Home > Dog Behavior, Fun Stuff, Pet Topics, Photos > Dog Body Language – Test your skills

Dog Body Language – Test your skills

I don’t know about you, but I have been seeing (and reading) some really great articles on dog body language and dog behavior lately. It’s really exciting to see so many of them out there and so readily available to dog owners who want to better understand their dogs.

Even though I have some education in understanding dog body language, I always like to learn more, and I especially like being able to practice my skills whenever I get the chance.

Reading dog body language is a skill that must be developed. You can’t just watch a video and suddenly know it. Even the best trainers practice their skills whenever they can. Understanding dog body language not only helps you to better understand your own dog, but it also help you to know what another unknown dog is saying, especially if it is in a dangerous situation.

You can see a full list of the articles I have been reading below, but I thought it would be fun to share a few photos with you today and see if you can tell what these dogs are saying. Give it a try and check back tomorrow. I’ll share my observations then. (The results are in. Head on over to the blog post that contains my observations.)

Picture 1: Lab and St. Bernard

  • Take a look at how these two dogs approach one another. How do they greet one another?
  • Where are their heads and bodies in relation to one another?
  • Where are their tails? Their ears?
  • What else do you see in this picture that can tell you more about these two dogs and what they are saying to one another?

Well hello big guy. #dogpark

 Picture 2: Sheltie

  • What is this dog telling you?
  • Where are her ears?
  • What do you notice about her eyes? Her mouth? Her body?

Maggie gets this close for chicken. #sheltie #puppymilldog
Picture 3: Husky

  • What do you notice about this dog?
  • Where are her ears? Tail?
  • Does her mouth look relaxed or hard?
  • Is she leaning forward? Back?

Husky says hello


Picture 4: Lab Mix and Shepherd Mix

  • What do you see in this picture?
  • Where are each dog’s ears? Feet? Body?
  • What do you notice about their eyes?
  • What else do you see?

Millie crashes. Big dog waits for her to get up again.


Reading List: 

These next five are all by Ann Bernrose of Woof Work Blog:

  1. January 25, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    Great resources. So many unpleasant encounters can be avoided with a little attention to dog body language.

  2. Cascadian Nomads
    January 26, 2015 at 1:57 AM

    Great resources. I just checked out the one I had not yet seen by Sue Alexander. Excellent advice there. Even before reading Sue’s leash reactivity recommendations I was going to comment on how very individual our dogs body language can be. I agree with you that the leaps and bounds we seem to be making in reading dogs body language lately is very exciting. But it is just a starting point. Once we know general canine body language, then we can get to know our own dogs specific signs. Even when I worked with the same dogs day after day at the doggy daycare, I still didn’t know all of their signals the way that I know what every individual whisker on each of my dogs is telling me. So I know I have gotten the general feel for the above photos but I look forward to seeing what I missed!

  3. maabbott3
    January 26, 2015 at 5:49 AM

    we have three goldens. Thanks for the list of resources, I’m going to take a look at them. Also for the photos, it will be interesting to look back tomorrow to your observations to see if I was able to recognize what was going on.

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