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If Dogs Could Talk: What Your Pet's Body Language is Telling You

Do you ever wonder what your pet is thinking?  Dogs communicate in a very specific way, and body language is part of it.  Paying attention to how your dog is standing, the way his ears are, and how he's looking at you, among other things, can help you understand how your dog is feeling at the moment. To help you better understand your pet's communication, AKC's Canine Good Citizen Director Mary Burch offers tips to help you decode your dog's body language.  Among them:

  • Ears.  When your dog is relaxed and not stressed, his ears will be in the natural position.  When he becomes alert and starts watching something closely, his ears will be raised and turned toward whatever is holding his attention.  If your dog’s ears are pulled back so far they are plastered to the sides of his head, he is submissive or afraid.

  • Eyes.  Relaxed dogs have relaxed eyes—they will stay their normal size and shape.  When your dog becomes stressed or scared, his eyes appear smaller and are not as wide open.  If a dog gives you a direct stare, this could be a threat.

  • Mouth.  Dogs that are relaxed usually have their mouths closed or open just a bit.  If your dog is afraid, his mouth will be closed with his lips pulled back at the corners.  Aggressive dogs will often pull back their lips to show their teeth.

Do you understand your dog's body language?  Share with us in the comments!
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