Communication & Body Language

Dogs communicate through a combination of body language, facial expression and vocalizations. There are no language barriers. Regardless of their country of origin, dogs speak a universal language. A Mexican Chihuahua has no problem communicating with a Portuguese water dog or a Chinese Shar-pei. They all speak "dog." Communication can be subtle - a glance, tensing of muscles, a lick of the lips, a slight postural shift - or obvious - rolling over in submission, a play "bow," or loud barking.

Dogs also observe and interpret human body language and facial expression. They recognize the stance and facial expressions of anger. They react happily to smiles and laughter. They respond to calming, subordinate and submissive postures as well as to assertive, rousing and exciting signals.

Dogs tell us when they're apprehensive or excited; when they're frightened, happy, angry or playful. And they expect us to respond appropriately - just as another dog would.

The best way to learn dog body language is to study it - learn from dogs. Start with some books and videos. And watch dogs. That's the best way to learn. Watch two or more dogs together, and you will learn a lot about their communication, from the moment they greet each other, as they sort out their relative status, play, and act like dogs.

Check back here from time to time as we add more information on this important topic.