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Bowpi met Bowdu’s inverse twin (sort of) at the dog park.

3 October 2011

This sweet female Shiba, Riley, seems like such a tiny red niblet in comparison to our oversized Bowdu. She probably even weighed less than Bowpi. And what really made her an “opposite Shiba” (to our experience) was that upon meeting the Two Bows, little Riley’s immediate response…


… was to pin her ears back, slink low to the ground, and expose her tummy.

Now, we know that “dominance” is a loaded term amongst dog people, but what about the term submissive? Just like the vast majority of dogs aren’t really trying to express dominance when we label their behaviors that way, many things that dogs do aren’t appropriately labeled as “submissive,” either. Yet, I look at a dog like Riley and the term immediately springs to my mind. She’s certainly trying to communicate something very clearly to the scary and threatening Basenji looming overhead!

Bowpi’s previous owner used that term to characterize her, and we have occasionally used it too, as a kind of shorthand for how she responds to challenge.

But then where does Bowpi stand in comparison to a dog like Riley? How do you describe that interaction between two “submissive” dogs?


Anyway, I guess Bowpi liked Riley’s crowd, because she was playbowing for the chi-mix “brother.” Sadly, he wasn’t interested in her invitation. Maybe next time!