Lets start with the eyes! There are 4 different ways the eyes can tell you how a dog is feeling. Soft eyes in a dog are partially closed and relaxed. This signifies a relaxed dog in a non threatening state. Hard eyes will be open wider than usual, with a frozen stare and usually seen with tension in the face. This signifies stress or conflict. The third eye stage is called “whale eye”. You will see more whites in the eye than normal and can mean your dog is feeling stressed or threatened. Dilating pupils will also show stress or high excitement.
Next up, we have the tail. Being one of the most visible part of the dog, it is one of the most misunderstood. When analyzing a dogs tail, focus on the base of the tail which is the thickest part, closest to the dogs back. The most common misconception, is that if you see a dog wagging their tail, they are friendly. A stiff, high tail wagging very quickly in short motions is a sign of tension or threat. Whereas, a relaxed tail at level height with their back, moving in wide and circular wags signifies friendliness. The natural tail carriage does differ for different breeds, so it is always important to ask the owner of the dog if it is okay to approach.
Some common signs of stress and discomfort in dogs can vary. A few scenarios are excessive lip licking, looking away, raising a paw and yawning. If a dog is exhibiting these behaviors, immediately stop what you are doing, allow the dog to come to you and then redirect to another activity.
Dogs learn through association and consequences. Our trainer on staff at Active Dog is a certified Fear Free Professional and part of The Pet Professional Guild. She can help with Leash reactivity, destructive behaviors, separation anxiety, over-excitability, counter surfing. As well as the Basic Commands such as, hand targeting, look at me, go to place, stay with duration and distraction, and different impulse control exercises. Since we are an off leash hiking company, our Trainer is also able to help train your pup to be free of the leash and to make the most of our off leash hikes!
Schedule a training session today HERE!