Canine Body Language

DogDid you know that a dog’s posture, facial expression and tail movements can communicate a number of different messages to other dogs and to humans .

As a pet owner, it is very important that you be able to correctly read your canine companion’s signals.

Here are some  common behaviors in dogs:

PLAYFUL: chest to ground, rear and tail high in the air, may bounce on rear legs.

FRIENDLY DOGS:  relaxed ears in down position, flat tails with lots of wagging and the dog makes eye contact without staring.

SUBMISSIVE AND FEARFUL DOGS: ears down, eyes averted and tail is tucked securely between their legs. They may roll over on their backs or urinate while lying down.

ASSERTIVE DOGS: erect ears and tail, staring eyes and tend to put their paws on other dog’s backs and may be pushy with humans.

TRULY AGGRESSIVE DOGS: stare and hold their tails motionless, growl and put their ears forward. Hair on neck and back may stand up. Eyes  are wide and staring,  and dog may curl lips to show teeth.

It is important to understand how your dog reacts to other pets, people and situations.

If you are planning to leave your pet’s care to a pet sitter while you are away, make sure that your pet sitter has an opportunity to meet your pet prior to the pet sitting visits so that the sitter has a chance to see your pet in his/her home environment with you present.

Make sure that you give the pet sitter as much information as you can about your pet.

The pet sitter should  be aware if your pet is fearful, aggressive, or an escape artist,


If you have a new dog, or if you are dealing with someone else’s dog; it is wise to allow the dog to make the first move.

Never rush up to a dog you don’t know. Avoid loud noise or quick movements until you are comfortable that the dog is comfortable.

Ask the dog’s owner about the best way to approach him/her.

Never assume that all dogs like children.

Teach your kids to ask before they approach unknown dogs, and never leave young children alone with dogs, however nice the dog may be.

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