A Guest Blog by Kevin Davies
Sometimes it is difficult to read your pup’s body language. Here are a few tips about how to read and understand your dog’s body language, as well as a few helpful hints on how to react to what your dog is telling you through their actions.
Start by watching and studying your dog. Go ahead and take your dog to a park, and see how other dogs are acting; pay attention to what they doing, and consider why they are doing what they do.
This takes time and practice, but the more time you invest in studying the body language of dogs, the more you and your dog will benefit from Rover’s communication techniques.
First we will look at body language that shows when your pup is stressed and is trying to calm down. Typically, when your dog is worried, they will shiver, whine or cry, and you may see the whites of their eyes.
Dogs sometimes deal with anxiety by licking their lips, walking slowly in circles, or panting. A good way to help calm your dog is by stroking them from their head to their rump, while speaking softly and reassuringly.
If your dog is being aggressive, they will bare their lips back and sometimes snarl or bark. They will also display “hackles,” that is, raised hair on their back between their shoulder blades and sometimes above their tail. Most of the time their ears will be pulled back and the whites of their eyes may will show.
Usually when a dog is aggressive, it is because they feel the need to protect someone or something, or they feel that another dog has provoked them. The best way to handle your dog when they are showing signs of aggression is to remove them from situation. However, it is a good idea to refrain from touching your dog since this might cause them to startle and snap at you.
The next type of common doggie body language is a display of confidence. When a dog feels, they may prance around with their head held high, their tail relaxed and raised, and a relaxed mouth with their lips gently falling over their teeth.
If a dog is fearful, their ears may be pulled back, the whites of their eyes will show, and their head will not be raised. Other body language that communicates fear is also a lowered head and body, and some dogs are known to hide behind your legs, under the bed, or under the table.
The final kind of body language is when your dog wants to play with another dog, or just simply wants to say “hi.” If your dog is initiating playtime with another dog, you will often see your dog paw the air (this is prominent in puppies) or perform a classic bow by lowering their head and bending their front paws. Sometimes a friendly swat or sniff is present as well.
Let your dog play with other dogs the way they want. However, if you feel that your dog is being overwhelmed or is overwhelming their playmate, feel free to intervene for a short “breather” or “time-out.”
Reading your dog’s body language is a process that is an interesting and beneficial experience for the both of you. Remember, the more you study your dog’s movements, the more you will understand and the easier it will be for you to communicate with your pup!
See More of Kevin’s articles at: https://petloverguy.com
4 thoughts on “Learn your dog’s body language”
Great tips. Body language is important to me to allow this k9 S&R team to be successful. But I find as dogs get older it,is even more important, Bob is 13 this year and is showing signs of arthritis.
I have over 20 years in the field running 2 K9 SAR units. Sometimes it is hard to tell when it is time to retire an older dog. Check my web site http://www.sbulanda.com. I am a founding member of the National Search Dog Alliance.
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Thanks Susan for commenting I bought your book and use it as a reference for those odd moments when I doubt myself. I never doubt Ellie as she has proven herself over and over again, but me, I am still learning.
We all continue to learn. I have been training dogs for over 50 years and I still learn. The key is to keep an open mind. Thanks for your comments and support.
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