Reading Dog Body Language

There are at least 11 new puppy owners reading this blog.  Congratulations to you all!  I have done my best to socializes my puppies with people, other dogs, and kids.  It is up to you to continue that good start by providing low stress situations where the dog can walk away with a great experience.  There is so much to experience, so much to learn.  On the same thread, many of you have children.  How can you make sure the dog grows up to love those kids?  How can you insure you will have a great family dog?  Well, the key is understanding dog body language.  When you think about a dog’s mood, do you feel confident you can say your dog is happy, relaxed, stressed out, or frightened?

The one thing I want you to take away from this is “A loose dog is a happy, relaxed dog.  A tight dog is nervous or frightened”.    There is an article floating around Facebook called Why Supervising Dogs and Kids Doesn’t Work.   I want you all to go and read this, because the information is vital for all dogs owners to have.  Look at the photo they have posted with the article.  That is NOT a happy dog.

Here are a few short video’s to show you some of the signs she listed in the article above.

How to spot a fearful dog.

Another showing some facial expressions.

Why I do NOT like Cesar Millan’s training

Watch this dog try to make friends with the camera.  He is unsure at first, but relaxes as time goes on.

This video below shows both happy and stressed body language.

Some of these video’s are a bit basic.  Poodles carry their tail high, so saying a low tail is a happy tail is untrue.  Many breeds have curled tails or upright tails.  It is more about how the tail is related to THAT dog.  A tight tail, either extremely high or low (tucked between the legs) are both signs of stress.  One more article for you to read.  ASPCA on Canine Body Language.  It is long, but absolutely worth the read.  The article goes into details on what the above videos were showing.   If you plan on ever going to a dog park, it is vital to understand these things.  Learning a new language takes time.   This will give you a start and maybe you can teach a few things to your friends and family who insist their dogs LOVES it when the kids hang all over him.  You can watch and see if indeed a dog is having a blast (loose, smiling, bouncing, relaxed) or if he is doing his best to avoid the situation by explaining how uncomfortable those people are making him (stiff, pulling back, licking lips, panting, ears to the sides, whites of eyes showing).

You puppy came to you as a relaxed, calm, happy puppy.  It is up to you to continue to make that pup feel safe, secure, and confident in your abilities to provide everything needed for a great life.   Socialization is important, just make sure it is the right socialization and given in such a way that it is not creating fear and a far greater issue to correct later.


  • Kate - Thanks. I found the videos to be very informative.ReplyCancel

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