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Barks, Growls, Howls
Whines, Whimpers, Purring
6 Dog Sounds Meaning
Dog vs Dog Conversation & Speak
Dog Barking Sounds Interpretation
Dog Language Canine Translator
79 Canine Body Language Signals of Reconciliation & Threat
Talking Dogs & Puppies Videos, Movies
Talking Dog Games & Applications
Dog's Language
Dog's Gestures
Dog Talk Training
Understand your Dog
How to Communicate with Your Dog
Dog Talk

6 DOG SOUNDS MEANINGS - Image (c) by Lioudmila Perry
This article is proudly presented by

Pat Miller

Barks, growls, howls, whines, whimpers, even dog purring - different dog sounds have different meanings. Here is how to decipher the different noises your dog makes and what they mean! There are generally six types of dog sounds the use in order to vocally communicate with humans or with other canines. Most noises dogs make indicate some form of frustration, like when a dog whines to go outside. But dogs will also vocalize pleasure and happy dog noises do not always sound too friendly!

Why do dogs bark? Dogs bark for many reasons, including alert - there is something out there! Alarm - there is something bad out there! Boredom, demand, fear, suspicion, distress, and pleasure and play.

If you know how to tell between different kinds of dog barks, you can easily understand why your dog is so vocal in the first place! Believe it or not, dogs' vocal communication methods are not just for annoying neighbors - they are for telling you something important has happened! The bark of a distressed dog, such as a dog who suffers from isolation or separation distress or anxiety, is high-pitched and repetitive, getting higher in pitch as the dog becomes more upset. Boredom barking tends to be more of a repetitive monotone. Alert bark is likely to be a sharp, staccato sound, alarm barking adds a note of intensity to the alert.


Demand barks are sharp and persistent, and directed at the human who could/should ostensibly provide whatever the dog demands. At least, the dog thinks so. Suspicious barks are usually low in tone, and slow, while fearful barking is often low but faster. Play barking just sounds playful. If you have any doubt - take look to see what the dog is doing. If he is playing, it is probably play barking.

Baying is deep-throated, prolonged barking, most often heard when a dog is in pursuit of prey, but also sometimes offered by a dog who is challenging an intruder. The scent hounds are notorious for their melodic baying voices. Some people interpret dog baying a long moaning sound.

Growls are most often a warning that serious aggression may ensue if you persist in whatever you are doing, or what-ever is going on around him. Rather than taking offense at your dog's growl, heed his warning, and figure out how to make him more comfortable with the situation. If instead of a hostile growl, your dog is grumbling lowly, he may be perfectly happy! Dogs also growl in play. It is common for a dog to growl while playing tug and that is perfectly appropriate as long as the rest of his body language says he is playing. If there is any doubt in your mind, take a break from play to let him calm down. Some dogs also growl in pleasure. Rottweilers are notorious for "grumbling" when being petted and playing, and absent any signs of stress, this is interpreted as a "feels good" happy dog noise.

Howling is often triggered by a high-pitched sound, many dogs howl at the sound of fire and police sirens. Some dog owners have taught their dogs to howl on cue, such as the owner howling. Howling is generally considered to be communication between pack members: perhaps to locate another pack member, or to call the pack for hunting. Some dogs howl when they are significantly distressed - again, a common symptom of isolation and separation distress.

A whimper or a yelp is often an indication that a dog is in pain. This may happen when dogs play, if one dog bites the other dog too hard. The whimper or yelp is used to communicate the dog's distress to a pack member or human, when they are friendly. The other dog or human is expected to react positively to the communication. Whimpers can also indicate strong excitement such as when an owner returns at the end of a long workday. Excitement whimpering is often accompanied by licking, jumping, and barking. Dog whimpering is softer and less intense than whining. Puppy crying sounds are just little whimpers.

Dog whining sounds are high-pitched vocalizations, often produced nasally with the mouth closed. A dog may whine when it wants something, needs or wants to go outside, feels frustrated by leash restraint, is separated from a valued companion human or otherwise, or just wants attention. It is usually an indication of some increased level of stress for the dog. Most often the dog crying sound is an exaggerated whine or whimper.

Some dogs are capable of replicating human speech sounds. When these sounds are selectively reinforced, dogs can appear to be speaking human words, sometimes even sentences. It is most likely that the dogs have no concept of the meaning behind the words they are "speaking", although as we learn more about canine cognition, one can not ever be too sure. It is interesting to note that one of the phrases most frequently taught to dogs by their owners is some version of, "I love you".

Dog Sound Meanings
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Understand Your Dog's Talking
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Liz Fields


Device Aims to Translate Dog Thoughts Into Words

What if your dog could greet you with more than a growl, or announce the reason he's scratching at the door?It sounds absurd and much like the storyline from the Pixar film, "Up," but Scandinavian scientists are working to develop a headset that could soon allow your furry best friend to speak his mind.

Understand Your Dog's Talking

The Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery is the brains behind "No More Woof", the technology that aims to distinguish canine thought patterns and then issue them as short sentences via a microphone. "The brainwaves differ quite a lot from different races as well as individual dogs," NSID writes on their website. "However it is possible to detect some common patterns and we have no doubt that in the future this technology will open up a vast new era of communication between dogs and humans, or animals in general and humans."

Understand Your Dog's Talking

The research team, who previously brought the world such inventions as the pet flying carpet, weren't immediately available for comment on Wednesday, but explained the most recent project on their website. "No More Woof is the result of combining the latest technologies in three different tech areas - EEG (electroencephalography) sensoring, micro computing and special brain-computer interface, software," the researchers wrote. The operating system relies on sensors in the headset which detect electric signals in the dog's brainwaves. Technology from an in-built processing device then analyses the signal patterns and deciphers them into distinct feelings like anger, curiosity or tiredness. Sample sentences such as "I'm hungry - but I don't like this!" or "I'm curious who that is?" will be programmed into the device and emitted through a loudspeaker. English translations will be available, but Putonghua, French and Spanish language headsets will come later, the researchers say.

Understand Your Dog's Talking

How exactly scientists will attach the sensors into a dog's brain has yet to be ironed out. Issues like this, as well as the ethical and social concerns, are the reason why there's a whole lot more research to be done before the technology becomes available. The headsets are, however, available for pre-purchase on indiegogo as part of the research funding campaign, with three different versions that range in functionality and price, from $65 for the micro to $300 for the standard version or $1,200 for the Superior customizable mini-speaker, replete with engraved dog tag.


You might have to wait a while for the first prototype to arrive in the mail, but the implications are enormous, the researchers say. And as friendship is a two-way street, it's only fitting that the scientists are also aiming to develop a reverse headset for humans to bark their way into the hearts of their canine buddies. Other applications and accessories the researchers have in their far-sighted future include a "Pavlovian training kit," with original instructions by the physiologist Ivan Pavlov, to further the owner-pet bond through the use of play and classical conditioning. "Right now we are only scraping the surface of possibilities," the researchers write. "The first version will be quite rudimentary. But hey, the first computer was pretty crappy too."


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FINALLY! A tech company has decided to use the internet of things to give the people what they really need. No longer will you be left to hopelessly wonder what your dog might be thinking - this new gadget promises to translate the complex language your pooch is speaking. New York-based firm DogStar has created a device it describes as the "world's first dog emotion sensor". Known as Tailtalk, the product is a Fitbit-esque device placed on your dog's tail to capture and analyse its every emotion. "Tail wagging is asymmetric and includes complex emotional signals that the human eye cannot recognise," the company wrote. Consulting with professors from the College of Veterinary Medicine in Cornell University, the company established the direction a dog wags its tail directly reflected its mood. Dogs wagging their tails to the left were found to be expressing negative emotions such as fear, anxiety and aggression, while dogs with tails wagging to the right were showing positive feelings like happiness, excitement and satisfaction. With this in mind, DogStar created a 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope to help monitor and record canine emotions in real-time.


