When your dog talks, do you listen? Are you paying attention?
We’re not talking about barking, we’re talking about how your dog communicates with you using body language – especially her tail.
There are lots of different wags. Plain, ordinary, enthusiastic wagging means, “I’m happy and friendly.” A slow wag is the nervous laugh of a dog that is embarrassed about something. A tail held high and wagged widely, instead of only slightly, means she wants to play. If she wiggles up to you after you have disciplined her, wagging her tail between her hind legs, she is saying she’s sorry and wants to make up.
Most of a dog’s nosing around is done for identification purposes. When she approaches another dog, the first thing she does is sniff him out to discover whether he is friend or foe. First she smells the rear; then she smells the face.
When your dog props her paws on your chest or shoulders, she is trying to get in position to smell your breath. She can tell whether it’s you for sure, and what you’ve been eating that you might be willing to share.
You can often tell immediately whether a dog cares for your company by noticing the position of her lips. When she draws the corners of his lips forward, she is feeling distinctly antisocial. She may become aggressive and could attack especially if she has drawn her lips open to show her teeth. However, when she pulls back horizontally so that he appears to be grinning, he is expressing his friendliness or submissiveness.
When your dog feels very submissive, she will smile like a simpleton. She looks like she’s feeling silly. A few dogs are capable of the mimic grin, something they have learned from humans and display only to humans. They retract their lips to show their front teeth in a wide toothpaste smile.