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Your dog's body language | Reading the room

Understanding canine body language is crucial for effectively communicating with and caring for dogs. Dogs communicate through a combination of vocalizations, facial expressions, postures, and movements. In order to understand our dogs properly, it's important to read their body, face, the wider context as well as the behaviour of other dogs and humans in the interaction. If your dog is displaying behaviours that you're unsure of, always ask a member of staff in their daycare group at K9 Anytime for observational advice and support.

Tail Wagging: Contrary to popular belief, tail wagging does not always signify a happy dog. The context, speed, and position of the tail are important. A fast wagging tail with a relaxed body often indicates excitement or happiness, while a slow wagging tail or a tail held high could signify confidence or alertness.

Ears: Forward and Erect Ears: Indicates attentiveness or excitement.

Pulled Back Ears: Can indicate fear, submission, or uncertainty.

Flat Ears: Can signify fear, aggression, or discomfort.

Eyes: Soft, Blinking Eyes: Signify a relaxed and content dog.

Direct Eye Contact: Can be a sign of confidence or challenge, depending on the context.

Avoiding Eye Contact: Can indicate submission, fear, or discomfort.

Mouth and Lips: Relaxed Mouth: Indicates a calm and content dog.

Lip Licking or Smacking: Can signify nervousness or anxiety.| Bared Teeth: Can indicate aggression or threat, especially when accompanied by growling or a stiff body posture.

Posture and Movement: Relaxed Body: A relaxed and loose body posture usually signifies a content and at-ease dog.

Stiff Body: A stiff body may indicate tension, alertness, or potential aggression.

Crouching or Low Body: Indicates submission or fear.

Raised Hackles: Can indicate excitement, arousal, or sometimes fear.

Barking and Vocalizations: The tone, pitch, and intensity of barking can convey different emotions, including excitement, alertness, fear, or aggression.

Smell and Scent Marking: Dogs use scent to communicate with each other. Sniffing, marking, and investigating scents are all ways they gather information about their environment and other animals.

Tail Position: High Tail: Can indicate alertness, confidence, or aggression.

Low Tail: Can indicate submission, fear, or discomfort.

Wagging and Wiggling: A wagging body or wiggling can indicate excitement, happiness, or friendliness.

Yawning and Stretching: Yawning can be a sign of stress or discomfort, especially if it's out of context. Stretching can indicate relaxation or preparation for activity.


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