Kuiper sits in the mud.
We stopped by the @woodenshoefarm Tulip Festival yesterday after Kuiper’s first (amateur) whippet oval race meet. 🏁 I got some really great pictures of Kuiper in the tulip fields. He rocked his sit stay, even though it was muddy. However, when I started getting pictures like this, I knew it was time to take a break and consider whether to head home. Hunching like this is pretty obvious, but dog body language is often much more subtle.
Here are some smaller signs your dog may need a break:
🌸 Yawning. This often means that your dog is slightly uncomfortable about something, rather than that they are tired.
🌸 Licking their lips or their nose.
🌸 Side eye. This is also called “whale eye,” i.e. your dog turns their head slightly but is still looking at you, and you can see the whites of their eye.
🌸 Turning their head away entirely.
🌸 Ignoring you and sniffing the ground (like every item on this list, this is context dependent.)
🌸 Lifting a front paw off the ground.
🌸 Moving really slowly.
🌸 Refusing to eat treats.
In Dogspeak, these can all be very polite ways of saying, “This is maybe not my favorite thing right now,” “I’m not entirely sure about this,” or “I really want to do the thing for you but it is kind of hard for me right now.” If your dog tells you this, it doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong! It means that your dog trusts you enough to politely communicate (useful!) information about how they are feeling.
In this case, I decided to snap a few more pictures of Kuiper and then head home. Since we live just an hour from the farm, we can come back later this week if we want. Other options could have included giving him a potty or a sniff break, practicing some easy tricks, letting him rest on a mat for a few minutes, or machine gunning treats into his mouth between shots. 🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀
If we’re somewhere we can’t easily come back to, I’m not above bribery or even the occasional desperate pleading. 😂 But I try to avoid that whenever possible. At the end of the day, Kuiper doesn’t ask to do sit-stays in the mud for the Gram, so I try to make photo shoots a good experience for him.
Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwSmKDph53C/