Belly up when greeting people - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Belly up when greeting people

My HWV baby is 3 months old. She likes to lie on the floor with her belly up and exposed when people say hi. She does this with my partner, my family and also any adult stranger she meets. The only person she doesn't do that with is me, the primary handler. When she greets me, she is just "with" me...if that makes sense.

I am curious as to whether this is a sign of submission/defending people invading her space or if she just REALLYYY enjoys her belly rubbed. She will roll over onto her back as soon as people give her one little pet. Or she'll approach and immediately drop to the floor, belly up. She sorta freezes while people rub her belly.

I just want to make 100% sure that my puppy is happy in these interactions and that they are not overwhelming her.

I'm also having trouble with people not asking to pet her. I mean, I don't blame them. She's cute as heck. But as we pass on leash, many strangers time it so when she passes by them, they reach out their hand to her level and GRAB her face. I absolutely cannot stand this, I think it's just so rude!!! It throws me off guard and breaks the engagement (something I'm working really hard on) I had with my dog. Anyone deal with this? Or am I just overreacting? So far she loves all people, she has never had one negative experience with humans. And I do not want that to change! It only takes one person to grab her the wrong way... Maybe I'm just an overprotective mom...?

Thank you for reading! <3
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 04:37 PM
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I've always thought random people should ask, before they pet your pup. And that is perfectly fine to say No, and just keep walking.
She's young, and it's very normal for them to roll over on their backs at that age. Most of them do it, with other dogs to when meeting. Then they start playing.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 10:52 PM
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They have their own language! Rolling over is a sign of submission and a way of saying "I mean you no harm!". It's self protective and it's a sign of (normal) anxiety meeting bigger stronger dogs with more status and seniority. That she doesn't do it with you indicates she feels safe with you.

In dog lingo, the response to that is to wag or show approval so the pup realizes there is nothing to fear and they are accepted. Strangers touching or rubbing her belly..although perfectly understandable how irresistible that is to us...can actually be experienced as very hostile...a touch on vulnerable parts in a display of submission can be misinterpreted by her as aggressive on our part and actually foster the submission and anxiety. Allowing strangers to pet your puppy with permission is good socialization for them, but allowing them to respond to a submissive gesture with one that translates to something much different isn't necessarily so good.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Gingerling, you articulated what I suspected was happening when strangers pet her belly. Now that I think of it, she might be displaying signs of being defensive. The body freezing, the whale eyes, I swear she licks her lips as well. Is this a problem with lack of socialization or just age?

What should I do when she goes into this submissive position with...basically everyone? Should I perceive it as her telling me, "I'm uncomfortable with the situation"?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 10:04 AM
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First, I need to see a pic. I fell in love with the breed 25+ yrs ago when WHV were largely unheard of, and since then have simply fallen in love with them, their appearance is so consistent with their true personalities.

Anyways, socialization is a work in progress, but instinct is baked in at birth. We could say that what makes them "Domesticated" (or perhaps, "Trained") is the emphasis on "Socialization", which counters instinct. The more any dog is socialized to it's human environment (including the environment with other dogs), the less "Instinctual" their responses are, which is most often a good thing. As a pup, it's balanced much more towards "Instinct", more out of survival. So, the behaviors you describe when she rolls over are pure instinct. The goal is to help her manage that and learn more thru socialization. When she rolls over for humans, I'd bend down to her level, and gently give her the "OK!" signal so she hears from her trusted person that there's nothing to fear.

Of course, when she does this at home and is just hangin' out and being relaxed, you can indulge the urge to rub or of the advantages of being that trusted person!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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This is my baby, my first V (smooth or wire). Her name is Monsie. Although she came home less than 2 months ago, I already can't imagine my life without her. Actually, I don't really remember what life was like before her, haha. We are attached at the hip. She is my confidante and she depends on me like I depend on her. I could gush about her for ages, but here she is. Her personality is very sweet, gentle, extremely intuitive.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 09:24 AM
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awwww....look at that face! Yes, Vizsla people know the true definition of life.
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