times he has ever tried to bite me was when he hurt himself & I tried to look at it. He has injured both of his front feet several times & he will let me look at it for a few seconds but he quickly becomes very upset & will grow and snap. So he kind of has the same tolerance with me as just about anyone, though his trust with me is very stronger.He has gotten very sick about 3 times in his life and everytime, when he is feeling the worst & right before he has diarrhea & throws up, he will wake me up in the middle of the night by jumping on top of me & hitting me in the face with his paw. I will admit the 1st time I just thought he wanted to sleep ontop of my head (used to happen a lot!) so I pushed him off the bedred face, but now I know better. Also whenever he is upset or scared I am the only person he wants & HE HAS TO be right next to me. On New Year's ever I wasn't home & a bunch of fireworks got set off & it terrified him, my mom texted me & said he had no idea what to do with himself and he kept looking for me and ended up hiding in between the pillows on my bed. Poor boy.

Murphy is much different. Both dogs are technically family dogs and while Josh is fine with whatever anyone in the fam does Murphy is the most tolerant with my mother & myself. He is a very anxoious dog who had some fear aggression when we first adopted him but he is now super comfortable with me. I can give him a bath, trim his nails, brush him, clean his ears, look at his teeth and groom him. I don't think he would let anyone else do most of those things, when we used to take him to the groomers they almost always had to muzzle him. He is still a bit possesive of his food & "high enticers" (meaty bones, kongs ect.), but he would let me me take his food bowl while he is eating. I can usually take a kong from him but with meaty bones not so much (which is why he does not get these anymore). While if anyone else were to do any of these he would for sure give a warning & try to get them away. And his warnings are just that, warnings. Deep growls and snaps. He is 10 years old and has never been injured before (*knocks on woods*) & I don't know how he would react. He is so relaxed around me that I could see him letting me check out a wound or something but I am sure not for very long. As far as trust goes, he is very trusting of me and it is something I am ver proud of in our relationship. Like I mentioned when we first got him he had many people issues, including trust. He thought everyone wanted to hurt him or take something away from him. He would get very nervous around people & was happiest when he was alone. Now he always seeks me out, he loves being where I am and if there is a chance he can snuggle up to me he will take it. He trusts me enough to get near him when he is eating & take away something he really likes without freaking out, which would have never happened before. And whenever he is stressed or upset I am his go to person.
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