ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Understanding canine body language.

Updated on October 19, 2015

Canines are great companions to have. Many different breeds are used for emotional support, therapy and service dogs. Some are trained to sniff out certain cancers and some can predict seizures. It is amazing how they are so intuitive with human beings.

As dog owners, we need to pay attention to our pups body language. That is how they speak to us and other dogs. We may not be able to predict how they are feeling, but you can get a good idea by studying them. You have to read their body as a whole, including their mouth, eyes and tail.

I'm sure you have heard of the stories where a small child was attacked and the parents say, "He was such a nice dog. He attacked without reason". That is usually not true. Dogs give us warnings, and it is always not obvious.

Prevent dog bites by teaching your children that dogs require space. Do not let them get into a dogs face, kiss them, hug them or tug on their ears or tail. You may think your dog is tolerant, but he could be giving off a silent signal. A wagging tail is often conceived as a friendly gesture, although that is not the case. Pay attention to how the dog is carrying their tail. If they have a docked tail, it is a little harder to distinguish. If you read the body as a whole, even a docked tail cannot fool you.

I'm a firm believer that if you own a dog, you should know how to speak it's language. I watch my dog like a hawk when she is around children, cats or dogs. A dog should never be around children unsupervised, I cannot stress that enough.

Teach your children to never approach a strange dog. Just because your pup is tolerant does not mean every dog is.


When I worked for my local humane society, I learned that body language is important. That knowledge has saved me many times from being bit. They have the fight or flight instinct, just like us. It was always heartbreaking to see how frightened and upset they were on arrival. Most dogs would cower or try to get away from us, until they understood we were there to help them. I was taught to NEVER take a signal lightly.

A frightened dog will bite, just as often as an aggressive dog. There have been dogs that have made me uncomfortable. I always trust my instinct, and I suggest you do too. I have rescued many dogs running down busy roads, and even some just taking a stroll through my neighborhood. Before I approach them, I try to assess their body from a distance. We may not always have the chance to do that, but try your best. It will prevent you from receiving a bite from an upset dog.

It does take some time to be able to clearly catch dog signals and body language. Practice makes perfect. It seems like once I learned how to read my dog, our relationship became stronger.

Teaching your dogs basic commands will help also. Dogs should have manners, and we have to teach them. Dogs thrive off of routine, persistence and positive reinforcement. My dog is very food driven, but maybe your dog has a special toy that it favors. Use that to your advantage for training.


I hope you have learned something new from this article. Knowledge is power. Utilize these tools and you have a far less chance to receive a bite. If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. I have always had a passion for animals. I like to help people out, especially with information about bite prevention. Please remember, all dogs can and will bite given the chance. From Teacup chihuahuas, to Great Danes, a bite is a bite regardless of breed and size. Dog bites are not limited to certain breeds.

Dogs are my favorite domesticated animal. I have learned a lot to help them, and I have learned from them. I love cats also, but they are slightly harder to read considering my cats always look disgruntled. Even when they are happy.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)