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The best in health, wellness, and positive training from America’s leading dog experts

Reading Your Dog’s Body Language

Understanding Dog Appeasement Signals

sir ... Please go away so I can breathe again!" Even though the Shepherd-mix looks friendly enough

Minimizing Language Barrier Between Human and Canine

Human-dog interactions can be more difficult than dog-dog ones, since our native languages are so different. Our series of three photos this month depicts a classic conflict between a canine and a human; the two are strangers and neither really understands what the other is communicating. Similar interactions are played out every day in communities across the country, in which well-intentioned humans do all the wrong things in their efforts to be friendly with dogs.

Properly Interpreting Your Dog’s Body Language

It's not uncommon for humans to misread perfectly normal play behavior and interrupt/separate dogs who are having a rousing good time together. At the end of Week 2 of my group good manners classes – and every week thereafter – we have play sessions where the dogs get to play with their canine classmates. In each new class there is at least one owner, often more, who is very tense about her dog's play behavior.

Understanding How Your Dog Communicates

the camera captures a scary expression of aggression that wasn't easily visible to the observer on the ground."

What Different Dog Barks Mean

While dogs are primarily body language communicators, they also use their voices to share information with other members of their social group. Compared to their wild brethren, however, our domesticated dogs use their voices far more – a tendency we have genetically encouraged. We've created herding breeds, including Shelties, Border Collies, Welsh Corgis, and others, who use their voices when necessary to control their flocks. We've bred scent hounds to give voice when they are on the trail of prey.

Dogs are Body Language Communicators

Dogs are, first and foremost, body language communicators. While they do have a limited ability to communicate vocally, they are much more articulate with their subtle body movements, and much more intuitively able to understand ours. As Patricia McConnell says in the introduction of her excellent book, The Other End of the Leash, All dogs are brilliant at perceiving the slightest movement that we make

Dogs Communicate Well Both Verbally and With Body Language

You may not want to hear it, but your dog is trying to tell you something. We’ll help you figure out WHY he is barking and how to get him to stop. Who says dogs can’t talk? In less than 30 minutes, I had been treated to five audible canine communications, each with a clear and distinct meaning and purpose. While dogs are, indeed, exquisite body language communicators, they are no slouch in the vocal communication department.

How to Safely Break Up a Dog Fight

If you've ever been present when a dogfight broke out, you know how dangerous it can be for everyone concerned. I've lost track of how many times we've said this, but as always, prevention beats cure. It is imperative that you manage and train your own canine family to minimize the risk of serious dogfights. Identify situations that are likely to light the dogfight fuse, such as fence-fighting or resource guarding, and figure out how to avoid them and/or modify the behavior that causes them.

A Dog’s Calming Signals

Pups who are raised in a litter for the first eight weeks of their lives (and in the presence of older dogs) have the advantage of learning skills from their siblings and elders. They learn to accept the leadership of a just leader. They learn simple, but crucially important lessons such as bite inhibition. They come to understand when play is too rough or inappropriate. And they have the opportunity to learn the language skills that will enable them to be peaceful pack members.

Telepathic Communication With Your Dog

Have you ever looked up suddenly and seen your dog staring at you intensely, longingly – a look that grows no less pleading when you offer treats, a walk, or a scratch behind the ears? Or perhaps you’ve seen your dog leap up at some seemingly nonexistent noise, sniffing and whining for no reason you can imagine. Have you wished that you could know what your animal wants, understand what he’s thinking? Or have you ever wondered, when your dog mysteriously disappears at bath time, if he knows what you’re thinking?

Latest Blog

Aggression at Dog Parks

We’ve all got stories about terrible things that we’ve seen or heard about that happened at a dog park. I would argue that there are just as many potentially aggressive humans at these parks as there are dogs who exhibit aggressive behavior.