♟️ Behavior Training

How Your Body "Talks" To Your Dog And How To Make Sure It Says What You Want

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March 31, 2021

Key Takeaways

Does your dog understand your body language or do you know your pup's every action? If you want to raise a well-behaved pup, your body language and your dogs should communicate.

Like us humans, dogs are also attempting to understand our every action. The way you move forward and back around your furry pal can either make the situation good or worse.

Not all dogs have the same traits and personality. Some are shy and submissive, while other breeds are aggressive. You can trigger more intense behavior, depending on your body language and your dogs. Have you been getting more bites and scratches from your pet when it doesn't get what it wants from you? Then, you are not yet successful in behaving your dog.

How Your Body Language And Your Dogs Communicate?

Dogs have what we call the "canine language." Unlike us humans, they communicate with other dogs and animals through body language. When a pup sees another breed, a bird, a monkey, or a person - it uses movements to identify one's internal state.

Does it know that it is a bird, a monkey, or a person? A dog wouldn't know what to call a species, but it can feel whether there's a threat or none, depending on its action. A dog can go from sweet to defensive or confident, depending on what it sees and feels.

For example, you have a small dog that rarely sees people who wear thick clothes and face accessories. Sometimes, it sees strangers or delivery guys wearing it and just keeps on barking at them. Then, you came home late at night with a hoodie jacket, a cap on your head, and a mask.

Suddenly, your dog keeps on barking at you. It is because your dog is probably not used to seeing you in those kinds of clothes. Another reason is the possibility that it remembers the silhouettes of the strangers passing by your house.

So how does your body "talk" to your small dogs or other medium and large breeds? If it goes aggressive, remove your thick jacket and the accessories that cover your face. Stand straight and don't move until your pup stops barking at you.

Calling Your Canine To Come

Let's go back to our situation. Once you calmed down your dog, you can level yourself to it slowly and try luring your pup to you. Submissive dogs, like small breeds, may quickly come. But other aggressive breeds may take time to identify that it's you, the owner.

Make sure that your voice and body say, "come here." Don't say "come" and walk towards the dog. Remember, even the tiniest inch of leaning your body can stop a sensitive dog in its tracks.

The best way to call your furry pal to come is to use your body to talk. You can bend down as if you're doing the doggie play bow. Then turn away from your dog and clap. You can try calling your pup's name. You can do other tricks that you have been using to call your canine. When the dog responds to you, reward it with petting or do its favorite playtime, like dashing.

How To Make Sure Your Dog Understands Your Body Language?

You need to identify the reactions that your dog makes to a specific action that you do. In canine language, there are some actions that people make that have an opposite meaning for dogs.

Like learning a new international language, some words may have the exact spelling or pronunciation as your local language. But they have different meanings. So, make sure that your dog understands your body language and vice versa. This way, you can think like a dog.

Learn To Control Space Between You and Your Dog

You can manage the behavior of the dog by controlling its surrounding space. After you realize the space around you and your dog, you will work more efficiently. Use body language that your canine can understand. For example, raised hands mean submission or asking to play in canine language.

Can you change the raised hand signal to "stay?" You can, but it can be a challenge, primarily if the dog responds differently. You can raise your hands and hold a treat on the other. Then teach your dog that all good things come to those who stay.

Space management is being aware of your side-to-side motion and learning when to block space to say "no" to your pup. It also includes how far you move forward or backward to send a message.

Know When To Add and Remove the Pressure on Dogs

Understanding your body language and your dogs are challenging. But it is possible if you know when to add and remove the pressure on dogs. Great dog trainers pay attention to pressure, while bad trainers misuse it and create trouble that they could avoid.

Just like us, dogs also don't want the weight of adding pressure in learning or doing something. It can be stressful for our furry friends as well. So, you must know how much pressure you can put on your dogs to avoid the stress that can lead to being aggressive.

Note that the pressure varies from different dog breeds. So, again, it all boils down to understanding the internal state of your pup. For example, some goofy and socially oblivious dogs will launch themselves at you if you move forward, regardless of your distance.

Meanwhile, sensitive dogs will move back when you are several feet away and try to tilt a little forward. But it may be a different case of status-seeking dogs with an aggressive streak. These breeds may take offense at you.

Moving Forward and Back

Remember that the direction of your dog's body, forward or backward, is crucial. If it moves even the slightest inch forward, it means it is ready to attack. But if it shifts backward, most dogs are on its defenses. The danger is only little if you put no more pressure on it, no matter how much it growls and flashes its teeth. Thus, dogs would think the same when you move forward or backward.

Reading Dogs' Mouth

The corners of your dog's mouth can tell a lot about what is going on with its furry head. Most of the time, retracting means submission or fear. It's like how humans smile when they feel nervous.

The smile that we make when talking to a cute little baby or squishy dog means offense to dogs. Your raised eyebrows, wide eyes, and rounded mouth as you say "oh so cute" are a threat to pets. It is what experts call the "agonistic pucker."

If a dog sees a human with a "puckered" face, some may become defensive. But if a dog barks at you with a "puckered" mouth, it is ready to attact with confidence.

When in Doubt, Look Away

If you find your dog ready to attack, turning your head away from your pup is a calming signal for the dog. If you cock your head, you are signaling to a dog that you feel relaxed, which can also relax the dog.


Your body language and your dogs should always be in sync. Make sure that you are sending your pup a clear message. Let the dog understand what you're trying to convey. If you want your dog to be polite, then treat it as you would with a child. Train the dog how not to expect to always get what it wants immediately.

You must learn to be snobby and let them know who is superior through proper dog brain training. When you do, help them in coping with their frustration. It is for this reason that most dogs become aggressive.


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