Canine Body Language: how to read and understand it

Canine Body Language: how to read and understand it

Canine Body Language

As a responsible dog owner, it is important that you know about canine body language. You are not required to be an expert in dog training but there are some basic signals that you should be able to interpret on your dog. Imagine having so many needs and not being able to talk. Since dogs do not share our language, they have to rely on your ability to understand the signals they sometimes “scream” at you.

For starters, you should learn what about the various components that make up body language. Even when it is useful to break down your dog’s body into facial expressions, ear set, tail, and overall demeanor, you should still keep an eye on his entire body. Take a look at these three simple guides to help you interpret the most important messages that your dog is sending to you.

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“I’m cool”

Whenever a dog is approachable and relaxed, he does not feel threatened by anything going on around him. Caninde body language include:

  • Tail down and relaxed
  • Ears up but not forward, or down if ears are droopy
  • Head high
  • Mouth slightly open with tongue exposed
  • Loose stance

“Hey, what’s that!?”

The following signals indicate that something has called the attention of the dog. He is now alert and assessing the situation to determine if something has to be done about it.

  • Horizontal tail but not stiff and moving slowly from side to side
  • Ears forward and twitching as to capture sounds
  • Eyes wide
  • Mouth closed
  • Smooth nose and forehead
  • Slightly forward lean

“Don’t mess with me, I am dog!”

A dog will show himself aggressive and dominant in this pose. He is expressing his social dominance and threatening that he will act aggressively if challenged to.

  • Tail raised and bristled, stiff but might vibrate from side to side
  • Hackles raised
  • Ears forward and raised to sides to form a big V
  • Forehead and nose wrinkled
  • Mouth open and C-shaped;  teeth and gums are visible
  • Stiff-legged stance

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