Taking things a step further, the DogStar team created an app, which links to the device. "DogStar products are based on the latest canine neuroscience. Translating the position of the tail and how it's wagging, the Tail Tracker delivers messages straight from the heart of your furry friend to your smartphone". This means owners can examine a dashboard to examine their dog's "happiness overview", "emotional graph" and "emotional diary". Chief operation officer Mike Karp said for the past nine months, the company had been building and testing prototypes of the product. "The testing is going really great," he told Motherboard. Confident in the product it had established, the company launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indigogo to help raise the funds required to get the Tailtalk into mass production. And it appears like DogStar really are giving the people what they want, with the company raising $AU40,000 of its $AU140,000 target in just 24 hours. By contributing, pet owners will be only pay $AU140 for the Tailtalk, which is expected to retail for $AU180. If all goes to plan, the product will be available for purchase from October next year.


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The Smartest Dog in the World

Eighty-six-year-old retired psychology professor John Pilley and his border collie Chaser are inseparable. Chaser could recognize the names of around 800 toys


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Artificially intelligent Dr. Doolittles can understand dog barks as good or better than humans do. These findings suggest computers might significantly help people comprehend animal communication. Scientists tested artificially intelligent software on more than 6,000 barks from 14 Hungarian sheepdogs. Six different kinds of barks were taped:

1. Barks for strangers were recorded when a researcher approached a dog's owner's home when the owner was away.

2. Barks during fights were recorded at dog training schools, when a trainer encouraged dogs to bite the glove on the trainer's arms and bark aggressively.

3. Barks for walks were recorded when owners behaved as if they were preparing to go for a walk with their dogs.

4. Barks for balls were recorded when owners held balls in front of dogs.

5. Barks during playtime were recorded when owners played tug-of-war or similar games with dogs.

6. Barks made when alone were recorded when owners tied dogs to trees in a park and then walked out of sight.

After analyzing digital versions of the barks, overall the computer program correctly identified the kinds of barks the dogs made 43 percent of the time โ€” about the same as humans' 40 percent, said researcher Csaba Molnรกr, an ethologist at Eรถtvรถs Lorรกnd University in Hungary. The software identified 'walk' and 'ball' barks better than people, although people identified 'play' and 'alone' barks better than the software.


Different Pooch Sounds
and What They Mean

Happy sounds

One or two sharp barks "Hey there. Where have you been all my life?"

One mid-range pitched bark aimed at someone "Come here!"

A stuttered bark ("arrr-ruff!") "Let's play."

A rising bark "Yahooooooo!"

Snuffles and moans "I'm pretty happy and content." A snuffle is considered a purr for dogs.

Whining that drops in pitch "Come on, let's go now." Usually this shows excitement, like when a dog is waiting for its food or for a ball to be thrown.

Sighs "I'm content" or "I give up."

Moan-yodel ("yowel-wowel-owel-wowel") or howl-yawn (a breathy "hooooo-ah-hooooo") "This is great!"

Scared sounds

A soft, low-pitched bark that comes from the chest "Get away from me." This dog might be feeling threatened and is telling everyone else to back off and give it space.

An up-and down-pitched growl "I'm totally petrified of you! If you come closer I might fight you or I might run away."

Soft whimpering "I'm really scared."

Warning sounds

Three or four medium-pitched barks "Come over here, guys, and take a look at this."

Medium-pitched barking on repeat "Okay, I'm being serious now. I think this might be dangerous." This bark is more alarmed. Dogs often make this sound when a stranger appears.

Non-stop low-pitched barking "I'm getting ready to defend." This is a worried bark and shows the dog thinks there is a real threat.

Snarl "I'm going to eat you for breakfast!"

Sad sounds

A long stretch of single barks with pauses between each one "I'm so lonely and sick of being in the backyard all day with only this stupid cat for company." Normally this bark is heard when a dog is locked up alone.

Bark-howl "I'm worried. Where is everybody?" A dog making this noise is lonely and isolated, but doesn't think anyone will respond to its call.

Whining that rises in pitch "I want, I need..." This is a plea for something. Louder and more frequent means a stronger emotion behind the plea.

Hurt sounds

A single yelp "Ow!" A response to sudden pain.

Screaming "Ow-ow-owww! I think I'm dying." This is a prolonged yelp and is a response to ongoing pain.

Soft whimpering "I'm hurt."

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language
This article proudly presented by
Behaviour Company JEZ ROSE
Talking Dog
Talking Dog



Talking Dog

Talking Dog

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PRESS TO SEE IT BIGGER!! Dog Communicating Language

Dog Communicating Language


Talking Dog

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language

Talking Dog


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WATCH ME or LOOK AT ME! Get your dog to focus on you and make eye contact.

PHEWY/ECH/NO/WRONG! Wrong choice, the dog blew it. Should be said in a low, firm tone of voice.

OUCH or IEEE! Stop that mouthing, it hurts. When your dog bit down too hard on his littermates, they yelped at him and stopped playing.

GOOD DOG/WHAT A GOOD KID! Right choice. Should be said in an upbeat, happy tone of voice. You want the dog to know that what he did was wonderful and he should keep doing it.

SIT! The most basic of all commands. Can be practiced before eating, at street corners, in elevators, whenever you need to get active control of your dog.

DOWN! This means to lie down. Down is a very subordinate position so some bossy dogs may not readily comply. To be used when you want your dog to be comfortable or when you need control of a dog throwing a tantrum. Do not confuse this with "Off!"

STAND! Use this when you want the dog to go from a sit or down and stand with all four feet on the ground. This is very useful at the vet's office or at the curb on a rainy day.

STAY! This means do not move from whatever position you are in. You may ask your dog to "sit stay," "down stay," etc.

OKAY! Dog is released from whatever position you asked him to assume. He is done working until the next command is given.

LET'S GO! This is the command for controlled walking, what you do on a regular basis with your dog. The dog may go out to the end of his six-foot leash and sniff around and do his thing but he may not drag you down the street or trip you by crisscrossing in front of or behind you.

HEEL! This is a very precise position at your left side. The dog walks along beside you. If you stop, the dog stops. Heel is a good command to use on very crowded streets or when you want your dog very close, such as when there's broken glass in your path.

COME! When your dog hears this command, he should leave whatever he is doing and come to sit in front of you. Because this can be a lifesaving command, you should always give it in the most cheerful, inviting tones. Reserve a very special treat for teaching it and never use it to call your dog to you to do something he does not like.

OFF! Use this for jumping up on either people, furniture, or counter tops. Don't confuse this command with "down."

TAKE IT! Teach your dog to take food or toys using this command. The dog should wait until you give the "take it" command before putting the offered object in his mouth.

DROP IT or OUT or GIVE! This means that the dog should spit out whatever is in his mouth. It is important to teach this command using a reward system or you can create an overly possessive dog.

LEAVE IT! This tells your dog not to even think about picking up the object, to avert your eyes from the object, other dogs, rollerbladers, etc. Very useful on city streets.

