How good are you are reading Dog’s Body Language?

According to Companion Animal Psychology article, People Mistakenly Think Anxious Dogs Are Relaxed Around Baby“Dog owners are even worse than non-dog owners at interpreting canine body language in interactions with children, according to research.”

This article is a great eye-opener that all dog owners should read! Even if you feel your dog is super friendly and “great with kids”. Dogs are still animals and they cannot raise a paw and say “Excuse me your child is bothering me.” Many try really hard to communicate with us, but we NEED to understand their language.

“… one of the nice things about this study: the dogs in the videos did not show more obvious signs such as growls or air snaps that more people would have easily recognized. Instead they showed the more subtle signs dogs give that they are uncomfortable, such as lip licking, looking away, or moving away from the child.” (Companion Animal Psychology article, People Mistakenly Think Anxious Dogs Are Relaxed Around Baby)

Click on this link to read the entire article.

As dog owners, it is our duty to protect our dogs and our humans. I learn something new every time I watch a video on dog body language. I often see some new subtle hint of what a dog is going to do when I am watching them in class or in day care. I don’t expect everyone to be a dog communication geek, but here are some good videos on dog body language:

Understanding Dog Body Language – Learn how to read dogs’ behavior better
by Kristin Crestejo, CDBC

Understanding Dog Body Language – Part 2
by Kristin Crestejo, CDBC

I hope you find these interesting in useful. A few key takeaways:

  • Not every wagging tail is a good/happy sign. It depends on the dog’s tail placement, how it is wagging and other body language.
  • Yawning doesn’t mean a dog is tired – it is typically that they are stressed.
  • Not all dogs like us hugging or snuggling them, watch their body language to see if you are invading their personal space. Just like not all people like to be hugged.
  • Lip licking is subtle but a really good signal to what the dog is thinking.
  • Tense versus loose body language
  • Cutoff signals – what are they and how do dogs use them
  • Reading dog’s ears can indicate some of what their brain is thinking.
  • Avoidance behaviors – when is your dog telling you or another dog/human to go away!


Can you recognize Subtle Anxiety in Your Dog? — No Comments

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