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5 Myths About Dog Body Language… Debunked!

by John Woods

Whilst dogs may certainly be a man’s best friend they still have lots of strange behaviors which can often leave us dog-parents confused, puzzled and at times in laughter.

dog body language
He’s sniffing what? Licking that? Eating this?!

It’s easy to listen to other dog owner’s word-of-mouth explanations, or follow de-bunked training theories, however, understanding these, sometimes mysterious, behaviors requires us to learn new knowledge.

Some questions leave us very few answers and with very few clues to understanding why on earth Fido or Rover just did something. Most owners will simply play down the actions or forget about them. But, for us curious dog-parents, a couple of mysterious behaviors can easily be explained by dog body language.

If only we knew what to look for?!

So we have decided to share five myths about dog body language to help you understand more about what’s going on in Fido’s mind!

Myth 1: A Vertically Raised Tail Means Aggression

dog body language

Dog’s tail positions can often tell us about our dog’s intentions but it is much more complicated than just the tail position alone. We must also observe different parts of the dog such as their eyes, mouth and ears, in addition to tail position, to understand their behavior.

For example, a raised tail may mean your dog is ready to play, or is showing signs of aggression. A vertically raised tail with baring teeth, lips pursed, alert ears and hackles raised are a good indication of aggression. However, a vertically raised tail with a body dipped down, in a bowing form, is a sign of play and not aggression.

Myth 2: A Dog On Their Back is Submissive

dog body language

We can spend a lot of time discussing this specific body language and posture. First of all, as most dog owners know, the training theory of dominance has been de-bunked as a bad method to use.

During a puppy’s first few weeks of socialization it wouldn’t be uncommon for his litter…


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