Not many of us speak dog and I have never met a dog that speaks English or any other human language. So how do you know what your dog is saying to you? Anthropomorphism, the relating of human emotions to dogs (and other nonhuman entities) is a major player in the miscommunication between dog parent and fido. As humans, we often think our dog feels guilty, shameful, or even jealous. So what is Fido really saying? He is talking but you are not listening, or actually not reading his body language or facial signals.
Happy Dog: This is the “Social Butterfly”. This dog will have a relaxed face and mouth, his tail will be wagging, to the right, another signal that your dog is comfortable with new people (you will have to watch in slow motion). His eyes will be soft, he will approach you for an affectionate back scratch. This dog has been properly socialized from a young age and/or is a breed that is particularly known for being non-aggressive, confident, social butterflies.
Shy Dog: This is “Mr. Cautious”. This dog will not approach you, may look timid or even uneasy. The tail carriage will be low or even between the legs, he will not make eye contact, or will have “whale eye”. Whale eye is when you can see the whites of a dog’s eyes. The dog is too afraid to look at you and at the same time, not sure if he should take his eyes off of you, so you can see the whites of his eyes. Do not approach this dog. With some time, and some awesome liver treats, I am sure the dog will warm up to you. It is important to work on building confidence and remain 100% positive with this type.
Angry Dog: This is “I don’t like it”. This dog will have a stiff body, a hard stare, tensed mouth, will be in a crouching position and may even give a low growl. Opposite of the Happy Dog, his tail will wag to the left. This is dog is actually using the right hemisphere of the brain which controls emotions. Do not approach this dog. The dog is perceiving you as a threat and will go into flight or fight drive. Sometimes a fearful and angry dog language can look the same so it’s best to give any dog that exhibits this behavior their space. The fearful dog can easily switch over to angry dog and the best way to prevent a bite is to recognize all the body language and keep a safe distance.
Dog language can often be hard to read and sometimes confusing. Take time to gauge how a dog is feeling and how to react appropriately so both of you are comfortable. I promise, take time and be patient, and Fido will appreciate your consideration of his feelings.
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Naples Top Dogs
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