Quick Guide To Reading Dog Body Language

6 12 2008

Dominance Aggression:
Hackles will be raised, teeth barred, tail may be up or back, body & legs stiffen, lips are drawn back, growling, eyes fixed on target.

Fear Aggression:
Body and head lowered, ears are back close to the head, tail is down or may be tucked between the legs, growling, lips are drawn back, teeth barred, hackles raised, nose wrinkled.

Fearful (when a dog is in a fearful state, he may show some or all of the following):
Eyes are narrowed, barks, tail is curled under, ears back and close to the head, crouching position with body, head and rear end lowered, arched back, glances away

Friendly (when a dog is in a friendly state, he may show some or all of the following):
Ears are forward, relaxed look on face, tail may be up or back and wagging

Worried- When a dog is worried, he may show some or all of the following:
Back will be arched, but the head and rear end will be lowered, tail curled under body and barking.

Relaxed- When a dog is feeling relaxed, he may show some or all of the following:
Weight flat on feet, head held high, ears up and mouth open, tail will be down

play-bowThe Play Bow:
An invitation to play. Front legs on ground with rear end raised, tail wagging.

Alert- When a dog is on the alert, he may show some or all of the following:
Standing tall, eyes wide open, ears will be forward, moves his tail from side to side.

Dominant- A dominant dog may show all or some of the following:
Ears will be up and forward, confident stance, tail may be up or back, eye fixed.

Confident- Ears forward, tail may be up or back, stands tall.

Submissive- A submissive dog may show all or some of the following:
Tail down, head and body will be lowered, ears flat or back, rolling over, may urinate. Sometimes may empty anal glands.

As you may have noticed, a lot of these signals are similar and can be misread.  This is why it is important for humans to learn canine body language.  In the future, I will be covering  each one of these in depth.  So check back frequently to see what I have done.  I wouldn’t want anyone to misread the neighbor’s dog.

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2 responses

6 12 2008
Janet Roper

Very informative post! Thanks for posting
Harmony,
Janet

18 02 2009
Are You Worried About Off Leash Aggression Issues? « Ask Spike Online

[…] among them.  Keep an eye out for the signs of real trouble.  You may find it helpful to use these body language clues to help you identify troublesome situations.  If you see something about to start, get your dog […]

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