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Dog Talk 12

Back by popular demand – the next edition of Dog Talk. This is where I present a picture of dogs and readers try to guess what is happening in the pictures. Are the dogs mad, sad, or glad? What are they saying?

Dog Talk
Dog Talk
Dog Talk

One of the hardest things to learn in working with dogs is to read body language. We tend to anthropomorphize, to put our human emotions onto a dog rather than remove ourselves from the equation and really try to figure out what the dog may be feeling.

For that reason I suggest that when owners suspect their dogs are feeling a certain way that they come up with 3 reasons to describe the behavior their dog is displaying.

For instance an owner thinks her dog is sad when she leaves the house because the dog lies flat on the floor with its chin on the ground. Well, it might be sad or it might be thinking “Oh, nooo, there go the biscuits.”, or “Thank goodness she’s gone; now I can sleep.” or “How does that doorknob work?”

One very confusing bit of canine body language is when the fur goes up on the back of a dog’s neck. Many people think it’s a sign of aggression with an act of aggression to follow. Could be. Could just be that the dog is just excited though, you have to look at the whole dog.

So even though it’s hard to tell from just a picture without knowing what was going on before or after, we’re going to play the game anyway. I’ve posted several snap shots of dog behavior in the slide show and one video. What you will see are dogs:

~hanging out



~body slamming

~doing a play bow

~giving a warning


See if you can label each picture and I’ll be back in a week or so to explain what was going on in each.

Because we are limited to Facebook for comments and Facebook is sooooo 2010, please feel free to email your comments to



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