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  • Positive Dog Power

Learn To Talk Dog

Updated: Mar 24

Dogs may not speak our human language, but they are always communicating with us.

Every tail wag, paw lift, and head turn is a form of communication - we just need to know how to speak dog!

Unfortunately, there are no "Doggy Language" classes at school or work, so I decided to make a blog to help you understand your dog.

Ladder of Communication

The ladder below will show you a range of behaviours that our dogs do when they are getting worried.

You can see that at the bottom is the green area - these are the "whispers" that our dogs use to calmly try to diffuse a difficult situation. The very first signs of an uncomfortable dog.

After this, we have the amber zone. Our dogs will usually move to this area when the signals in the green zone have been ignored. At this point, our dogs are starting to feel more tense and stressed - we really should be listening to them here!

Finally, we have the red zone. Our dogs are now shouting and in a place of panic. They have hit peak fear and are desperately trying to communicate this. This is not aggression, this is panic - fight or flight - our dogs are no longer processing or thinking, they are reacting.

Ladder of communication

Unfortunately, if the green and amber signals are ignored often enough, a dog will opt straight for the method that always works, usually a bark, growl, or bite!

So what does it look like?

Here are some pictures of dogs displaying some signals from the ladder above. Can you spot the signs of fear/stress?

Scared dog on purple background

Three happy and relaxed dogs

A dog that is tense and stiff

A scared dog that is showing their teeth

Our dogs body language is so much more complex than a tail wag, bark, or bite - it's important that we keep them and us safe by knowing how to communicate with them. It's our duty to them to help them feel understood and, therefore, safe!

Finally, if you want to know more, we recommend the book "Doggie Language" by Lili Chin - it's a really great pocket guide to everything dog speak! Here's an example of her brilliant work!

A chart showing various dog body langauge

If you need help with your dog training, get in contact today!


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