This list is proudly presented (c) by ASPCA,1996
Courtesy of ASPCA
424 East 92nd St.
New York,
NY 10128-6804
(212) 876-7700

Dogs and kids, puppies and children
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Talking Dog

What is your dog trying to tell you? Dogs have a language that allows them to communicate their emotional state and their intentions to others around them. Although dogs do use sounds and signals, much of the information that they send is through their body language, specifically their facial expressions and body postures.

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language

Understanding what your dog is saying can give you a lot of useful information, such as when your dog is spooked and nervous about what is going on, or when your dog is edgy and might be ready to snap at someone.

Talking Dogs, Dogs Talk

You do have to look at the dog's face and his whole body. To help you, I have created a sort of visual version of a Berlitz phrase book to allow you to interpret the eight most important messages your dog is sending to you.

Talking Dog

1. Relaxed Approachable

Dog Gestures, Languages, Communicate with a Dog

This dog is relaxed and reasonably content. Such a dog is unconcerned and unthreatened by any activities going on in his immediate environment and is usually approachable.

2. Alert! Checking Things Out

Dog Gestures, Languages, Communicate with a Dog

If the dog has detected something of interest, or something unknown, these signals communicate that he is now alert and paying attention while he is assessing the situation to determine if there is any threat or if any action should be taken.

3. Dominant Aggressive

Dog Gestures, Languages, Communicate with a Dog

This is a very dominant and confident animal. Here he is not only expressing his social dominance, but is also threatening that he will act aggressively if he is challenged.

4. Fearful and Aggressive

Dog Gestures, Languages, Communicate with a Dog

This dog is frightened but is not submissive and may attack if pressed. A dog will generally give these signals when he is directly facing the individual who is threatening him.

5. Stressed and Distressed

Dog Gestures, Languages, Communicate with a Dog

This dog is under either social or environmental stress. These signals, however, are a general "broadcast" of his state of mind and are not being specifically addressed to any other individual.

6. Fearful and Worried

Dog Gestures, Languages, Communicate with a Dog

This dog is somewhat fearful and is offering signs of submission. These signals are designed to pacify the individual who is of higher social status or whom the dog sees as potentially threatening, in order to avoid any further challenges and prevent conflict.

7. Extreme Fear Total Submission

Dog Gestures, Languages, Communicate with a Dog

This dog is indicating total surrender and submission. He is trying to say that he accepts his lower status by groveling before a higher ranking or threatening individual in the hopes of avoiding a physical confrontation.

Dog Gestures, Languages, Communicate with a Dog

8. Playfulness

Dog Gestures, Languages, Communicate with a Dog

Here we have the basic invitation to play. It may be accompanied by excited barking or playful attacks and retreats. This set of signals may be used as a sort of "punctuation mark" to indicate that any previous rough behaviour was not meant as a threat or challenge.

79 Canine Body Language Signals - Reconciliation & Threat

This article proudly presented by
Russian Veterinary Journal.
Small Pets and Wild Animals, #1 2013
K. Lorenz

The foundations of the classical ethological theory of communication were laid by K. Lorenz to designate "characteristic reactions exhibited by representatives of a given animal species that activate the existing triggers in individuals of this species and cause them certain sequences of instinctive behavior complexes", using the term "release".

We identified and examined 61 signals of reconciliation (reassurance) in dogs and only 18 threat signals used for intraspecific and interspecific communication. Friendly communicative signals refer to threat signals as 3.4 : 1. Aggressive behavior of dogs in relation to people is mainly a result of human provocative actions - intentional or unintentional. Goodwill, sociability, and the absence of deprivation contribute to the survival of species in an urban environment and the maintenance of intraspecific and interspecific contacts.


1. Licking the nose
Flickering tongue (Fig. 1)

Dogs very often use this signal when they want to show their discomfort in the situation, thus warning the observer (dog, person) that he does not like his actions, he should step aside The dog peacefully asks to change the situation, therefore, this behavior is referred to as reconciliation signals - signal generated by Turyd Rutos. Often means asking to calm down, aimed at a dog or person.

2. Licking the muzzle with a long tongue (Fig. 2)
The appearance and disappearance of the tip of the tongue a person may not notice, but there is a stronger option - licking and repeatedly the entire muzzle. Dogs also use this signal to express their insistent request or very often to calm their vis-a-vis - addressed to a person or another dog.

3. Yawning (Fig. 3)
Some individuals, when approaching a person, experience an internal conflict - to leave, to be scared or not to pay attention. At the same time, they exhibit characteristic behavior - they begin to yawn. Earlier, we described yawning as a signal of internal contradiction, nervousness, "a conflict between desire and possibility. T. Rugos describes this signal as a reconciliation signal calming another dog or person. The signal is very noticeable, but the person often incorrectly" reads it, Which leads to conflict. Dogs understand this signal very well and calm down when a person starts to yawn.

4. Looking away to the side (Fig. 4)
Thus, the dog signals the absence of aggression and confirms the peacefulness. Very often, this signal can be observed with a direct look of a person or with a camera hover, when the dog is embarrassed by persistent attention and is uncomfortable. After looking away, the dog can turn its head to the side and stand up if the vis-a-vis does not move away or turn away.

5. Turning the head
Turning the head to the side (Fig. 5, 6)

This is a very noticeable and strong signal. It can be observed when trying to photograph an animal even from a distance. Used when looking away did not work or went unnoticed - for example, the distance is significant. Dogs try to turn sideways in relation to the observer, lower their tail, turn their ears back, turn their heads and look away. When they approach a dog close or want to take a picture, it stops a person by giving him these signals.

6. Sniffing the ground
(Fig. 7)

It is also a strong and clearly visible signal, which indicates the absence of aggressive intentions - to a greater extent, a signal of reassurance, the meaning of which is "do not come, don't worry, you see, I am calm!".

7. Separation (Fig. 8)
A very strong signal: a third dog stands between two conflicting individuals in order to prevent conflict.

8. Slowing down the pace of movement (Fig. 9)
This signal is clearly visible, designed for a long distance. Dogs carefully look at each other, approach slowly, periodically turning their heads to the side.

9. Changing the trajectory of movement
With the initial direct movement, the dogs change direction and begin to approach as if sideways, in an arc.

10. Movement along an arc
Approach and approach along an arc

This calming signal is clearly visible from afar, showing a lack of aggression: animals approach, avoiding direct movement and gaze.

11. Long distance divergence
This is a signal of two dogs of equal strength, indicating a desire to avoid conflict. Animals slowly move away from each other, showing a mutual lack of interest and threat.

12. Acceptance of a sitting pose (fig. 10)
The dog sits down when another individual approaches, thus stopping or inhibiting its approach.

13. Stacking
The dog lies down to calm another individual.

14. Laying the head in the side of the object
The head is lowered on its paws

This signal is stronger: dogs show it when a simple laying did not help.

15. Slow approach to each other of two dogs (Fig. 9)
It is also a signal of lack of aggression.

16. Scratching, biting "fleas"

This strong signal indicates the discomfort of the dog, its excitement. Dogs begin to itch when they persistently approach an undesirable object or in a stressful situation. Moreover, before the creation of a conflict situation, the dogs of the entire flock can calmly lie.

17. Shaking
With the persistent approach of an undesirable object, the dog begins to shake. The signal may also indicate animal discomfort or stress.

18. Biting "fleas" from a partner
The signal of peace that dogs show to an object that they have a strong sympathy for. The dog bites non-existent fleas from another individual on different parts of the body, often in the head, neck. This signal is demonstrated exclusively in a comfortable animal environment. In our opinion, this is a pattern of the highest disposition and trust. The indicated sign of sympathy can be demonstrated to a person.

