LEARNING YOUR PUPPY’S BODY LANGUAGE

Sometimes it's hard to know what your dog wants and needs.  The best way to figure out what you puppy wants is to try and read its body language.  The best way to do this is to simply observe.  Watch you dog as he plays and how he interacts with other dogs.  Watch different parts of his body and notice what he does.

What the tail tells

The tail is often the best indication and the easiest way to recognize the mood of your puppy. Rapid and loose tail wagging usually means excitement.  When a puppy wags his tail slowly and stiffly, in line with the back, he is expressing anger. 

When his tail is clamped down low and tucked between his legs is a sign of fear, while a nervous dog will wag his lowered tail stiffly.  Of course some dogs carry their tails clamped down naturally, but more often than not the tail is a good way to judge a dog’s disposition.

Looking angry?

Facial expressions and ears are also a good way to sense your puppy’s mood.  When they are perked up and alert it means he is interested and curious about what is going on.  They will be flattened when he is afraid, submissive, or expressing pleasure.  If his eyes are wide open he may be playful or aggressive. 

All in all, the best way to read your dog's body language is to just observe how he acts.  Notice when he is being aggressive or playful and notice his tail, eyes, and ears.  These are the most common and easiest ways to tell how your puppy is feeling.

Your Dog’s Expressions

Your dog’s posture can also read a lot about how your dog feels.  A dog standing tall or rolling over and exposing his belly is often a sign that he is confident.  By exposing his belly he is trying to reassure a shy dog, or trying to get him to play. 

A submissive dog will usually have a lowered head or turn their head away from the more confident dog.  They also might roll on their back while turning away and having their tail tucked on their underside. 

When dogs play their faces will be relaxed and their lips will be covering their teeth, not in a snarl as if they were about to fight. 

Often when a dog is inviting another dog to play they will do what is known as a play bow.  This is when the dog has its hind end raised in the air and lowers their front end to the ground.  They will have their ears forward and attentive and will have their mouth open in a sort of grin.  This is a signal that the dog wants to play.

Sometimes while playing, dogs will mount each other.  This is often not a sexual mounting, but can be a way to show dominance or just a way to bond.  Many times dogs will mount each other in an attempt to find where they fit in the pack. 

If your dog gets too excited or if another dog gets too excited, you might want to separate them for a little bit.  You don't want your dog or another dog to get overwhelmed as this may lead to fighting.  If you notice this happening just intervene and give them a short break.  Remember this is not a punishment; it's just a way to give them a little bit of breathing room.