Do you want to be able to better communicate with your dog?
Learning the language of canines—both verbal and nonverbal,
takes just a bit of basic knowledge, and some practice with
your pet. Here’s what you’ll need to know to understand dog
Take note that while each dog movement and sound can indicate a
mood or message your pet is trying to convey, understanding the
sum of all your dog’s actions and body language in context is
important for getting a clearer picture of your loved one’s
state of mind. That’s why practice with your own pet is key—the
more you learn about your dog and their reactions, the better
you’ll be able to read them.
Dog Tail Movements
A wagging tail is generally assumed to indicate happiness,
which it can, but it can also signal aggression.
- The happy movement is easy-going and side to side or faster
and in circles when your pup is really ecstatic.
- The aggressive movement typically involves a raised tail,
moved stiffly side to side. The rest of the dog’s body language
will likely indicate your pet is on edge if this is the case.
When your pooch is at ease, the tail will likely be in a
resting position, wherever it hangs naturally. “With the tail
between the legs” is an expression for a reason: dogs usually
do this when they’re feeling really low.
Ears and Your Dog's Mood
Since canine ears vary, so does their ability to communicate
effectively. Typically, dogs’ ears are at ease when the dogs
are at ease. Perked ears, perched atop the head, indicate
canine curiosity or, depending on the context, aggression.
Pulling the ears back a bit is like waving an “I come in peace”
sign in the dog world. When you see ears pressed down, your pup
may be afraid or indicating submission.
Cues from Dog Eyes
Like humans, dogs can get wide-eyed or bug-eyed out of fear or
anger. Alternately, eyes can shrink from being afraid.
Squinting may indicate pain, feelings of discomfort, or
Where your dog’s eyes are pointed matters, too. While dogs
don’t typically look at each other eye to eye, they adapt to
this human behavior with people. When your dog is relaxed and
looks you in the eye, all is well. If the gaze is a stare, and
accompanied by tensing of the face, it may be a sign of
aggression. If your dog won’t look you in the eye, your pet may
be afraid or indicating submission. Should you start to see
more of the “whites” of your pet’s eyes, as your dog turns away
from you, this may be the precursor to a tantrum.
Face and Teeth
As you probably know, a slightly open-mouthed (seemingly
smiling) dog is probably content and relaxed. When a dog pulls
her or his lips back, it may be out of fear or feeling
submissive. This may be followed by sticking the tongue out and
licking an approaching person or dog.
When a dog shows teeth, it doesn’t always mean aggression. Some
dogs do so, with their head lowered, to indicate submission. An
aggressive dog, in comparison, will likely contort the muzzle
and breathe heavily at the same time.
Body Posture and Movements
Like cats and humans, dogs can shrink and cower in fear. This
same body language can also indicate submission.
Dominant dogs, in contrast, will stand tall and proud, with
muscles tightening. Aggressive dogs’ body language will appear
similar, but they will also vocalize their intent.
Playful dogs may flatten their front paws and raise their
haunches in the air, with a tail raised and waving side to
side, poised and ready for a romp.
There’s no one reason dogs bark.
They do so to give warnings, during play or when anxious or
bored. If your dog wants to do something, but is being
prevented from doing so, whining may ensue. This noise may also
indicate feelings of anxiety.
Watch out when you hear dog growls; somebody wants to
demonstrate their dominance or aggression or be territorial.
Pack animals by nature, dogs who howl are signaling longing for
their family members.
Body Clues of Dog Aggression
When dogs assess their surroundings to get a sense of a
situation, they’re likely to straighten up their tails, stiffen
their muscles, look intently, and move their ears and body
Signs of a dog on the defense: With a head low
to the ground, weight pushed to the rear, hair raised, tail
lowered or tucked, mouth stiff, teeth showing, and nose
twitching, this dog is on the lookout, but is prepared to back
Signs of a dog on the offense: Staring
intently, with tensed ears and a tight mouth, the dog’s teeth
may be visible and the nose may twitch. The animal may growl,
bark and move her or his body forward. The hair on the back
will likely be raised.
Stay tuned to your dog’s moods, and you’ll be reading their
body language in no time.
