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Canine Body Language

How many times have you seen a photo online of a terrified dog at a shelter, or straight off a transport van, being held tightly by a total stranger? The human, smiling, full of joy to meet their new canine companion….the dog is wide eyed, ears back, desperately turning her head away, panting with tongue hanging out. The comments underneath saying things like ‘she’s so happy’ and ‘she’s smiling‘ show how far removed many of us humans are from understanding how the dog is really feeling. You might be a new adopter, caring for your very first dog or you might have decades of canine experience behind you, either way it’s really important that we all understand what our dogs are communicating to us!

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This information on canine body language isn’t just for full blown dog geeks! If you care for a dog, foster for a charity, carry out home checks or volunteer at your local animal shelter, please read the following links, watch the short videos and share them with your friends, family and colleagues. If you work for an animal charity you might even want to print some of them out and give them to new adopters?

If you have another favourite article on canine body language that you found useful, or would like to share your experiences, please feel free to share in the comments section below. Thank you.

Introduction to canine body language:


Short videos:

Does Your Dog REALLY Want to be Petted?


Dog Body Language – What your dog is desperately trying to tell you!

Subtle signs that your dog is stressed:

Dog Decoder Dog bite prevention.

Lili Chin excellent graphics:

Dog body language:

Kids and dogs ( watch till the end!)

Resource Guarding:

When people want to approach your dog!

Greeting a dog:

At the dog park!

Dog Decoder App:

Useful graphics and memes to share.

Stay Safe( kids):

Canine ladder of aggression:

Physiological signs of stress:

Facial expressions of stress:

If you prefer a real book you might like to purchase this little book (which has been around for a long time) but it’s very easy to read, with lots of great colour pictures. It’s a useful introduction to canine body language, even for older children.…/…/1929242360

If you prefer a CD… What is my dog saying CD:

And finally, wise words from Dr Risë VanFleet:

© Caring for Rescued ex Street Dogs



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