Tips N' Tricks: Reading Doggy Body Language

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We love this useful, fun and adorable (usefundable???) graphic by Lili Chin! It wasn't until I saw this graphic a while ago that I could finally read all my little Lemon's physical cues (e.g., her hot face/happy face look identical - I used to think she just loves the heat!).

Dogs are amazingly communicative little creatures - all you have to do is be clued in to what they're trying to say and you can develop a better connection with your best friend.

Here are some of the most common non-verbal cues our doggies give us: 

Ears: Dogs ears are very expressive! If your pup's ears are soft and relaxed, it means they are content, but if their ears are flattened against their head - watch out - this is a sign that they're feeling fearful, stressed, or anxious. Check out our Tips for Calming A Stressed Dog to make your little buddy more comfortable.

Eyes: We've all done it before - the staring contest with our dogs, and the result is the same every time - the owner always wins the contest. We may think we win in this test of willpower, but in fact, in the doggy world, we're just being rude. Dogs look away in order to show submissiveness or avoid confrontation, and for another dog (or human) to stare a dog in the eyes for an extended amount of time is considered rude (and not to mention awkward). So the next time you're staring lovingly into your dog's eyes and she or he looks away - don't worry -  they love you back just the same, they're just trying to be polite.

Body: When dogs have their hackles raised (the fur between their shoulder blades and down their neck), this is a sign that they're in an agitated, possibly fearful state. The best way to deal with a situation like this is to immediately calm them or remove them from the anxiety-causing stimulus. If your dog is in this fearful state for too long, it may escalate to more aggressive behaviors such as growling or biting.

Tail: When a dog is feeling social and happy, they have their tails positioned between a 45 to 90 degree angle wagging quickly. A common misconception is that of the low, slowly wagging tail - this isn't a sign of a happy, social dog - the dog is in fact feeling somewhat stressed, anxious and cautious. Make sure to check the angle of a dog's tail before you approach a pup you don't know!

Hopefully this helps you and your pooch start being able to communicate better and develop a closer bond! For more useful advice on dogs and dog training, check out the 'Tips N' Tricks' pack in the Finding Rover app! 

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Published on by Beatrix Chan.

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