Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Body Language

Can you tell when your dog is?

  • Relaxed
  • Bored
  • Curious
  • Playful
  • Excited
  • Unsure
  • Fearful
  • Anxious
  • Nervous
  • Aggressive
  • Confident

Dogs use body language to communicate to those around them. Dogs know exactly what other dogs are saying but this is where most humans have trouble. Sometimes a gesture happens so fast, it can be easy to miss. When people say that a dog has bitten them "out of the blue", it usually means that they didn't notice all the warning signs that came before the bite. The lowered head, the flattened ears, the slight lift of the lip, the low growl are all warnings to stay away. If you ignore them, a dog may feel no other choice but to bite.

(c) Graphic created by

The picture above gives you several examples to illustrate how a dog is feeling. Notice that generally, the smaller a dog looks the more anxious, frightened or submissive he is. The bigger the dog looks, the calmer, more alert or dominant he is. Each state of mind has a distinct body posture but there is more going on. A dog's head, mouth, ears, eyes, paws and tail also hold a lot of information. 

The next several articles will look at dog body language in more detail. Each article will focus on one body part of a dog to help give you a better understanding of all the signals that are being communicated to other dogs and to you.

The more we learn our dog's language, the stronger relationship and bond we will have with them.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited to see my new puppy and I want to learn all the information I need to know as a new dog owner. I decide to read an article that tackled about the body language of the dogs to easily communicate with them. We all know that dogs know exactly what other dogs are saying, but this is where most humans have trouble. Because of the ideas shared here I learned a lot and I want to learn more. Browse more about: Vets Sherbourne