Your dog is meeting another dog for the first time, and the hair on your dogs back starts to go up. What do you do in this situation? Is your dog about to attack or just excited to meet a new friend?
Understanding your dog’s body language is key to understanding how to handle situations. Even if it seems like you are watching something in a foreign language when you watch your dog interact with another dog, don’t worry we have you covered and will help to unravel these mysteries!
It can really frustrating not knowing whether to intervene in a situation or if it is a safe behavior.
Misreading your dog’s behavior is actually extremely common, but don’t worry, learning how to properly identify behaviors is quite easy. Understanding whether your dog is happy playing or feeling distressed makes a night and day difference in how they socialize with other dogs.
In reality, there are multiple tell-tale signs you can look out for. Once you understand and look out for these signals, you’ll have a much better understanding of how your dog is feeling.
Of course dogs understand each other naturally, but for us humans it is not so easy. We have to take time and learn the different types of signs and body language that canines use.
Following are some key gestures you can learn and watch out for to help you understand what’s going on inside your dog’s head. If you are more of a visual learner, there is a video at the bottom of this article by Doggy Dan that shows the behaviors in detail.
Hair On Back Up: the hair on the dogs neck and back stands on end
Most people immediately assume this is an aggressive gesture, and that the dog is angry and about to pounce. However, this can also signify excitement on the dog’s part. It does mean that the dog is very alert, but it could be just because he loves getting out and playing with other dogs. Watch your dog closely but do not panic.
Spinning In Circles: your dog does a complete spin
Your dog spinning around is almost always a positive sign, he or she is happy and is trying to encourage some play activity. Whenever your dog is comfortable enough to turn their back on another dog, it shows they are relaxed and not frightened.
Lifting a Paw In The Air: Your dog is on three legs and standing still
This is generally a submissive gesture and is a way for your dog to say “I’m submissive and non-threatening”. It is hard to tell how other dogs will react, but this is generally a good sign.
Head on Neck: your dog puts their head on the neck of another dog
This is a one of the most common ways a dog will attempt to assert dominance over another dog. It is a neutral action, it isn’t good or bad. If the other dog is not happy being dominated, you could have a problem on your hands. A dog who isn’t happy will definitely let the other dog know!
Coming Back To Play:
This is a good sign that suggests your dog is happy and is enjoying play! Many times this behavior isn’t really noticed by dog owners and goes overlooked, but you’ll notice it now! A lot of the time it may look like the dog is being dominated or isn’t enjoying things, but it is actually loving it and will run back for more. If they were truly unhappy, they definitely would not be coming back and would be staying far away.
These are just a few of the many behaviors displayed. There are quite a few behaviors to be on the lookout for, and some of them are more obvious than others.
One of the best places to learn about these signs and behaviors is Doggy Dan’s online dog training website. They offer over 250 videos and is an evergreen source of information about dog and puppy training. Doggy Dan breaks things down in an easy-to-understand format, and points out signs your dog displays that you may have been missing.
The Online Dog Trainer website even offers a $1 trial for 3 days, so you can look around and see if the program is for you. If not, not worries, you are only out one George Washington!
Here is an example of one of his videos, one the body language of dogs:
To take a peek inside, get your $1 all-access pass now for 3 days, click the link here.
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