If you enjoyed the above reading and want to learn more have a certified trainer come to your home for an hour to talk about any specific issues about your dog that concern or puzzle you. The previous information is just the tip of the iceberg and each dog is unique. Sometimes they defy basic body language signals or have body parts that are difficult to observe because of their unique bodies, like a cropped tail or hair covering their eyes. A good trainer will help you understand how to put what you’ve learned into context.
Dogs are talking to us with their bodies all the time. Have a look at The Stress Escalation Ladder, created by Colleen S Koch Adapted from Turid Rugaas. This is an excellent document which helps you recognize the varying levels of stress or anxiety your dog may be feeling. Identifying these signals can help you avoid stress for your dog. The Fear Posture Poster created by Dr. Sophia Yim DVM MS provides a nice visual of what anxiety looks like in our dogs.
It’s easier to think like a canine than to expect your dog to think like a primate. Dog’s don’t speak English. Sounds obvious but then why do we keep talking to them and then repeat ourselves louder and louder when they don’t behave as we’d like? It’s an easy trap to fall into. It turns out there are many dog behaviors that we as primates don’t understand or misinterpret. Dr. Patricia McConnell’s book, The Other End of the Leash is an excellent book that helps us understand our dogs. Dr. Karen Pryor’s book, Don’t Shoot the Dog is another good read. Both books do an excellent job of explaining the differences in our behaviors in layman terms. I enjoy Dr. McConnell’s sense of humor and story telling wit.