Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wild Eyes

Seeing The Small Things

Chico's eyes are a beautiful amber color. His eyes remind me of rich honey, mysterious, deep and sweet.  His light colored eyes allow you to notice every dilation, flick, and stare that he does with his eyes.  Reading a dogs eyes can play a huge part in reading a dogs emotional state.  What your dogs eyes are telling you?  

Something I didn't initially notice upon adopting Chico was what his eyes were telling me.  The day we brought Chico home my brother met Chico.  Upon meeting Chico my brother told me Chico had "wild eyes".  I really wasn't sure what he meant, I thought that maybe it was the color in which made them wild.  Over time I learned more about these wild eyes and what they were telling me.

This weekend we were blessed to have my one year old niece, brother, sister in-law and my mom over for some holiday celebrating.  While sitting around having a midnight conversation when my brother said to me, "Chico doesn't have wild eyes anymore."  After he said that, I started thinking about it.  How could I have not noticed that Chico's eyes weren't wild with flickers, twitches and super fast dilations that told me he was filled with anxiety and fear anymore?  When did this change occur?

Chico's amber colored eyes

What Eyes Tell Us

Like humans, dogs can change the shape of their eyes depending on what they are feeling.  When a dog is fearful his eyes will often become larger and rounder than normal showing the whites.  This is often referred to as "whale eye".  When a dog's eyes are large and soft this makes his face look sad.  If a dog is feeling threatened it may stare directly into your eyes with his eyes fixed and rounded often with pupils dilated.  Have you ever seen a dog with hard eyes?  A stare that looks like he has the intent to do damage?  How often do you look your dog or other dogs directly in the face or eyes?  In the canine world this is considered rude.  If a dog is staring at you directly in the eye, you may consider this to be a threat.  Most people and their dogs have relationship that allows our dogs to overlook our rudeness of staring at him in the eyes out of love and tolerance.

Rue with happy eyes and a happy face

Chico with calm happy eyes and a smile to match

More Than What Meets The Eye

Although eyes can tell us a lot about what are dogs are feeling the entire face and body tell us more about what our dogs are feeling.  An open relaxed face with a the dogs open mouth, tail wagging tell us that our dogs are happy to see us and welcoming us.

The flicks and jumping actions of Chico's eyes that once showed the fear of movement and uncertainty of his surroundings are much calmer now.  I can honestly say that I didn't notice a change until Chico started taking L-Theanine (Anxitane).  I would venture to say this supplement has helped Chico calm and show a more settled Chico, who is learning how to face a once scary world with a cool, confident, sparkle in his eyes.  I'll be watching his eyes, face and body to tell me how he feeling as we continue in our journey.

Chico using his border collie stare to move sheep

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