19. Relaxed tail waving
Another signal of friendliness. Dogs wave their tail tip, lowered below the back, which can be accompanied by other signals of reconciliation - lowered head, gaze, etc.

20. Tail waving from side to side
It is also an expression of friendliness. They can go into the wobble of the back of the body with a strong manifestation of feelings.

21. Slightly lowered tail
This is the so-called "question mark". The dog demonstrates peace, but does not know what lies ahead ("thought).

22. Open jaws
Peacefully tuned dogs open their mouths with the corners of the lips laid back, while the tip of the tongue is slightly protruded, the ears are laid back, and the eyes are covered.

23. Sipping (Fig. 11)
Strong signal; it can be observed after persistently approaching an undesirable object. At the same time, the dog can yawn or lick.

24. Lead ears up and back (Fig. 12)
The animal demonstrates this signal when meeting with another dog, a person; means peaceful intentions, often intended to calm another, more irritated individual.

25. Moving commissures back
This calming signal may be accompanied by the ejection of the ears back and the opening of the mouth. An animal often shows it to a familiar dog, puppies, person. Males - to a female in hunting. The signal is stronger than the previous one.

26. Licking the corners of the mouth with a partner
Strong signal of sedation; indicates a special location to another individual. Show adult dogs. Puppies usually beg for food this way or show their attitude towards adult dogs. Dogs often address this pattern to humans.

27. Forefeet
(Fig. 13.14)

Game tilt is demonstrated first by one dog, then another, or both at the same time. Unlike a game situation, a calming signal can last from a few seconds to minutes. Shows peaceful intentions and calms counterparts. At the same time, tilting dogs can turn their heads from side to side.

28. Turning the Head
Turning the head from side to side with a look away to the side. Soothing signal, can be demonstrated by an individual during a game tilt or by dogs standing opposite each other.

29. Softening the gaze
(Fig. 15)

This calming signal is expressed in the fact that the dog closes his eyes, lowers his eyelids. Eyes covered, indirect look.

30. Warning barking
When reconciliation signals do not help, the dog barks warningly so that it does not fit. After that, she usually goes aside.

31. Standing with your back to others (Fig. 16)
When they bother too much, the dog turns its back.

32. Sitting backs to others (Fig. 17)
To reassure the dogs that are playing, one can sit with their backs to them; this action helps even when dogs jump on this individual. Dogs run away to play with each other or lie down next to each other.

33. Standing sideways
This is a calming signal: when one dog approaches in a straight line, the other stands sideways to it, demonstrating peaceful intentions at a distance.

34. Turn sideways
To calm an overly active individual at close range, the other dog turns sideways to it.

35. Lowering the head
Dogs bow their heads when they want to show peacefulness, unlike an aggressive stance with their heads held high.

36. Suspense
A signal that shows calm and lack of fear, while calming and stopping.

37. Fading
A clearly visible signal: the dog stops and freezes in place. It can be in any position, not just standing.

38. Raising the paw
Dogs raise their paws when they want to demonstrate their calmness and unwillingness to attack. Often, the tail is lowered and the head is turned to the side.

39. Demonstration of an unprotected abdomen
(Fig. 18)

The dog lies down and raises its hind paw, it may still roll over on its back. Dogs demonstrate the same pattern to relatives in a very peaceful environment.

40. Laying on your back
A strong signal indicating submission in a game or in a fight, meaning "I give up." The conqueror loses interest in the conquered and departs. If the dog takes this position in advance, other dogs simply sniff it and walk away.

41. Smacking lips
Often accompanied by wrinkling of the nose, licking. Thus, the dog shows a strong disposition towards someone.

42. Smile (Fig. 19,20)
the corners of the lips are pulled back, the eyes are narrowed, the mouth is ajar, the ears are laid back. The signal indicates the highest degree of trust and disposition to the partner. Many owners have seen this expression of the muzzle in dogs, but not all dogs know how to "smile". Of our 20 dogs, only three showed this signal to humans.

43. Smile with a snort
Sometimes with a sneeze, one-sided or two-sided: lip-lifting, wrinkling of the nose. The dog wrinkles its face, pulls the corners of the lips back, opens its teeth, while sniffing, wagging its tail and the whole body low. At the same time can lick. In our opinion, this is a manifestation of the highest degree of enthusiasm, affection or the lowest request - for example, so as not to scold or let go of the chain.

44. Smirk (Fig. 21)
One-sided raising of the lip, while lowering the head and taking the ears back. Unlike a smile, it means "leave me alone," that is, the dog does not like attention.

45. Waving one or two paws
A signal that stops an action. Often means a question or perplexity. Usually it is shown by small dogs, often the signal is turned to the person. The dog runs forward and, standing or in a sitting position, waves its paw(s). Another option: stops a person, resting his paws on his legs.

46. Sniffing (Fig. 22 / 24)
Dogs sniff each other in turn. The most important signals of communication, reassurance, dating.

47. Sniffing nose to nose (Fig. 22)
Before sniffing, dogs slowly approach each other, followed by sniffing of other areas or diverging in different directions. Typically, two individuals show a pattern.

48. Substitution of the anogenital area for Sniffing (Fig. 23)
With raising the hind paw and / or laying on the back. The most peace-loving individuals raise their paws for the convenience of sniffing.

49. Trying to stop the satellite
Signal of an animal with uncertainty. The dog tries to stop the companion by standing across its path, or leaning on its hind legs, strikes with its front on the outgoing legs of the companion.

50. Poking the head under the arm of a man
The signal of appeasement, location. The dog approaches and, standing or sitting, palms his head under the palm of a man. She can first slip her nose and then her whole head under her arm, as if asking for a pat.

51. Rubbing his head against the head of another individual (Fig. 25)
This is a ritual of greeting. This pattern was previously described by E.S. Berezina as a greeting to the leader and confirmation of his status as the leader of the pack. One dog, regardless of gender, approaches the other and rubs its face and head on its head, gradually stepping forward. Often young dogs do this with a "smile from ear to ear", with wide open mouth and very energetic. Adult dogs endure, perceive calmly.

52. Support Pose
(Fig. 26 / 29)

The dog leans with a croup or sideways to another dog or to the leg, body of a person. It means approximately: "I have occupied you" or "support me." First described by E.S. Berezina in 2000. At the time of embarrassment or decision, the dog leans against any part of the body to another dog, animal or person. Can sit on your foot or lean. This behavior the dog often shows to the dominant or older individual, whom he trusts.

53. Movement "get up"
The dog is turned back and pushes the croup from bottom to top of the partner, prompting him to stand up. It may be a continuation of the pose of "seeking support." Often turned to a person and demonstrates a good mood, an invitation to the game.

54. Imitation of puppy behavior
It includes falling on the paws with the head bowed, ears laid back, licking the corners of the lips of another dog. Licking, appeasement.

55. Imitation of the pose of submission (Fig. 30)
Dogs demonstrate a pose of submission in different situations: in front of older relatives, in front of larger and more aggressive individuals, in front of the leader of the pack, while fawning, unwillingness to do anything.

56. Stood above and across (Fig. 34)
The dog stood above and across the other dog, showing dominance and threat. Lying dog demonstrates submission or signal of reconciliation. The aggression responds with calming signals: it rises sideways on outstretched legs, the muscles are tense, the ears are laid back as far as possible, the head is raised high and turned away from the vis-a-vis, the eyes are mowed toward the female, but they don't look directly, the corners of the mouth are laid as far back as possible, the mouth is ajar, breathing quicker. The dog can just stand still, can slightly shift from paw to paw. A male with normal socialization never responds to a female lunging. In conditions of deprivation, the socialization of animals is disrupted, they misunderstand each other, do not know how to respond to the signals of other individuals.

