Reading Your Dog's Body Language
Since dogs can’t talk to us, they have to rely on other ways to communicate with us such as vocalizations, body gestures, and postures. They have to rely on these communications to let other dogs and people know how they are feeling, especially if they feel stressed, frightened or threatened. They hope by communicating this way it will diffuse the situation and at the very least, they hope they won’t get in trouble.
Since we can’t always read our animals body language accurately, we must learn to read each animal individually. Dogs are just like people in the regards that they have their own individual personalities and they don’t express themselves in the same manner. While one dog wagging its tail might be happy to see you, another dog wagging its tail might mean that it is anxious or nervous.
If a dog is getting increasingly concerned about the situation it finds itself in, its behaviour will begin to change. As the dog gets more concerned about the situation it’s in, its behavior will change. When a dog tucks its tail under its belly, it might be frightened. When the dog reacts by growling, snapping or biting, it’s telling you that it wants to be left alone! Since there is no way of predicting whether or not a dog will bite you based on its breed or size, always pay attention to the behaviour of the animal.
Next time you’re around a dog and go to play with it, really observe it and ask yourself the following questions. Is the dog happy and showing you attention? If the dog is relaxed and friendly, and seems happy to see you, it’s probably in a good mood and will want your attention! If the dog is avoiding you and generally staying away from you, it’s probably best to leave it alone. If the dog seems nervous, or seems to be staring at you, you’ll definitely want to stay away.
Just remember, never try to interact with a dog that isn’t your own without first asking the owner. The owner will help you to understand the pet’s mood and decide whether that is a good idea or not. Better safe than sorry!
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