How To Read Dog Behaviour

How To Read your Dog’s Behaviour

Have you ever wondered what your dog is doing when he or she is interacting with another dog, want to know how to read dog behaviour?

Do you feel like you’re watching some interaction in a foreign language as your dog communicates with another dog?

It can be really frustrating not knowing whether to step in and stop your dog or let the activity go on. We can misread our dog’s behaviour, and yet it’s actually pretty easy to interpret – when you know how!

dog behaviourKnowing whether your dog is happy when playing, or feeling distressed, can make all the difference to how they socialise with other dogs. There are actually so many tell-tale signs. All you need to know is what the signs are and then it’s like watching a movie in English rather than a foreign language. Of course dogs can read each other without any effort, it comes naturally to them, however for us humans it doesn’t.

We have to learn the different body language signals that they use. Here are some of the key gestures that you can watch out for to understand what your dog is thinking.

At the bottom of this article is a link to a video by Doggy Dan in which you can watch all the behaviours I mention below for yourself.

  1. The Head Over: placing their head over the back of another dog’s neck. This is one of the most common ways a dog will attempt to assert their dominance over another dog. It is actually neither good nor bad. Some dogs however will contest it if they are not happy being dominated. A dog which is not happy with this will however let the other dog know!
  2. Returning To Play: a dog returning to play more with another dog. This is a sign that suggests a dog is happy to play. Often this simple behaviour is overlooked by dog owners. Many times a dog may look like they are not enjoying things as they are being dominated and pushed around but is actually very happy and will run back for more… if they were really unhappy they would very likely stay away.
  3. Lifting a Paw: your dog stands still on 3 legs. This is a fairly submissive gesture that says I am submissive and nonthreatening. The other dog may react in a number of ways but it is generally a good sign.
  4. Hackles Up: the hair on the dogs back goes up. Very often people think that this means that the dog is being aggressive or going to be aggressive, however it can also just be sheer excitement. It does mean that the dog is very alert but this can be because they just love playing with other dogs. Keep an eye on your dog and don’t panic.
  5. 360 Degree Spins: one of the dogs completes a complete spin. The dog spinning will almost certainly be happy, and will be trying to encourage some play activity. When a dog turns their back on another dog it shows that they are relaxed and not scared. There are so many little things to look out for – some of which more obvious than others.

One of the best places to learn how to read dogs is Dan’s website the Online Dog Trainer. Dan even offers a 3 Day $1 trial of the site that you can take advantage of, so I suggest the next thing you do today is take a look inside the site! This video website is an excellent source of learning not only about how to interpret your dog’s behaviour but also how to stop unwanted behaviour and train dogs and puppies.


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