I think I have covered most of Shiva’s Shiva-isms by now. From her fearful avoidance of puddles to her crazy, crooked ears. There is one thing she has always done, however, that I haven’t talked about much. Probably because I am not really sure why she does it.
When being pet, Shiva has this weird habit of throwing a leg or a paw over the petter’s arm. You may think it’s simply cute but it’s not always a light touch. She lays it on a person quite heavily and has been known to dig her nails right in. Which usually makes me stop petting her and lower my arm while wincing in pain.
Originally, I wondered if this was her purpose. That maybe she puts up her leg because she doesn’t want to be touched. If true, this is inconsistent with the rest of her behaviour, and her mannerisms in general. As soon as I lower my arm and cry oufor mercy, she will start licking my hand to get me to resume petting. When Shiva doesn’t want pets, she is pretty good at ducking out of the way or squirming from under my hands. She is confident enough to just walk away when uninterested. Sometimes she’ll just give me a look like I am embarrassing her, such as anytime I try to show affection outside of the house.
“Not now! Ugh. Other dogs are watching. Jeez!”
She doesn’t do the leg thing with everyone who pets her either. Mostly just family or others she really trusts. I’ve only seen her sling her leg over three arms that weren’t either mine or my PH’s. Apparently if she leaves welts in your skin, it means you’re in with the Shivster.
Those aren’t painful scratches. They are scars of love.
Do other dogs do this? I really only have my childhood dog to go by and she was an incredibly independent husky. (I know, an independent husky, fanciers of the breed are stunned.) Shiva is the only dog I have been around for any length of time that regularly solicits physical affection. Maybe this behaviour is normal and I am just over thinking it. (I know, me over thinking things, family members of mine are stunned.) It’s just another thing that makes Shiva a Shiva, I guess.
Do your dogs have any odd quirks that you don’t understand?