Has your dog ever acted a certain way or done something, but you are unsure what it means? Often, your dog may be trying to tell you something, but because you don’t understand dog body language or behavior, you may miss the meaning entirely.
Therefore, you must know the primary reasons why your dog does what she does and what it means when you see her panting, shaking, or sniffing around your home or outside.
So pay attention to canine body language cues so you’ll understand your dog’s emotional state and recognize what your dog’s trying to tell you.
Common signs of dog body language stress
Signs of stress include panting heavily, pacing, and possibly shaking. Stressed dogs also show the whites of their eyes in a position commonly called whale eye.
Stressed dogs calm themselves by yawning, circling, lip licking, sitting, or lying down. These are all calming signals that a dog would show members of her pack. Dogs see human family members as their pack.
Fearful dogs also are easy to spot. The dog tends to crouch nearer to the ground, tail tucked between her legs, may whine, and move her ears back.
This behavior is often due to a sudden change in the dog’s environment, such as when you move to a new home or take a road trip.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and disrupting your dog’s routine can make her fearful.
Noting the posture of an aggressive dog – especially a dog you do not know – is important because it might help you get away quickly. First, an aggressive dog will have all four legs on the ground and stand still as if to say, “I’m challenging you!”
The hair on the dog’s back may rise; his head will be held high but can be in a lowered position at the same time. His ears will be back as if pinned to his head, he likely will be snarling and growling, and his eyes will fixate on you or whoever they want to dominate.
Do not make eye contact with an aggressive dog.
Common canine body language happy cues
If your dog feels good about himself and his environment, he is confident.
That’s easy to spot because your dog will stand on all four legs, head high, ears up, and his tail (if there is one) will be up high.
When your dog is confident, they give off a friendly demeanor that is easy to see.
A happy dog looks like a confident dog, except her tail is wagging like crazy.
She’s also likely to prance around, wiggle, and be very excited. Dogs also may use a play bow to show they are happy.
When your dog is happy, sometimes he will bark, but the bark is playful rather than aggressive, and you can quickly tell the difference.
Communicating with your dog
Learning to read canine body language will help you know how best to approach and work with your dog.
Dogs communicate through body postures, facial expressions, tails, and paws.
Kelly Marshall is a featured author on Oh My Dog Supplies. For more articles by Kelly, visit Oh My Dog Supplies.