Saturday, June 14, 2014

Carolina Dog Behavior - Open Forum!

Of all the behaviors I've read about in Carolinas, there is one Penelope exhibits I've never seen discussed, so I wanted to put it down here - and open the floor to any comments from others, about Carolina Dogs they've known, and whether they've seen this.

Regular readers, of course, know about my dog's unique ur-breed - and probably more about her habits than is interesting.  She does the snout-holes, has the wary attitude, the incredible physical power and energy that come with her breed.  She's a perfect Yella Dog in her coloring.  She has that wonderfully fun fishhook tail (which she will thank you NOT to play with, apart from getting the leash in its circle while out on a walk).

She also has a particular behavior I've never seen before, but which speaks to me of some sort of protective instinct.

If I am sitting or lying on a piece of furniture, and one of my feet happens not to be on the floor, but in midair - if my legs are crossed, or I'm on the bed with a foot hanging off - she positions her body to cover it.

She is very particular about how this is done - she must place herself so that my foot is under her lower belly, between her haunches.  She doesn't want my foot in her genital area, but just having my foot under the tuck of her belly, not surrounded by her limbs, is not quite good enough.

If it weren't for the "low" position she seems to go for - and she will go as far as *lifting* one of her legs, to get her body in the right position over my foot - I might mistake it for some sort of maternal drive, a nursing posture.  But she seems pretty urgent to get the midair-foot rather surrounded by her body.

She herself, in physical affection, and on the odd moment she expresses nervousness physically, does like to surround her own head in my body.  I can encompass her with my arms, but she likes to have my head or my body *over* her as well.  She's the only dog I've ever lived with who seeks greeting with me wherein I don't just bend over her body to pet her, but actually bend over her, and wrap my arms around her belly, so her entire torso is surrounded by me.  And, in this position, her head is not so far from where she tries to get my foot, when she's "protecting" it.

Nothing about this looks like a mating behavior of any kind to me, either.

"Your head's under a chair arm, did you know that, Dog?"

I wonder whether anyone else who has or knows or has studied the Yellow Dog/Dixie Dingo/Carolina Dog has seen this behavior.  I personally have never seen exactly this positioning in any other dog I know, but if other dogs do it, I'd be interested to know how they manifest it.

Pen can be so particular about her positioning when she does this, it gets quite comical.  Particularly when she's lifting one leg to get it JUST right.  Bless her canine soul.

This definitely appears to me some sort of drive, and instinctual, rather than just a peculiar way she and I individually behave together.  Her urgency is just too specific, and apart from my own instinct to greet her in that arms-around-her-belly way I found myself doing with her from puppy-hood for no reasons I even understood, I don't know that she *learned* this in response to anything.  It's just too strong and clear a quirk.

Anyway - anyone's thoughts on this would be most interesting!  Comments welcome, no matter how old this post is when anyone finds it.  Thank you!


Tanya Maples said...

My Carolina dog does that! the lower belly right over my foot. My bf and I always found it weird. I used to lift her up off the ground when she did it..then we stopped as not to encourage the behavior but it's not really a bad thing just different I guess...

Tanya Maples said...

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DLM said...

Just did, and thank you for the comment! Your Carolina is just adorable. I just took a vid of Penelope in the snow, hoping to post it later. Shoveling this mess stinks, BUT I've gotten some cardio doing it - and Penelope got some fun time thinking "THE GROUND IS ALL WEIRD!"