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  • Writer's pictureHeidi Kumpulainen

Dogs Body language and how to read it? Posture

Just like us humans-dogs exhibit body language and that can give us pet owners and pet sitters valuable information about how they are feeling. But they way dogs portray body language can be very different from us.

Dogs communicate with barks, growls and whines and it's important to know what each of those sounds mean. More often dogs rely on non verbal communication.


Posture: How can you recognize fear or stress in dogs? Often their posture and how they carry themselves can tell you a lot: A dog that's covering dog that's hunched to the ground. the dog is trying to make themselves smaller and sending a message" I mean no harm" An extreme of this behavior is a dog rolling onto their back exposing their belly. This is a sign of extreme stress in dogs.

The opposite of this posture is a dog shifting their weight forward: This means the dog is interested in something but it can also be a sign of offensive intentions especially, if the behavior is paired with a tail twitching head high. The dog is trying to make themselves bigger in size.





If your dog raises their paw it means they are uncertain of a situation. Altough some breeds like setters and pointers raise their paws where the dog indicates nearby prey.


Facial Expressions: Surprisingly, when a dog yaws it doesn't mean they are tired. They use yawing as a method of calming themselves down in a stressful situation and they also yawn to calm their owners down. If you are taking your dog to the vet you can yawn at them and it can relax and calm them down.

But your dog might just yawn back at you-After all yawning is contagious!

If your dog is licking it's lips it's a sign of stress or discomfort in a situation.

Smiling dogs also display their front teeth and this expression is often found on a a loose and wiggly dog. This expression means" I come in peace".


Eyes: Eye contact is a very important signal for dogs.When a dog is stressed they will look away from a human or the situation. Often, people interpret this as their dog ignoring them or being stubborn, but the dog is expressing discomfort. Looking away is meant to calm the situation. When a dogs eyes are soft it's an indication the dog is calm and happy. Hard eyes where the dogs stare goes cold means a negative state of mind.


Raised Hackles: Raised hackles means the hair along the dogs back is raised up.echnically called piloerection, the fur can fluff up across the shoulders or down the back and all the way to the tail. This is a definite sign that the dog is aroused, but not necessarily in a negative way. The dog might be upset or stressed but could also be excited or intensely interested in something. It’s often an involuntary reaction, like goosebumps in people.


Your dog is communicating to you all the time. The more you understand the signs of their communication, the deeper your bond with your dog will become. Often the signs of communication is paired with one another so when reading your dog look at their eyes, their posture, their tail and their facial expression.

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