57. Turning the head to the side (Fig. 31)
A calming signal, indicating the absence of aggression, unwillingness to attack. Demonstrate males in response to a female throw. Females behave this way in relation to puppies.

58. Hunched back (Fig. 32)
Dogs in a critical situation for themselves try to become shorter, for which they lower their heads, crouch on their paws, and hunch their backs. Often the signal is shown in front of a large adult dog or person (owner).

59. Avoiding conflict
When relatives or lousy puppies bother too much, the dog leaves.

60. Round eye
The signal is shown by frightened individuals in an unclear, frightening situation, with a threat of attack. At the same time, the dog can feed the body slightly away from the dangerous object. Another dog sees this signal, calms down and does not attack.

61. Olfactory labeling
In our opinion, it can be considered as a warning or informative signal. Males regularly go around the territory - once or twice a day, females mark the territory at a distance of 20 - 50 m from their den. Often, female urine is labeled by raising the hind paw, usually this pattern is demonstrated by confident individuals. After olfactory labeling, males and females can leave marks with scrapers.

When studying the behavior of dogs revealed 18 signals of threats. Most of them are known to specialists and dog lovers, but people who are unfamiliar with the behavior of these animals become victims of their attack due to their own incompetence.

1. Rising hair on the nape and on the ridge
The dog threatens, shows a lack of fear.

2. Tension of all muscles
With the manifestation of aggression, the dog strains all the muscles of the body, ready to throw, his eyes are strained, straight, fear is absent.

3. Head held high
This signal indicates the absence of fear in the dog.

4. High raised tail
Dogs who do not want to give in and do not feel fear raise their tail high, demonstrating superiority, lack of fear.

5. Approach on outstretched paws (on coturnas)
Usually confident dogs with a high head and tail, a straight look, tense muscles and reared hair show up.

6. A strained straight look
The dog looks directly into the eyes, ears are directed forward. Perhaps an attack.

7. "Whale Eye"
Head sideways, a look from underneath. The signal is threatening, but at the same time warning.

8. Ears raised forward
A signal showing a lack of fear, attention.

9. Wrinkle-free muzzle
A self-confident dog does not wrinkle the skin on the back of the nose when growling and threatening.

10. Commissures are tense and brought forward
A signal of danger, approaching is dangerous.

11. A dropping growl
Expresses a threat. The sound becomes lower with increasing aggression, the absence of fear, becomes uterine with a maximum threat of attack.

12. Exposure of the front teeth when growling
It can be observed in the behavior of the dog with prolonged misunderstanding of the threat signals given by it.

13. Direct forward movement
Aggressive behavior, attack without warning. At the same time, a direct look is characteristic, a muzzle without wrinkles, a closed mouth.

14. Fast forward
Aggressive behavior, threat of attack without warning.

15. Throw forward
Lunge can be unexpected, after a tense posture or a quick direct movement. But a warning growl is also possible.

16. Rough low barking
Together with raised ears, a direct look warns of the threat of attack.

17. Pose of the winner
The dog stands above the enemy with his head and tail held high.

18. Standing above the partner, above the head, across the body (Fig. 33.34)
We are called "communication check", an attempt to show seniority or supremacy. Adult dogs growl for puppies for this and jump up, not allowing them to stand above themselves. Domestic dogs often demonstrate this pattern to a person, trying to stand above him when he is lying on the floor over any part of his body, including over his head.

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What we say to our dogs is important. How we say it is crucial. Different tones of voice are used to distinguish between commands, corrections, and praise. Commands are given in a firm, strong tone of voice. Be specific. When you want him off the couch, don't interchange commands like 'down' and 'off.' Make sure everyone at home uses the same commands. No chanting please. Corrections get a little lower, sharper and growlier. Praise is more exuberant and excited, pleasant, but not so exuberant as to incite him to wiggle out of control! All commands should be preceded by the dog's name. How else will Rover know you're talking to him? But even before that, you're going to teach Rover to look at you. Trace a line with your index finger from Rover's eyes to yours. As soon as he makes eye contact, talk to him and encourage him to sustain the eye contact for a few seconds with a "Good watch!" in a pleasant, upbeat tone of voice. You can also get Rover's attention by taking a little tidbit of food after letting Rover sniff it, moving the food up to your eye level. When Rover looks up, praise him and give him the food treat. Now that you have his attention, he is ready to listen.


Your dog's mother did not repeat herself over and over again. Neither should you. Once the dog understands what the command means, it should only be said once, "Rover, sit!" If he continues to sniff the air, or otherwise ignore you, it's "NO, sit!" and then if you must, place the dogging the sit position. When teaching a command for the first time, it is important to help the dog to be successful by luring him into the position. Dogs are not born with an innate understanding of words. They learn by associating words with actions.


Be consistent! You should only ask the dog to do one thing at a time. If you ask your dog to "Sit down," how is he to know which to do? "Sit" and "Down" are two different commands. Be specific with your commands. When you want him off the couch, don't interchange commands like "down" and "off." Make sure all family members are using the same commands, otherwise the confusion will delay training success. Above all, keep it positive. You're communicating and building a relationship. You work for rewards (salary, bonuses, commissions), so will your dog!


Now that you understand what your own body language means, use it to talk dog to your puppy. When you want your juvenile delinquent pup to straighten up and mind, or you want to encourage the shy pup to be more confident, just communicate with him like a canine. And nope, you don't have to wag your tail!


Assertive Signals
Use a calm, low-pitched tone of voice, and short clipped words. High-pitched upset voices can sound whiny and send the wrong signals that you are not in charge.

Use the same words for the same thing each time so your pup learns your language with repetition. He won't know that "wait" and "stay here" and "I'll be right back" or "don't move" mean the same thing to you. Choose one. Puppies thrive on routine. A clicker training technique works particularly well to communicate what these words mean.

Stand tall. Dogs in charge don't have to make a production out of it, they simply carry themselves like the boss. And everyone believes them so they don't have to prove it.

Dogs don't use hands to control other's movements they use body blocks, shove and lean, and control space. Think of the way a shepherd dog herds livestock and prompts sheep to move without ever touching. You can do the same thing, by using your body to control puppy movements. If he's leaping at you, simply tuck your hands close to your body and LEAN toward him before he leaps. You invade and control the space first and he'll back off.


Calming Signals
For shy pups, think of ways to relieve the angst the same way dogs do. A higher pitched, slow and soothing voice can tell the baby you're no threat.

Don't loom and lean over top of him. Crouch or kneel. Let the pup approach you rather than chasing after her. If you really want to pique puppy curiosity and show you're no threat, lie motionless on the ground.

If you must approach, curve in at an oblique angle instead of walking or running toward the puppy directly.

Lick your lips or yawn, while looking away.

Try a dog laugh. Sneeze and see of the pup sneezes back. Or mimic the unvoiced breathy "ha-ha-ha-ha" dog laugh sound that dogs use exclusively in play to say you mean no harm.






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"A dog will not bite when a simple growl will do."

Three Average Body Postures

Soft Body Language: Think wiggly puppy body language. The tail is neutral and soft and probably in a soft swooping wag. The ears will generally be neutral or back. The eyes will be soft, maybe even a little squinted.

