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If you have a sweet pup pal as your own, I am very jealous of you. I grew up with dogs so now that I live by myself away from home, I really miss having furry friends around. Where I am in South End, there are tons of dogs… and I mean TONS! Just walk on the Rail Trail on a nice day and you’ll see.

I have noticed though that a lot of people don’t know enough about how to read their dog’s body language. Dogs are social animals, of course, so sometimes you might know they are trying to tell you something, but you might not know exactly what.

Use these tips from the experts at American Kennel Club:

  • Tail wagging means they are emotionally aroused, but this doesn’t automatically mean they are happy. It’s important to pay attention to the speed and direction of the wagging. If the wagging is faster, almost like twitching, your dog might be feeling anxious, or like they need to be on alert. Also, dogs on alert are more likely to wag their tail to the left.
  • Raised fur on the shoulders or back of a dog could mean they are stressed or upset, but it could also mean they are interested or excited about something. This reaction is similar to what goosebumps are to us, so this is involuntary. When you see this, pay attention to possible stimuli.
  • A raised paw can often indicate that your dog is insecure or uneasy about something in the environment.
  • Where a dog’s weight is distributed is important. If they are placing most of their weight to the front of their body, this indicates they are interested in something, as if they want to get as close as possible. But, if their weight is shifted back, like they are trying to get as far away as possible, this could indicate stress.
  • If your dog doesn’t make eye contact with you, they could be stressed. If you ever see the whites of your dog’s eyes come out, it could also mean they are anxious or stressed. An intense stare from a dog could be a threat.

How well can you read your dog?

Source: American Kennel Club

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