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Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language




Puppy Behavior

We’d all love to be able to talk to our pets properly and actually get a response when we ask them questions (you know you’re guilty of it). 

As a man’s best friend, dogs do eventually learn to understand certain words or phrases said by their owners. But how can we, as humans, start to understand them? 

It all comes down to body language. In this article, we’re sharing with you a few different gestures your dog will make and what they mean. 

Appeasement Gestures

Appeasement gestures are certain movements or signals your dog gives to show they come in peace. These types of gestures can be toward both humans and other animals. They include things like licking their lips, yawning, sniffing, and averting their gaze. 

For example, if you’re in the park and another dog is approaching, your furry companion might avert their gaze and lick their lips to show they mean no harm. 

You might also notice these gestures when you’ve told them off. Dogs will often use appeasement gestures as a distraction from their bad behavior or to tell you they’re not a threat.

Ready to Play 

If your dog is stretched out in a play bow formation (front paws stretched out, with their back dipped), they’re ready to play. They might jump around, wiggle their bottom, and rapidly wag their tails. 

You should play with your dog every day. When in the park, you might see your dog running over to a new friend with a ready-to-play attitude, so you shouldn’t worry and shout at them as they’re not looking to fight.  


When your dog is feeling anxious – for example, when around strangers or new surroundings – they will typically lower their head and stretch their neck out. 

Another tell-tale sign is their tail. Anxious dogs will often tuck in their tail. You may also feel like your dog is giving you serious puppy dog eyes. 

In times of anxiety, you should try to comfort or distract them. They may be overstimulated, so try not to provoke them, as this will only make things worse. 

Dogs can often feel anxious when going to the vets or groomers. It’s like they know what’s going to happen next. To make this easier, you should find a friendly vet and groomer – like Exceptional Pets Maricopa – and stay during the appointment. That way, they will know they’re still safe. 

​Needing the Toilet

If it’s your first time having a dog, it can be difficult to know the signs that they need the toilet. 

Simple signals such as waiting by the door or trying to get your attention are easy to detect. They might also whine or bark, sniff around the room or circle the area. It’s a general feeling of unsettlement that will let you know what they need. 

As the bond with your dog becomes stronger, you will easily be able to spot their gestures and body language changes. Owning a dog is a huge learning curve in terms of caring for them, but it will also be incredibly rewarding.

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