Dog Body Language

Written by Patty Yu
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Understanding dog body language can be very helpful when training your dog. As pack animals, dogs must be able to communicate with each other effectively, and much of this communication is done through body language. When you bring a dog into your home, a human-dog pack relationship forms, and the dog will either be more submissive, or it may act dominantly, which is a potential danger.

Some Examples of Dog Body Language

The most identifiable dog body language is a wagging tail, which we all understand to show happiness. However, bright eyes and relaxed lips also signify contentment and happiness. A happy dog that wants to play may also display other submissive behavior, such as stretching his paws out in front of the body with the bottom raised high in the air.

When a dog is extremely frightened, he will display very submissive dog body language by making himself as small as possible. The dog will crouch and tuck his tail between his legs, flattening his ears, and widening his eyes. Some people think that a dog behaves this way because he knows he did something wrong, but in reality, the dog is intimidated by the owner because of previous reprimanding. Unless you catch a dog in an inappropriate act, you should never reprimand.

The exact opposite of submissive dog body language, dominant dogs usually stand very tall. Dominant dog body language usually displays a head held high, with hair standing on the back for a larger appearance. The ears usually point forward and the tail points up. Should you notice dominant body language in your dog aimed toward the family, you may wish to utilize dominant dog training to prevent any aggression or danger to people.


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