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The PupJoy Post

Dog Body Language 101

Experts have found that 93% of communication is non-verbal; we are constantly sending out communication with our body language and tone of our voice whether we know it or not. This holds true in how you interact with Fido. How often do you watch your dog and analyze his body language? Dogs have a rich body language that they use to communicate with the world around them.

Standing Still

Standing still may only last for a split second, so it’s important to watch carefully to observe what is happening. When a dog is standing still, your pup likely bears his weight in one of three ways:

  • Feet four-square and balanced: the dog is calm and confident.
  • Balanced on back legs: the dog is ready to spring forward, and is confident and willing to interact.
  • Balanced in such a way that he can bolt away from you: the dog is fearful and likely to flee.

When you look at your dog, it is important to consider his mental state. Human body language tells us if someone is afraid, confident, or relaxed, and we can then react appropriately. In the same way, we can help pups by reading their bodies carefully. It is unfair to ask a fearful dog to approach things that startle him, and likewise it is foolish to approach a dog who is broadcasting hostility unless you know more about his intent and behavior. Generally, toys and treats are a great way to diffuse a stressful situation but be careful giving treats to an unknown dog.


Eyes are the windows to the soul, so it makes sense you can tell a lot about a pup’s emotional state from them.

  • Almond-shaped, relaxed eyes reflect calm and relaxed behavior.
  • Rounded eyes can indicate arousal and surprise.
  • If you can see the whites of a dog’s eyes, beware; the dog is tense and upset.

Rocking Horse Pose

When dogs are happily playing, you may observe them running back and forth almost rocking horse like. If a dog is running towards you in this way, it’s generally very playful but be careful they don’t inadvertently knock you over as you get close!

Advanced Training

Check out PupJoy University for more insights on dog behavior and training tips.