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Dog Communication: How to Read Your Pup’s Body Language

November 16, 2018

Mark Twain once said, “If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”

In a perfect world, dogs and cats would be able to clearly communicate their needs, hopes, and desires. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect and dogs can’t talk, so as responsible pet owners it’s up to us to become masters in reading doggy body language. Read on to learn a few common telltale dog behaviors we’ve seen in our 45 years of experience at Petland.


A smile is a universal symbol for happiness in any language including for dogs. If your dog is seated or standing with a huge grin and tongue out, he is most likely happy. In our Petland locations, we offer Akita puppies and often see that these loyal friends are eager to please and quickly offer a smile to show they are happy.


Dogs can be mistrustful and sometimes with reason. Dogs have the ability to pick up on emotional responses in human that we can miss. A suspicious dog will stand on all fours and lean forward with his ears erect. At Petland, we offer Mastiff pups for sale. While it is rare for a Mastiff pup to be suspicious, as they become older and attached to their owners, they can become protective of their territory and suspicious of intruders.


Belly up is more than just a request for a good scratch. Dogs only reveal their belly to individuals they trust. This display shows vulnerability and is not to be taken for granted. A dog’s trust is not easily earned so this gesture represents a milestone in your relationship.


The playful gesture can look like a dog bowing, with his hind legs straight forward, his front paws on the floor, and he’s rapidly wagging his tail. The playful position is usually seen in the midst of a game of tug-o-war or frisbee. Playtime is serious business for dogs so don’t be alarmed if your pup jumps from a relaxed position to a playful gesture. This just indicates it is time for fun.  

Learn more about dog behavior by visiting a Petland store near you.


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