Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Baark! On: Are you Paw-lingual? Part I.

How to be Paw-lingual: Understanding your dog’s body language.

Just what is your dog is trying to tell you? A dog uses body language as his primary form of communication. This week’s column will take a brief look at the body language of dogs. Consider a dog’s eyes, ears, teeth, tail and head position they all play a big part in the overall nonverbal communication of your dog.

Let’s start from the top.

Ears: A relaxed dog has ears sitting in their natural position. Ears flattened to the side of the dog’s head usually indicate a frightened or submissive dog. When your dog is feeling interested in things his ears will perk up and point toward the sound or object that interests him.  If your dog is feeling aggressive his ears will be very pointed up and focused forward. When your dog’s ears are slightly pulled back, this indicates he is feeling sociable.

Eyes: Staring with narrowed eyes usually indicates aggression in a dog. A dog that is feeling anxious will have slightly narrowed eyes, while a dog that is ready for a chase will have wide open  and alert eyes.

An excited and alert dog ready to play
Mouth and teeth: A relaxed dog will let his tongue slightly hang out of his mouth. An aggressive dog will bear his teeth and wrinkle his nose.  Excitement in a dog is often seen with a wide open mouth and perhaps even some panting.

Body Positioning: Dogs will try to appear smaller if they are in a submissive mode by crouching low to the ground or lowering their head. If the dog is in a relaxed state his body will appear as normal size. If feeling aggressive your dog will try to appear larger, by tensing his muscles and leaning slightly forward ready to lunge.

Tail: When your dog is happy and ready to play their tail is in an upright position, wagging with energy. If your dog is feeling submissive he tucks his tail between his legs. An aggressive dog has a tail that is held rigidly behind him ready to spring if needed.

Learning to interpret dog’s body language will enhance the bond between yourself and your dog and in the end make your home a happier and healthier place for all involved.

Please spay and neuter your animals.
By ensuring your animal cannot produce more litters you are saving lives and decreasing the suffering of unwanted animals.  Please consider donating or helping with Baark!’s efforts to improve animal welfare in the Bahamas.
For more information contact us at or (427-SPAY) or visit our website

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