Fearful Body Language: The tail is low and possibly tucked. The tail could be straight down in a fast, stressed wag. The ears are generally back and hackles may rise in excited fear. The head is usually held low and there may be some crouching. In more severe fear cases, fearful dogs may role onto their backs and/or urinate from fear. This is the ultimate 'no fight' communication from a dog. As fear escalates, dogs can move into either flight or fight response. In flight, the dog will be trying to exit in all directions in a panicked manner. If the dog cannot flight, fight may erupt with aggressive displays of teeth or vocals.DOG COMMUNICATION BODY LANGUAGE

If this happens with a fearful dog, as a general rule putting more distance between the dog and the scary object will calm the dog down. Never back a fearful dog against the wall or into a corner where he cannot escape.

Aggressive Body Language: The head will be very high, with ears forward/erect. The corners of the mouth will also be forward. If barking, you can almost see the 'O' formed with the mouth. Aggressive dogs will often lean their entire body weight forward, even standing on their front tip toes to make themselves appear larger. The tail will be erect. Hackles may appear.


Common Communications

Body Slamming - Body Checking: This is the way a dog will tell you 'no' or 'stop' or 'not there'. Body checking is a dog pushing/slapping you with his feet. This can occur in a broad range of circumstances. For instance, while you are sitting in a chair the dog jumps on your arm firmly and then immediately jumps away from you. This is not an act of love - had the dog's motivations been sincere, he would have jumped on you and wanted to continue to be close to you. In more pronounced body checking, the dog will jump with all four feet off the ground and make firm contact to the handler with two or more paws.

Head Flip / Whip: This is a rapid head movement aimed towards whatever is irritating the dog at the time. For example, while petting the dog may head flip to the touching hand if he does not approve of the petting. A head flip is not to be taken lightly, and if the dog should be put in a position where the first head flip is ignored, it can escalate into a head flip with a display of teeth. Generally with a head flip, the rest of the body language will be stiff. During a head flip you can often see the whites of their eyes as they are stiffly and rapidly whipping their head. They often will remain with their head and eyes staring at the irritant.

Shoulder Rub:
This is the canine behavior that is most often confused with loving action. Think how a cat rubs himself affectionately on his owners' legs. If a dog does this it is not affection but rather a warning. 'I am confident and I am not afraid to be close to you. The Freeze: As implied, dogs will freeze when they are contemplating their next action. Sometimes it's a split second and the dog is onto some other behavior. Sometimes the freeze will last until the object of the freeze modifies its behavior. For example, in resource guarding if the dog feels his resource is threatened, he may freeze, often moving only his eyes to follow whomever or whatever, he is being threatened by. He will remain in that freeze until the threat has passed. If the threat doesn't pass, this can escalate into display behaviors of snarling, growling, etc.


Other signs of stress:

Lip licking
Rapid panting
Dilating pupils
Widening eyes

Closing mouth

Signs of Calming
Soft, squinting eyes (ohh that feels so good!)
Sniffing the ground
Relaxed panting (think smiling dog)


A vocalization can mean a variety of things from 'I'm scared' to 'Let's play' to 'That's mine!' Keep in mind to read your dog's body language in addition to hearing the vocals to know what is going on in your dog's mind. Remember, the more you know and recognize these canine methods of communications, the better relationship you can have with your dog.

Understand Your Dog's Talking
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Amy Shojai

Talking Dogs, Dogs Talk

Dogs are social creatures that live together, and so they need a dog language in order to get along. How dogs communicate, what I like to call "dogma" - is based on a system of common signals. Your cute puppy's ancestors survived by forming packs that hunted together, communally protected young, and defended territory from outsiders. And while two individuals can get along, the more individuals added to a group increase the chance of arguments. Constant fights and injuries weaken the group. Survival depends on every dog-and puppy-in the group staying healthy and productive. Dog language not only allows dogs to communicate and understand each other. It also is a system used for conflict resolution, including calming signals that head off fights. In fact, once you understand how dogs communicate and the way they interpret your verbal and silent body language, you can learn how to talk to your puppy.

Talking Dogs, Dogs Talk

How Dogs Communicate
Canine communication is a complex system of sign language, vocalization, and even scent cues. These signals reinforce the dog's social position within the group. Dogs are pretty flexible with members of their family group. That's why it's so important to socialize your puppy early and continue throughout his or her life. Your dog considers you and other people and pets in the household to be a part of his family group, and acts accordingly.

Talking Dogs, Dogs Talk

Why Understanding Dog Language Matters
Most behavior problems arise from normal dog behaviors. For instance, eating poop and targeting things that smell like you for puppy chewing are normal dog behaviors. From your puppy's perspective, he's done nothing wrong. And when you get upset with him, he communicates the only way he know show with puppy language. If your relationship is to reach its full potential, it is important that you understand what he's saying so that you can teach him what you want. Don't expect puppies (or adult dogs for that matter) to automatically understand and read your mind. Puppies make behavior mistakes because they don't know any better.

Kinds of Canine Communication
Compared to your puppy, humans are hearing-deaf and scent-blind. That makes it impossible for us to understand some of these subtle signals of canine language. But by paying attention to the vocal cues we can hear and watching body language, we can learn to interpret the more obvious canine signals. Dogs evolved with an ability and fascination of paying close attention to the humans they love. So your puppy will meet you halfway, given a chance, and learn a large human vocabulary, particularly when words are used with consistency.

Understand Your Dog's Talking

Dogs use vocalizations, scent, and body language alone or in combination. Each type of communication has advantages and disadvantages. Sound carries over long distances. Howls, barks, yips, snarls, growls and more are included in the "dogma" repertoire. However, a bark may alert adversaries as well as pack members, so it's not effective for stealth communication. While a vocalization can only be sustained one breath at a time, a body posture can be held nearly forever. Dogs "talk" with their ears, eyes, body posture, fur elevation, tail semaphore and more.

Understand Your Dog's Talking

Scent signals don't require the dog's presence to get a message across. "Pee-mail" can be left behind for others to read the way people leave messages on the answering machine. Dogs use combinations of each technique to communicate meaning. Very basically, canine communication is used to either decrease the distance between individuals with signals that ask for attention a wagging puppy tail, for example or to increase distance between individuals with warning signals such as growls.

Teach Your Dog To Speak!
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Do you want to teach your dog to speak but don't know where to start?


Review these tips to have your dog barking on command in no time. One of the best things about being a dog trainer is showing off all the random skills my dog has been able to learn. It is best if your dog reliably obeys the common commands "sit," "stay" and "down" before introducing tricks into the vocabulary. Tricks should be considered extracurricular and taught when your dog is already well behaved. One of the easiest tricks to teach your dog is "speak".


Teaching your dog to bark on command allows you to control her vocalizations and begin the process of limiting her barking to only when you ask for it. Here are some tips:

1. Get Super Excited
To train your dog to bark, you need to get her excited. When you act a bit hyper and excited, your dog will match your enthusiasm level. Games that encourage excitement, such as fetch or tug, are good ways of increasing your dog's energy level.

2. Show Her You Have the Goods
Once your dog is energized, stop playing and grab an awesome dog treat. Reveal the reward and quickly and playfully hide it behind your back. If your dog whimpers, show her the treat again, or wave it in front of her face before quickly hiding it again.

3. Reward the Barking
Your dog's energy level, paired with your playfulness and reluctance to offer a desirable treat, will result in a bark. Typically a single bark will follow this sequence; as soon as she barks, offer the treat. If you have been using a conditioned reward marker like a click - clicker training is awesome! Or a "Yes," make sure you reward the correct behavior with your marker. Although it may sound silly, you can try to mimic the sound of your dog's bark with your own. If your dog hears you "barking", she may mimic your behavior.

