We’re very experienced at reading canine behaviour at K9 Patrol, our dogs are trained to the highest standards and we can usually spot if unfamiliar animals are acting in a passive or dominant manner. Getting to understand your dog’s behaviour and watching out for telltale signs of aggression can be a useful exercise, especially if you have just bought a pet for the family home. With that in mind, this next news feature provides an insight into the language of dogs, read it and get to know your pet better.
Specific K9 language to look for
Certain features of your dog will tell you if they are happy, playful or ready for a fight. We outline all of them here and show you the warning signs.
I’m a Happy Chappy
How can you tell if your dog is chilled and content? To begin their ears should be up but not pointing forward and their head should be reasonably high. Look at their mouth, it should be open with their tongue slightly exposed, and they should be adopting a loose stance. One other area to check is their tail. If everything else checks out, see if their tail is down and in a relaxed state. Tick all these boxes and you have a happy chap on your hands.
I’m now in alert mode
If your dog senses something, thinks a stranger is nearby or spots something they are interested in they will probably enter alert mode. It’s easy to spot this behaviour. Their ears will be forward and twitching, their eyes wide and their mouth is normally closed. They will stand tall on their toes and if you look at their tail it will be in the horizontal position, possibly moving ever so gently from one side to the other. In this mode your dog is assessing the situation and determining how to react.
I’m feeling aggressive
Various signs indicate if your dog is acting aggressively. Look at their facial features. The nose will be wrinkled, the lips curled in a snarl, their teeth and gums will be on show. They’ll adopt a stiff-legged stance and their hackles will be raised, plus their ears will be pointing forward. This is a sign that your dog is going to react if challenged. See another dog in a similar state and it’s best to keep them apart.
I want to play!
As well as placing a ball straight into your lap your dog will exhibit signs they are in a playful mood by taking a specific approach. Look at their front paws. Have they lowered their body and bent their forepaws? Are their back legs held high with their tail wagging wildly? Are their ears up, mouth open and tongue exposed? Spot these signs and it’s pretty obvious your little pal wants to play.
See, learning K9 language isn’t as difficult as you think. Just ask the dog experts!