Understanding Dog Language

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When looking at dog's eyes, pay attention to the white part of the eye the sclera , and consider the focus and intensity of the dog's gaze. When a dog is feeling tense, his eyes may appear rounder than normal, or they may show a lot of white around the outside sometimes known as a "whale eye". Dilated pupils can also be a sign of fear or arousal—these can make the eyes look "glassy," indicating that a dog is feeling threatened, stressed or frightened.

Understanding Dog Language - 50 Points by Aude Yvanès

A relaxed dog will often squint, so that his eyes become almond-shaped with no white showing at all. A relaxed dog will likely have his mouth open and may be panting, with no facial or mouth tension.


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The corners of his mouth may be turned upward slightly. A fearful or tense dog will generally keep his mouth closed, and may pull his lips back at the corners also known as a "long lip". He may also be panting rapidly. A panting dog who suddenly closes his mouth in response to something in the environment may also be indicating increased stress. Drooling when no food is present can also be a sign of extreme fear or stress. A dog displaying a physical warning may wrinkle the top of his muzzle, often next pulling his lips up vertically to display his front teeth.

This Doberman is displaying this behavior, called an "offensive pucker," while standing over a bone. Her muzzle is wrinkled and the corner of her mouth is short and forms a C-shape. This warning often comes with a tense forehead, hard eyes note her round eyes with a lot of white showing, and the fully dilated pupil. This dog was also growling when the photo was taken—all very clear warnings to anyone approaching that bone.

Some dogs display a "submissive grin" or "smile". This is also a gesture where a dog shows his front teeth, but a smiling dog is doing just that.

He usually shows a lowered head, wagging tail, flattened ears, a soft body posture and soft, squinty eyes along with those teeth. Sign up to receive our emails today. Get more pet care advice, hints and tips on helping wildlife, our latest news, rehoming success stories and more directly to your inbox. Sign up to emails today.

How To Read Your Dog's Body Language

If you are concerned about your pet's behaviour, contact a behaviour expert. Telltale indicators include destructive behaviour, unwanted toileting or reports of barking. Share this Print Understanding dog behaviour. Understanding dog behaviour.

A happy dog A dog who is happy will be relaxed 1. Whether it was a stressful day at work or a fight with your significant other , your dog will pick up on how you feel — and feel it, too.

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Becker says. A little love goes a long way. If she's eliminating on the floor, chewing the furniture or running circles around the coffee table, your dog is probably trying to tell you she needs more activity in her life. This is particularly true for active breeds, such as herding or hunting dogs.

Your Guide To Understanding Dog Language

You can't take an animal that's used to running eight miles a day, put it in an apartment, and expect it to be OK. If your dog's destroying stuff, he's saying, 'I'm bored, you need to give me something to do.

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Becker says you can also play mental games to keep your pooch entertained. Make her play search-and-seek games for her food or even use food puzzles that she has to solve before her meal is dispensed. While most dogs are going to bark for a few minutes when you leave the house — just to let you know you're forgetting someone — some dogs have a much more serious reaction.

It's like the kid lost at the mall without his parents," Dr. They think you're not coming back. They often attack the area where you leave; they'll tear up the doorframe, they're destructive.

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If you come home and they've had diarrhea or [are excessively] panting, their cortisol levels are high, and you have to take action. Becker recommends speaking with a dog behaviorist to receive a training program and possibly a canine antidepressant. To help assuage the trauma associated with your departure, you can try training intervals. First, put your coat on, grab your keys and go stand outside for 30 seconds.

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Come back in, and then go out for one minute, then five, and build from there. It's also helpful to give your dog a treat or a toy before you leave to keep him distracted. It's a hard phenomenon to explain, but many dogs seem to be able to detect illness in their owners. Research shows that some dogs can actually detect a wide array of serious conditions, including seizures related to epilepsy.

For people with epilepsy [about to have a seizure], they can alert their owner so they can get out of harm's way. Often, these dogs become therapy dogs , providing affection to those in need, while also sensing — and being able to react to — health problems.