Dog Body Language - Sam, Say What?

by Rena Murray - Date: 2006-12-05 - Word Count: 515 Share This!

Dog body language is very simple to translate when you take a few minutes to observe basic actions. Let's start with how Sam uses his dog behavior body language to tell you when he is unsure, insecure, and scared.

If Sam is insecure, his tail will be between his legs, and his head will be down, as he tries to avoid eye contact. His ears will be slightly back and down.

If he is unsure, he may crouch with a slightly wagging tail. Sam is neither trying to be friendly at this moment, nor is he making a threat. He is trying to decide what action is appropriate to take - fight or flight. You cannot pamper him at this moment, or he will stay in the half-way mode. He has to figure it out on his own.

Sam's fur may also be up as he is sniffing you. Fur up with no teeth displayed just means that Sam is uneasy. Let him relax on his own. You cannot do that for Sam. He must do it. If you pet him at that time, he WILL react - with either a snap, or moving away (avoidance).

If Sam approaches you with his ears back and tail wagging, he is happy and eager to greet you. Ears back means the dog is submissive and presents no threat.

If Sam is terrified, his ears and head will both go down. His tail will curve slightly under with the tip touching his belly.

Okay, is Sam going to bite?

If Sam is going to do a warning bite, he will stare you down then do a sudden nip. He may bite suddenly if touched when nervous. If you see his lips twitch with a display of one canine, he is giving you a warning of his insecurity, or he is saying that he does not trust you. Do not touch!

If Sam is going to do an aggressive attack, his ears will go forward and he will lunge with all canine teeth bared. Trust me - That is clear!

One other way dogs bite is when they are claiming something. That is a dog dominance aggression situation. They are using their teeth to control. For example, you reach for the bone, and he bites you because of it.

If you receive a dog bite, let the dog complete his bite action. Then you will usually only have a puncture wound. If you pull your hand back in the middle of the bite, though, you can have a deep, jagged rip that leaves an ugly scar.

The most common way dogs share affection with one another is eye contact. Those quiet times when Sam is lying at your feet and suddenly stares intently into your eyes that is one of the deepest ways dogs display love for one another. He truly loves you.

Spend special time each day watching your Sam. Learn his language. Then when confronted with another dog, remember the importance of reading dog body language. Determine from the dog's body language behavior if the he is insecure, frightened, aggressive, or invitingly friendly before you pet him, and avoid unnecessary dog bites!

Related Tags: dog body language, reading dog body language, dog behavior body language, dog bites

GET HELP from Rena Murray at the Dog Obedience Training website. An accomplished Dog Behavior Modification expert, Dog Obedience Trainer, and Platinum Expert Author, Rena provides self-help Articles and free "Best Ezines"-recognized newsletter: PAW PERSUASION POINTERS to help you better understand communication and control of your dogs, debunk dog training myths, explore right and wrong dog training techniques for specific situations, address destructive dog behavior, excessive and obsessive dog behavior, and other canine issues, from new puppy to old dog. Subscribe for free at, visit Rena's BLOG -, find the dog products, crates, and gifts you need at, and Contact Rena for Coaching

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