WHY YOUR TURKEY DOG MAY NOT BE STARVED FOR AFFECTION

Chances are your "Turkey Dog" spent time on his own on the street or in the wilderness. In either scenario a human approaching typically was not good news. In the Turkish culture 'street dogs' are not valued nor thought of as needing human attention or affection. Sadly, most dogs have learned to approach people only when necessary, for survival, not for petting and affection. They assess and choose carefully to avoid abuse, and hoping to be fed. 

Because of this, your number one priority should be to establish his TRUST in you. This will take time, patience and consistency on your part. The dog needs to understand you are never a threat, you GIVE and DO NOT take away. You never threaten or punish.  You do not 'test' him to see if you can come near his dish at meal time.  You notice when a situation, person, activity bothers him and remove him or redirect him. You will never force him to do anything. 

Leadership is a stressful role for people and it is just as true for dogs. The TD's had to be leaders for survival. If you can gain trust, your dog will learn to rely on you, relinquish that stressful role and become a follower. Ideally, he will learn to  'check-in' with you (look at, sit by, seek you out) for reassurance that you've got the situation under control. Praise him greatly for a 'check-in'. You are building trust! 

Here are guidelines TO TAKE LITERALLY as you get to know your Turkey Dog:

SIGNS OF ESCALATING STRESS YOU MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH
Watch for other "subtle" signals that your dog is nearing his threshold for a situation: (Courtesy of Delightful Dog, Professional Playcare)
  1. CLOSED MOUTH. A happy dog has a loose open mouth, almost a 'smile.'

  2. TURNING HEAD AWAY. Something in the environment needs adjusting. Stop what you are doing/remove dog from situation.

  3. LIP LICKING. This is compared to thumb sucking in children as being soothing.

  4. HALF MOON or WHALE EYE. Relaxed dogs do not typically show whites of eyes. If you see this consider it a warning to analyze and change something in the handling/environment.

  5. SHAKING OFF. (Like after a bath, but when dog is dry)This is a reaction to something stressful, sometimes after learning something new or when playing with another dog.

  6. YAWNING. If you know the dog is not tired, he is saying he needs a break. It is also a calming signal in dog/dog play that gets to be too much.

  7. BREATHING CHANGES. If it is not hot, a panting dog is stressed. Holding breath is another anxious signal.