How is it that we can tell when our boss is mad, or when our waiter isn’t all that happy to see us, despite what she says? Our universal body language is able to say things that humans may not put into words. Our dogs have this same body language. Here are some things your dog may be trying to tell you.
His tail is like his smile, and he has many ways to smile. Wagging that is high is a confident and playful gesture. Middle wagging means he is thoroughly excited. And a low wag is similar to a nervous laugh.
If your dog is standing off-balance in any way, he is most likely scared. When a dog is fearful or unsure of something in his environment, he will be prepared to run in the direction that will be the safest. The way in which your dog is leaning will point towards the direction he is thinking of running in.
If he growls while his tongue is out he is only playing. Anytime your dog’s tongue is out, he is completely relaxed and having fun. If a dog is feeling aggressive and is ready to bite, they will keep their tongue inside their mouth.
When he doesn’t hug you back, or doesn’t lean into you when you hug, it is because you are invading his space. In the dog world, a ‘hug’ or any invasion of space is considered to be an assertion of dominance. If your dog freezes up when you hug or lean into him, it may mean he is uncomfortable if you are close. Dogs can sense your calm and loving emotions and may understand your intentions, but if the dog doesn’t know you well, he may bite as a response to this challenge.
If your otherwise friendly dog is acting cranky, he may be in pain. Any sort of change in behaviour can be a sign that your dog is hurting, but this one is not as obvious. Dogs act defensive when they do not feel their best. Try not to get mad at your dog for acting unusually aggressive.