Canine Communication - Dog Body Language
Puppies learn to communicate and understand communication through body language, facial expression and vocalization. The puppy will practice body postures and learns what responses it gets from its litter mates and mother. Dogs seem to understand this “language” as a method of communication regardless of breed, size, age or gender.
Dogs assume that we, as part of their pack family, can also understand this language. Problems occur when we misunderstand what the dog is trying to convey to us. It is important to recognize the body language and behavior patterns of dogs to help us to understand the dog’s frame of mind.
Tail down, Ears up but not forward, Head high, Corner of mouth relaxed
Tail straight out, Ears forward, Mouth closed, Standing tall on toes
OFFENSIVE BODY POSTURE
Tail up and stiff, Hackles up, Ears forward, Nose wrinkled, Corner of mouth forward, Standing tall and forward on toes
Tail Tucked, Hackles up, Ears back, Pupils dilated, Nose wrinkled, Corner of mouth back, Body lowered
PASSIVE SUBMISSIVE POSTURE
Tail tucked, Eyes looking away, Rolls onto back
ACTIVE SUBMISSIVE POSTURE
Tail down, Ears back, Forehead smooth, Licks at mouth of superior dog/human, Corners of mouth back, Groveling movements with forepaws, Body lowered
Tail up and wagging, Ears up, Mouth open with tongue visible, Front end lowered,
Tail down, Ears back, Pupils dilated, Rapid panting with corner of mouth back, Body lowered, Sweating through pads
Once you understand all of the body postures and know your dog’s temperament you will find that communication between you and your dog will be rewarding and will make your relationship stronger.
I wish more people would take the time to learn the body language that dog's use. It would probably save a few lives (dogs') and maybe a few people would avoid being bitten. Usually it is the dog that pays the ultimate price for the misunderstandings.