Learn To Read Your Dog’s Body Language

Have you ever found yourself completely confused by the interacting dogDogs Body Language behavior as your dog communicates with another dog?

Sometimes it can be frustrating not knowing whether to go in and stop your dog’s activity or let go on.

Most people misread their dog’s behavior and yet it’s actually quite simple when you know how! Knowing whether your dog is happy playing or feeling distressed makes a big difference to how they socialize with other dogs.

There are actually many signs to look for. You just need to know what they are and then you will recognize them.

Dogs can read each other naturally, but for us humans it’s not that easy. We have to learn to understand the different body language and signals they use.

Here are some key gestures you can watch out for to understand what your dog is thinking.

Dog’s Body Language Key Gestures

The Head Over: placing their head over the back of another dog’s neck.

The dog will place their head over the back of another dog’s neck. This is a dominance behavior and the dog is stressing the dominance over another dog. This is neither good nor bad but some dogs may not be happy being dominated so they will clearly make known they’re disapproval.

Returning To Play: a dog returning to play more with another dog.

This is a sign that suggests when a dog returns to play more with another dog, this dog is happy. Too often this simple behavior is overlooked by most dog owners. For example, a dog may appear they are not enjoying being dominated and pushed around but in reality is happy and continues to come back for more! If the dog were unhappy they would likely stay away.

Lifting One Paw: the dog stands still on three legs.Dog Lifting One Paw

Standing on three legs with one paw in the air is a submissive behavior and lets you know the dog is non-threatening. The other dogs may react in a number of ways but it is usually a good sign.

Hair Stands Up: the hair on the dogs back goes up.

When the hair on the dogs back goes up very often people think this means that the dog is being aggressive or going to be aggressive. However, it can also be excitement. This means the dog is very alert because they just love playing with other dogs. Keep alert to your dog’s behavior and don’t panic.

Spinning Dog: the dog completes a complete spin.

The dog spinning will almost always mean he is very happy and is trying to encourage you to play with him. If a dog turns their back on another dog it shows that they are relaxed and not frightened.

How To Get Your Dog To Become Submissive

There are a lot of things to look out for. Some more obvious than others. One of the best places to learn how to read dogs is Doggy Dan’s website The Online Dog Trainer. Dan even offers a 3 Day $1 trial for the site that you can take advantage of, so I suggest the next thing you do is take a look at the site!

The Online Dog Trainer is an excellent source of learning with a lot of great tips. You not only learn how to interpret your dog’s behavior but also how to stop unwanted behavior on dogs and puppies.

Here is an excellent example of Doggy Dan’s work. This video demonstrates the dog behaviors as mentioned above and much more:

You can get access to over 250 videos inside for only $1 now for a 3-day trial. So if you really want to have a dog you can be proud of then take advantage of this offer now.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and if you have any questions or want to leave your own personal comment, please do so below.

16 thoughts on “Learn To Read Your Dog’s Body Language”

  1. I think the statistic in humans is that 75% plus of all communication is non verbal and, despite that fact, body language is still one of those things that is overlooked when it comes to communication even though it is clearly very important. I personally have a dog, and many of the insights you gave in your article, I hadn’t known before. What was especially informative for me, was the one where the dogs hair standing up can actually mean excitement, I always thought it tended more on the aggressive side.

    Thanks for an informative and eye opening article 🙂

  2. I don’t have a dog myself so I had no idea that their behaviors can have so many different meanings. This is especially true for the part where dogs keep coming back. I thought the dogs are just being aggressive and trying to see who is the stronger dog. It turns out that it enjoys the other dog’s company. I also thought that having a dog lay their head on top of another dog’s neck is a sign of friendship. Boy am I wrong. That’s a sign of dominance. I will keep my eye out for that sign from now on. I like the lifting paw one too. It means the dog is being friendly in general. I’ve see that one personally before. Thanks for the tips and ideas.

  3. i love your site and I really have a question. There is any way to make my dog not to be aggressive with another male dogs? I forgot yo tell you, i have a male chocolate Labrador and when he was about 1 year young, he was bitten by a pit bull. Do you think this is the reason now he doesn’t tolerate any male dog? With the humans and the females dogs is the sweetest thing in the world:)
    Can I do something about it now when is 4 years old?
    Thanks for sharing:)

    1. Hi Cristina,

      I understand your concern. It appears your Labrador had a negative experience with another dog which may be why he is aggressive. There are different types of aggression, from dominance to fearful. And because dogs think they are pack leaders they become fearful and attack to protect you or themselves.

      Doggy Dan demonstrates in his videos on how to stop dog aggression by convincing your dog that you are the pack leader and not them.

      There’s much more information in helping dogs regarding aggressive behavior in Dan’s website plus more..I hope that helps.

      Thank you so much for your comment.

  4. Thanks for the information, I recently became a dog owner and have noticed my dog doing some of these gestures. I am amazed how smart dogs are, my little chihuahua plays with her toy all the time. I learned that her favorite color is yellow because she only likes yellow toys lol. When she behaves badly we know because she acts timid when she sees us.

    1. Hi Peter,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad to know this information will help you with your new little chihuahua.

      All the best. Hvae a great day!

  5. Hi Rosa,
    My sister for all of her adult life has owned dogs- usually Norwegian Elkhounds. Several times a year with one of the dogs who prefers not having to go to a kennel when my sister goes on vacation I go over to their house to take care of this dog – Hana. She has personality issues, (my sister with her experience at having dogs believing that Hana is OCD), is quite afraid of thunder/lighting storms, and can be hyper at times. However at times she is also very docile.

    I have gotten to know her well and many of the things you mentioned as far as a dog’s body language I immediately recognized. The funny thing is that Hana – 10 years old is half the size of the other dog, Nicolas who is 3 years old. Something which my sister has always told me, Hana rules over Nicolas – although if they fought she would get wiped out. Hana is very dominating to Nicolas who despite his size actually has a very sweet personality – although he can be rambunctious at times. From what I understand that is how it is in the dog world – the females being domineering.

    Your article is extremely useful to the first-time dog owner who might not understand some of the body language movements that you discussed, especially with the recommendation of the training/educational videos.


    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad you found this information useful. I appreciate you stopping by.

      Have a great day!

  6. Hi, I found this post to be very interesting. I have often seen a dog with their head resting on another dogs neck and just thought it was being affectionate. This is the first time I actually realize it is a form of dominance.

    Really enjoyed the post it was very informative.

  7. I have a sister-in-law who was so frightened of dogs, having not been around them at all while young. She has improved and is less fearful now, but I think your site would have helped her greatly, especially this post about body language!

    We got three pups from my mother-in-law. The three of them together made it impossible to train them. When we finally were down to one pup, having sold the other two, the one we kept did not learn to fetch or speak. No matter what we did, she would not learn this. She was a Border Collie, possibly mixed with Aussie. They are usually so smart. Maybe it was because we were not the Alfa-dog to her, since she had two sisters originally with her. We were never sure.

    1. Hi Lynne,

      You are correct about the Alfa. Dogs need to learn and understand that you are the Alfa, the pack leader. Once they understand that you are in charge, they are relaxed.

      Thank you so much for your comment.

  8. That’s a great article on the body language of dogs! I must admit, I have two dogs and have never thought about reading their body language. But it all makes total sense! I think I might have to watch my dogs a little closer and look for some of the key gestures you mentioned.

    1. Hi Elsa,

      Understanding your dog’s body language and knowing these signals helps dog owners a lot when their dogs socialize with other dogs. You’ll be able to know whether your dog is just happily socializing or not. I’m glad you found this article helpful.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and comment.

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