Understanding canine body language

Canine body language and communication are beautifully complex and often nuanced. But it is possible to learn to observe and understand it. A grasp of the basics, including stress signals and signs of conflict, and recognizing a relaxed, happy dog, compared to an aroused, agitated or uncomfortable one, should be a bare minimum for any dog parent.

Watch and Listen

I am continually flabbergasted by the general lack of awareness – I don’t want to believe it’s just disregard – that people have for their dogs’ communications. Dogs are talking with their bodies all the time, and yet so much of it is missed. People often don’t watch their dogs. They are busy conversing with someone and actually don’t see what’s happening with their dogs. But all too often, people ARE watching their dogs, and continued signs of stress or pleas for help do not get any response.

Don’t make your dog have to yell at you

Please watch your dogs when they are around other people or dogs. They continually let us know how they are feeling. Take some time to educate yourself and then get into the habit of watching them when they are around others. Not only will you have a happier dog, but you will also prevent avoidable conflict. Too often, dogs become reactive over time because no one has been listening to their communications. Please don’t be that parent.

If you want to learn more about body language, come on over to our private group, Positive Dog Life. I’ll be featuring some great resources on canine body language there.