(Adapted from “How to Read Dog Body Language” by Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT. Published on the American Kennel Club – www.akc.org – 01/27/2020)
Ever noticed how good your dog is at telling what kind of mood you’re in but, even after years together, you don’t always get it right about what kind of mood your dog is in? Even more important, you’ re not sure when they’re telling you something hurts or bothers them? You’re not alone. Though (most) dogs don’t talk (though you can’t convince huskies of this), they are busy telling you something all the time !
The key to understanding the conversation is to put all the phrases (body signals) together to comprehend the overall message your pet is sending; much like reading a whole paragraph rather than singling out an individual word or sentence.
Here are some key dog signals you may have never noticed or misunderstood . Spending time observing your pup and learning what these signals mean will result in a much stronger bond, improved behavioral training and reduced improper engagements with other pups .
WAGGING TAIL: Wagging is good right? That depends. What we know for sure is the dog is aroused . Whether positively or negatively is determined by a number of factors.
What is the tail position? If straight up and stiff,your pup is likely feeling highly confident and possibly extra assertive (I like to becareful with the descriptor “aggressive” as often times that designation is incorrect). If neutral and loose,your pup is likely feeling curious and interested in something. If curled or tucked under, fear and insecurity is the likely emotion .
What is the speed of the wag? If whirling like a helicopter, your pup is i n a highly stimulated state . Again, positive or negative depends on the overall body language in that moment. If loose and bouncy, your pup is happy, calm and secure; a goofball looking for a good time. If stiff and switching like a blade or stiffand not wagging at all, be on the lookout something may be about to pop off .
POSTURE: Is your pup ready to play or ready to pounce? It all depends on how he’s standing his ground . If your pup has his chest to the ground and rump in the air, it’s playtime! However, if he’s standing erect with chest out and weight distributed forward, he’s definitely interested in getting closer to something and depending on the position of the tail, may be trying to appear larger. Take extra care here as this posture may indicate negative intentions. Conversely, if your pup is hunkering down low to the ground with the tail tucked underor around the body, he is likely feeling stressed, fearful or anxious.
FACIAL EXPRESSIONS: Is your pup yawning? This could be a sign of boredom but read the whole paragraph of body language. Yawning in dogs is often a way to release stress and tension.
Is that a smile or bared teeth? Yes, some dogs do smile ! To know for sure, check out what the rest of the body is doing. Loose and bouncy or in a play bow?That’s a smile alright ! Coupled with a growl or snarl?Best notto approach !
As you can see, learning your pup’s expressions and overall body language can do a lot to improve the way you relate to one another.
To read the full article, follow this link: https://www .akc.org/expert-advice/advice/how-to-read-dog body-language/
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