4. Association
When your dog learns that barking is the desired behavior, you can start naming the behavior by saying, "Speak" right before she barks. Because dogs recognize hand signals better than words, you can add an unfamiliar hand signal to your command. I typically make my hand look like a mouth and open and close it rapidly while saying the command. If your dog knows that barking is what he should do, only a few associations will be needed before your dog learns the command.

5. Repetition
Repeating the above sequence and pairing the command/hand signal with the moment right before your dog barks will help him learn the command. Repeat the sequence a few times before trying the command without the prompting.

6. Take It to the Streets
Practice the command in a number of situations with a variety of distractions. If your dog is able to speak without the sequence, show your friends! It may even come in handy if you feel threatened and want your dog to bark. The speak command should consist of only a few short barks. Make sure there is a clear end point to this command; it should not just go on and on!

Teach Your Dog To Speak!

It may help by adding a phrase, such as No more," when you expect your dog to stop barking. If you do not give your dog a clear end to this command, you may find that your dog will feel that barking is what she should do even when she is not commanded. Even if it appears to be a command you will not use a lot, training your dog new things is a good way to keep her brain sharp. Increasing your dog's vocabulary assists in strengthening your bond while offering a fun new way to learn. Teaching your dog to speak on cue can be a fun trick as well as a useful behavior. It is easier to teach your dog to "quiet" when you put barking on a cue. You also can reward your dog for just one bark, as opposed to barking non-stop for several minutes. Plus it is an entertaining trick to show friends and family!

Find something that gets your dog excited enough to bark. This may be a favorite toy, ball or treat. If treats and toys do not work, try knocking on a door or ringing the doorbell.

Get him to bark by waving your object around excitedly and being exciting yourself.

As soon as your dog barks, mark it by immediately saying "yes" or "good" and reward with a yummy treat or play with the toy.

When your dog starts consistently offering a bark, add a hand and/or verbal signal to put the behavior on cue.

Do not reward barking unless you ask your dog to speak.

Try to capture only a single bark. You do not want "speak" to mean a barking frenzy.

Teach "speak" so your dog knows how to alert you that he needs to go outside.

By teaching "speak" and rewarding for the cued behavior, you can also modify the technique to teach your dog to whisper (bark in a lower tone) and/or be quiet on command.

Understand Your Dog's Talking
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Amy Shojai

Once you understand the language of dogs and what your puppy "says" with his barks, wagging tail talk and other body language, you'll know how to talk to a dog with effective puppy communication. Remember that your puppy is not a mind reader and what's "normal" behavior for people may be a totally foreign language and offensive to dogs.
dog and puppy infograms, infographics

Instead, you can use "dog talk" to get your message across. Humans are primates. We touch and hug, gesture with our hands, and when we get upset our tone of voice often gets louder and higher pitched. All of these things can be confusing or even threatening to puppies especially, but also to adult dogs.

dog and puppy infograms, infographics

5 Common Misunderstandings

Leaning over your puppy. We're taller than pups, and it's natural to lean down to talk or pet them. But "looming" over top of a dog intimidates him because in dog talk, this means "I'm the boss, I'm in control." That can be upsetting or even frightening to pups that already accept your status as the boss. They may use appeasement gestures such as submissive wetting to show they're no threat. Strange dogs that don't know you may become aggressive or defensive when you lean over them. They simply fight back what they think of as a challenge. Instead of leaning over top of the puppy, give him space so he can approach you. Turn sideways and crouch or kneel on the floor so your height and stance doesn't seem a challenge.

Staring with hard eye contact. Sure, she's a little doll-baby pup but direct eye contact also can be intimidating. Use the pup's own calming signals to tell him you mean no harm. Turn your head away and avert your eyes, and move slowly to give the pup time to build up courage to stand her ground or even approach.

Pats on the head.
Imagine you are puppy-size and a hand half the size of your whole body swoops down toward the top of your head-YIKES! Wouldn't you dodge and yelp, and run for cover, too? Instead, think how puppies and dogs meet each other smell communication with sniffs first, contact later. So offer your hand, palm down, for the baby dog to sniff the back of your fingers without risk of being grabbed. Then offer a scratch on the front of his chest or side of his neck. Avoid patting tops of puppy and dog heads until you know the pet very well and they've shown a good understanding of "human talk."

Hugging. For puppies and dogs, hugs are not a sign of affection. Our pets use clasping to grab and wrestle during play or fights, during mating behavior, or simply to show dominance. Forgo the hugging and teach your children alternate ways to show affection to dogs. Otherwise, the puppy may lash out in retaliation of what she perceives to be an attack.

Kissing.Yes, I know the new puppy seems to lick-lick-lick you all the time, sort of like a kissing maniac dawg. We often think of kissing as exclusively an expression of love and affection. But even among people, a kiss also can signify respect rather than adoration. Dogs and puppies show their love in other ways. Licking is instead used to show deference, respect, and a declaration that, "I am no threat." Subordinate dogs lick a more dominant dog or person's face or side of the mouth as an appeasement gesture. If you or your child try to mimic this doggy signal and "kiss" the dog on or near the mouth or eyes, in dog language this tells him that you're submissive to him. That could get you both into trouble. A large majority of dog bites target kid faces because the child hugged or tried to kiss the dog.

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Dogs and kids, puppies and children
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Talking Dog - Dog's Language Infogram

These signs indicate that your dog is uncomfortable with the current situation and there is a need for intervention to prevent pushing the dog to the point of biting, and to make sure your canine friend is happy and not feeling anxious.

One Paw Raised
This is very cute but the dog is not happy and does not want to be petted or bothered. She is worried.

Half Moon Eye
The dog just wants to be left alone. Watch for this one when kids are mauling the dog. This is a common expression in dogs that being hugged. If you see the half moon eye when the kids approach the dog or are interacting with the dog, it's time to intervene and give them all something else to do.

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language

Avoidance Behaviors
Sometimes dogs are more overt when they feel anxious and want to remove themselves from a situation. Please don't force a dog to stay in situation in which he feels anxious, especially if children are the source of his anxiety. Here are some examples:

the dog gets up and leaves an uncomfortable situation (he may bite rather than leaving one of these days)

turning head away

hiding behind person or object

barking and retreating

the dog rolls over on back in submissive way (please don't hurt me!)

