Have you ever watched your dog interact with another dog? It’s fascinating, but you feel left out of the conversation. You don’t know doggie language, but you know they are talking, you just have no idea what they are talking about.
Sometimes the stakes are higher. You see your dog interacting and you sense things are about to go bad. Some dogs get aggressive toward other dogs. You can feel the tension rising, but you’re just not sure if you should step in. At best, it’s frustrating to not know when it’s time to act. At worst, it can be dangerous.
You’d be amazed how many people misread their dog’s behavior and yet it’s actually pretty easy – when you know what you’re looking for. Knowing whether your dog is happy playing or feeling distressed can make all the difference to how they socialize with other dogs.
Once you know what to look for there are many tell-tale signs. Of course dogs can read each other without any effort, it comes naturally to them, however for us humans it doesn’t. We have to learn the different body language signals that they use.
Here are 5 key gestures that you can watch out for to understand what your dog is thinking. At the bottom of this article is a link to an amazing video by Doggy Dan in which you can watch all the behaviors I mention below for yourself.
The Head Over: This is when a dog places its head over the back of another dogs neck. This is one of the most common ways a dog will try to assert dominance over another dog. It is neither good nor bad. However, some dogs will contest it if they are not happy being dominated. A dog who is not happy with this will clearly let the other dog know!
Returning To Play: A dog returning to play more with another dog is usually a sign that a dog is happy to play. Often this simple behavior is overlooked by dog owners. Many times a dog may look like they are not enjoying things as they are being dominated and pushed around but is actually very happy and will run back for more! If they were really unhappy they would very likely stay away.
Lifting One Paw In The Air: The dog stands still on three legs. This is a fairly submissive gesture that says I am submissive and nonthreatening. The other dog may react in a number of ways but it is usually a good sign.
Hackles Up: The hair on the dogs back goes up. Very often people think that this automatically means that the dog is being aggressive or going to be aggressive, however it can also just be excitement. It does mean that the dog is very alert but this can be because they just love playing with other dogs. Keep an eye on your dog and don’t panic.
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360 Degree Spins: The dog completes a complete spin. The dog spinning will almost certainly be very happy and will be trying
to encourage some play activity. When a dog turns their back on another dog it shows that they are relaxed and not scared.
There are so many little things to look out for when learning to read your dog. Some signs are more obvious than others. One of the best places to learn how to read dogs is Doggy Dan’s website The Online Dog Trainer. Dan even offers a 3 Day $1 trial of the site that you can take advantage of, so you should check it out.
This video website is an excellent source of learning not only about how to interpret your dogs behavior but also how to stop unwanted behavior and train dogs and puppies. Doggy Dan’s site is truly amazing with over 250 videos inside. So if you really want to have a dog that you can be proud of look no further, simply take the 3 day $1 trial inside Doggy Dan’s site. To take a look and get your $1 access now, something that I would strongly recommend CLICK HERE: The Online Dog Trainer $1 Trial.
Sometimes, you might be looking for more subtle clues about your dog’s frame of mind when he’s just laying around the house. Check out this great infographic from the folks at havahartwireles.com. It gives you more great info on decoding your dog’s behavior:
The bottom line is that the more you pay attention and understand your dog’s behavior, the happier you will both be.
If you want more great dog training tips, be sure to get our free PDF of everyday dog training tools here. Either way, the more you learn, the happier you and your dog will be!