Canine Communication - Dog Body Language


Canine Communication

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.


RELAXED BODY POSTURE

Tail down, Ears up but not forward, Head high, Corner of mouth relaxed


ALERT BODY POSTURE

Tail straight out, Ears forward, Mouth closed, Standing tall on toes

Alert Dog Posture




OFFENSIVE BODY POSTURE

Tail up and stiff, Hackles up, Ears forward, Nose wrinkled, Corner of mouth forward, Standing tall and forward on toes


DEFENSIVE THREAT POSTURE

Tail Tucked, Hackles up, Ears back, Pupils dilated, Nose wrinkled, Corner of mouth back, Body lowered

Defensive Dog Body Language




PASSIVE SUBMISSIVE POSTURE

Tail tucked, Eyes looking away, Rolls onto back

Passive Submission Dog Body Language




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

Active Submission posture




PLAY BOW

Tail up and wagging, Ears up, Mouth open with tongue visible, Front end lowered,

Dog Body Language Play Bow




STRESS

Tail down, Ears back, Pupils dilated, Rapid panting with corner of mouth back, Body lowered, Sweating through pads

Stress Dog Body Posture

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.


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