Understanding Canine Body Language
Wouldn’t it be just fabulous if you and your doggo could have
endless 'tete a tete' about why he is so happy to see you at
the end of the day, and how he just simply loathes the very
sight of your new neighbor! However, since your conversations
with your furry little friend are limited to non verbal
interaction, it would be helpful to understand their body
language and know exactly what they are trying to convey by
means of a wagging tail or excessive drooling. Here are a few
typical non verbal signals from your canine friend and what
they actually imply in the ‘dog world’.
A slightly open mouth, a relaxed or drawn down tail, a loose
stance, and head parallel to the floor are a few of the common
signals that imply that your dog is feeling safe in his
surroundings and is in a reasonably content and relaxed state.
A dog will typically adopt this stance when at home around his
master, with only familiar faces around him.
When a dog notices something unusual that instantly catches his
attention, he might display a few typical signs of vigilance
including wide open eyes, tightly shut mouth, twitching ears,
tail held horizontal to the body and leaning forward on his
toes. An alert state implies that your dog has found something
of interest and is trying to assess the situation and determine
whether any action must be taken or not.
There are numerous body language signals of a canine that
project submission to an impending danger and might imply that
your four legged friend is feeling threatened by and fearful of
the situation. A sudden freezing of the body implies that your
dog has detected some danger in his surroundings and waiting to
decide between the fight and flight mechanism. In addition to
this, when feeling threatened, your dog might display nervous
signs such as sweaty paws, ears pulled back, tail pulled
between the hind legs, lowered body, brief and indirect eye
contact and so on.
When trying to invite their masters to come out and engage in
playful activities, dogs typically exhibit signs of excitement
and elevated adrenalin. A few of the signals which imply that
your dog fancies a game of fetch or is in a mood for a run in
the park include tail stretched out in a vertical standing
position and wagging rigorously, dilated pupils, ears pulled
erect, tongue slightly exposed from an open mouth, front body
lowered by means of bent forepaws and so on.Understanding your
canine’s body language will go a long way in not only
developing a stronger connection with him, but also in ensuring
that you can take suitable corrective actions and help him
relax, if he feels excessively stressed or fearful of a
Is your dog doing something weird? Learn about their body
You and your loving dog, unfortunately, do not speak the same
language. For you it means that comprehending what your dog is
trying to say can be exhausting. These miscommunications can be
frustrating and funny,The problem arises when miscommunication
leads to serious training or behavioral problems. This makes
life difficult both for you and also your dog. Do note that
canine behavior is a wide topic. A lot remains to be learned.
We still do not understand why dogs behave in specific ways or
do specific things.
Canine body language
Your dog could try to please another dog by seeking attention.
It could do one or multiple of behaviors like ear or muzzle
licking or both. It could curve or lower its body, or jump up
and down. It could also blink its eyes. Its teeth could be
exposed or lick the lips. Your dog could lower the ears and the
head for appeasement. It could also bow. These are all examples
of active appeasement.The list of passive submission tactics
include body freeze and cowering. These are done as a response
to increased fear due to perceived threat. Other than
appeasement, your dog could also use displacement signs so that
it can avoid a confrontation. The body signals are actually a
distraction to cover up what the dog is really feeling.
Licking, yawning, sniffing and scratching can be regarded as
active behaviors which keep your dog calm. These activities
offer a distraction to make sure that attention towards him
from others gets refocused on someone else.
Stressed dogs exhibit a number of behaviors which help to
relieve their stress. These are also made to appease perceived
threat. Your dog will yawn when it gets nervous. Licking the
lips does not mean your best friend is hungry. This behavior
means it is afraid.
Your dog is naturally curious. More confident dogs can deal
with change more effectively. Your dog will measure up any
situation using a few behavioral traits. These reassure your
dog that it is safe. The list of mannerisms include head cocked
only to one side or to the other. Its front paw can be lifted.
This means it is anticipating what will happen, and what your
canine must do next. If its mouth is closed, it means your dog
is sizing up the situation to prepare for action.There are
times when your dog chases its tail. For puppies this is a
method to expend the excess energy. However, if this is done
constantly, there could be a chance that your dog may have flea
allergy dermatitis or even anal gland problems.
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