How to Understand Your Dog 's Body Language
By Sam Moores | Submitted On November 01, 2011
Recommend Article Article Comments Print Article Share this article on Facebook Share this article on Twitter Share this article on Google+ Share this article on Linkedin Share this article on StumbleUpon Share this article on Delicious Share this article on Digg Share this article on Reddit Share this article on Pinterest
Expert Author Sam Moores
Although our dogs cannot communicate with us through language, they can still give us a powerful range of signs and signals to let us know how they are feeling. Dogs learn this body language at an early age so that they can send a message that another dog will be able to read.
Teeth are the ultimate weapon of the dog in the wild, and so they are used as a strong signal. The amount of teeth shown varies according to the level of information the dog wants to give. A gentle warning will be shown by just a small fraction of teeth, increasing if the message is not read. Finally the lips will be fully turned back to reveal the full set of teeth and gums. Together with glaring eyes this is a message that no one can fail to understand! However, teeth can often be used to express contentment and a dog can almost 'smile ' to show happiness.
The dog uses various parts of its body to reinforce the signals of ears, eyes and teeth. The jaw will be used to emphasise the signal of the show of teeth by being pushed forward. The further forward it is the greater the aggression. It will be pulled back when the dog is defensive.
The stance of the dog is used for subtle messages pushing it forward to show potential aggression and pulling back to show submission, particularly towards the pack leader. The hackles can be raised and held erect as a mechanism to make the dog look bigger. It is often used as a way of avoiding confrontation. However, rather confusingly raised hackles may also denote joy and excitement.
The tail is the ultimate method of communication for a dog and one that is unique. The tail can tell you a great deal about the dog 's personality, its confidence and mood. When a dog is relaxed and happy the