Other Body Language Signs of Anxiety

tail between legs

tail low and only the end is wagging

tail between legs and wagging

tail down or straight for curly-tailed dog (husky, malamute, pug, chow chow, spitz-type dogs etc.)

ears sideways for erect eared dog

ears back and very rapid panting

dog goes into another room away from you and urinates or defecates (Please find a professional behavior consultant for help with this - search our directory)

Talking Dog

Signs of Arousal
These signs indicate that your dog is interested in something, or trying to decide on a course of action and is not receptive to attention, such as petting from a child and include:

ears forward
outh closed
eyes intense
body rolled forward
body tense
tail high (may or may not be wagging)
slow deliberate tail wag

Signs of a Happy Dog
Signs that indicate that the dog is receptive to attention or wants to play:

panting, relaxed, happy expression
body position relaxed
lying with one paw tucked under
enthusiastic tail wag
tail thumping on floor play bow (front end down, rear end up, tail wagging)

Signs of Imminent Bite
If these signs occur, cease all interaction with dog, look away and give dog the opportunity to leave, do not approach, do not make eye contact, do not talk to the dog. If you are touching the dog, stop and move your hands slowly away. If you are taking something from the dog, let go of it. It is better for him to keep it than for you or a child to get bitten. If you are bending over the dog, slowly straighten up and look away.

dog freezes - becomes suddenly stiff

dog stands with front legs splayed, head low, looking at you

dog curls lip to show teeth

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language

Signs of Aggression
If your dog shows signs of aggression then you should get help from a behavior consultant right away. Signs directed toward you or another person that indicate the need for professional help include the following:

guarding (dog's own possessions or resting area; favorite human's possessions) against family members or guests - this is a very dangerous situation - children are in immediate danger since they could inadvertently come between dog and a guarded area or object (dog may be continually expanding his guarded area or repertoire of guarded objects unbeknownst to you)

snap and miss (the miss was intentional and the dog may not miss the next time)


aggressive barking which is not stopped by your request for quiet

lunging on or off the leash, with barking or growling

bite (other than playful puppy nipping by a puppy, or accident during rough play)

dog raises tail when you or child approach (may not apply to breeds with naturally raised or curled tails - e.g. pug, husky, spitz-type breeds etc.) dog urinates intentionally in the house or on your possessions in your presence or in the presence of children or guests and shows other signs of pushy or aggressive behavior

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language

Stress / Discomfort
Nervousness Language

When dogs are stressed and nervous they exhibit many different kinds of behavior that either help relieve the stress they are feeling or appease a perceived threat. While dogs like humans, yawn when they are tired, they are also much more likely to yawn when they are nervous. Lip licking does not always mean a dog is hungry or has just eaten either, but is a very clear stress signal that is performed when a dog is nervous or experiencing fear.

Yawning can be a sign that a dog is tired, but it also signals stress

Lip licking or tongue flicking. Dogs lick their lips when nervous

Brief body freezing - the dog is still for a few seconds before reacting

Body freezing - the dog freezes until the threat goes away or he decides to use fight or flight

'Whale Eye' - the dog turns his head away but keeps looking at the perceived threat, showing the whites of his eyes

Head turn - the dog will turn his head away from a fear source as a gesture of appeasement

Furrowed brow, curved eyebrows - caused by facial tension

Tense jaw - the mouth is closed, and the dog is preparing for action

Hugging - a dog will gain comfort by holding onto his owner

Low tail carriage - indicates discomfort and uncertainty

Curved tongue - the tongue is curved at the edges from tension

Raspy, dry-sounding panting - nervousness reduces saliva production

Twitching whiskers - caused by facial tension

Shaking - caused by adrenaline release

Drooling - stress can also cause excessive salivation

Lack of focus - an anxious dog finds learning difficult

Sweaty paws - dogs sweat through their foot pads

Piloerection - the hair on a dog's neck and spine stands on end like human goose bumps, making the dog appear bigger while releasing odor from the glands contained in the dog's hair follicles

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language

Appeasement/Deference Language
Deference language is designed to appease a perceived threat, avoid injury and is crucial for survival. If the dog engages in non-threatening behavior this helps deescalate the negative intentions of another animal or human. Most appeasement behavior is extremely submissive with the dog lowering the body, making it appear smaller and less threatening. Socially appropriate dogs will respond positively to this deference while others often take advantage of what they perceive as weakness.

Head bobbing or lowering
Head turning
Averting eyes
Lip licking
Low Tail carriage
Tail tucked between the legs
Curved and lowered body
Stomach flip - the dog flips over quickly, exposing his stomach; he is not asking for a belly rub, but signaling that he is withdrawing from interaction

Curious/Anticipatory Language
Dogs are naturally curious animals and the more confident they are, the more they can deal with novelty and change. All dogs will size up any situation to ensure safety using the following language:

Head cocked to one side or the other

Front paw lifted - anticipating what will happen and what the dog should do next

Mouth closed - sizing up the situation in preparation for action

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language

Displacement Language
Displacement language helps the dog to self-calm and refocus attention away from them and onto something else. If a perceived or actual threat approaches and the dog is nervous or uncomfortable she will often indulge in behaviors that take the threat's focus away from what could be a negative intention. The threat's attention is diverted onto the behavior the dog is doing, like sniffing the ground or scratching and not actually the dog herself. These behaviors are often performed when the dog needs an outlet for their pent up energy or frustration, but can become compulsive if the outlets are not given. Displacement behaviors can result in compulsive behaviors including excessive spinning or licking

Nose licking
Chattering teeth
Shake off - dog will release stress and tension by shaking their bodies as if trying to get water off their backs.

Defensive and Offensive Language
When a dog has to defend herself from an actual or perceived threat she will demonstrate defensive or offensive language in order to keep herself safe. This language manifests itself in behaviors that encourage a threat to keep their distance. If the threat does not back away and the dog has nowhere to go, defensive behavior will turn offensive and the dog will bite. These behaviors are usually easy to recognize and understand.

Body leaning forward

Tense mouth

Lips pushed forward and vibrating as the dog growls

Air snapping - the dog snaps in the air to warn something to back away

Snapping with skin contact - also a warning to back away

Fast nip - an immediate bite and release with bruising or slight wound, telling a threat to back off

Deeper bite - a dog that bites with more intensity is intending to harm

Bite and hold - intent to harm

Bite, hold, and shake - intent to harm and potentially to kill. Some dogs will bite, hold, shake, and disembowel stuffed toys, simulating the killing of prey; while this is prevalent among dogs with high prey drive, even dogs with low drive can indulge in behavior of this type. If your dog likes to disembowel stuffed toys, this doesn't mean he wants to do the same with people or other animals. Sadie loves to disembowel toys, but she is incredibly gentle with people, especially children. Wagging tail - again, a wagging tail does not always mean a happy dog

Hard, staring eyes

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language

Relaxed Language
There is nothing better than being with a happy dog. The body is fluid and relaxed, the mouth is slightly open with tongue hanging to the side and all the signals a dog gives off communicate joy, confidence and a desire to invite play and attention.

Mouth slightly open, tongue relaxed and lolling to one side.

Small body freezes during play.

Play bow - this signal invites play and tells others that whatever action comes next is still just play.

Turning over, inviting belly rub - showing trust and enjoying social contact.

Relaxed facial expression.

Squinty or blinking eyes.

Tail wagging fast, either side to side or in a round motion like a helicopter.

Wiggling backside.

Dog Gestures, Dog Body Language

What does a wagging tail mean?
Tail wagging is a frequently misinterpreted signal. Most people believe that a wagging tail only means a dog is happy, which of course is often true, but some dogs also wag their tails when aroused, overstimulated and frustrated. You can usually tell the difference by looking at what the rest of the body is doing:

A confident or aroused dog will hold his tail in the air, allowing scent from the anal glands to circulate more freely and advertise his presence.

A dog that is wagging his tail but barking with a defensive body posture, tense face, and hard staring eyes is overly aroused and frustrated, which means that he should not be approached.

A tail that is held low or between the legs signals a lack of confidence, nervousness, or fear

A tail that is held high but wagged more slowly means that the dog is assessing a situation.

A tail that is extended and curved means that the dog is tense and ready to take offensive or defensive action.

A tail that wags around and around like a helicopter and is accompanied by relaxed fluid body movement and a wiggling bottom signals friendliness and a willingness to engage.

Research has shown that when a dog sees someone they like, his tail wags more to the right. When he sees an unfamiliar person, his tail wags more to the left. Subtle body language like this is easy to miss.



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