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December 7, 2023 46 mins

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Ready to crack the code of your dog's unspoken language? This episode of Dog Training Today promises to uncover the complexities of canine body language, illuminating the signs that speak volumes about your four-legged friend's emotions and intentions. We delve into the world of tail wagging, pawing, barking - signals that, when correctly interpreted, can help you navigate your relationship with your pet more effectively.

We discuss distance increasing signals - those warning signs your pet displays when they feel threatened or uneasy. Recognizing these behaviors can turn training sessions from a struggle to a joy, while fostering a stronger bond between you and your furry friend. We'll also guide you through powerful behavior modification tools like counter conditioning and desensitization - a boon for dogs dealing with anxiety, phobias or aggression.

We wrap up with a deep dive into how understanding your dog's body language can teach them to be relaxed and calm through exposure therapy and counter conditioning. Equip yourself with the knowledge to help your canine companion navigate the world with confidence. And keep in mind, this is part two of our series on canine body language, so be sure to tune in to part one for a complete understanding. Get set for happy listening and happier dog training!

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Did you know that dogs, in their canine body
language, can communicate withother dogs or with people with
their body language saying hey,you're too close, I need you to
move back, I need distance.
Did you know that there's allkinds of communication that dogs

give that tell us that theyneed distance?
Do you know that a lot of timeswhen a tail is wagging, it does
not mean that the dog isfriendly?
Yes, sometimes when the tailwags they're friendly, but
there's a lot of different typesof tail wagging in canine body

language and it doesn't alwaysmean that the dog is friendly.
Don't go anywhere.
We're going to be getting intopart two in depth of canine body
language when we come back.

Expert will Van Goura.
Would you like to go on?
Good day pet lovers.
Hey, thanks for joining me.
I'm Will Van Goura.

This is another episode of DogTraining Today.
This is actually part two ofour series in understanding
canine body language.
If you haven't listened to partone, you might want to go ahead
and check out part one of thecanine body language series, and
you can do that by going to theDog Training Today audio

Wherever you get your podcast.
Maybe you get your podcast onApple Podcasts, maybe on Spotify
, I'm not sure but wherever youlisten to your podcast, go ahead
, do a search for Dog TrainingToday and look for part one of
canine body language.
In part one, we went throughdifferent stress signals that

dogs can communicate in theirbody language.
We also went through differentcalming signals that dogs can
communicate in their canine bodylanguage, and I had mentioned
in the last podcast howimportant it is to be able to
understand canine body language.
Wouldn't it be nice if we couldask our dogs how they're

feeling, what's going on?
What are they thinking?
Especially when we've got dogsthat have anxiety, fears,
phobias, aggression, reactivity,wouldn't it be nice to be able
to know what they're feeling,what they're thinking?
Well, the good news is you can.
And it's all aboutunderstanding the various little

subtleties, the many, manydifferent signals that dog put
off in their canine bodylanguage, how they communicate.
Now they're communicating toother dogs, they're
communicating to ourselves.
They're displaying these caninebody language displays which
are telling us all about howthey feel, what's the underlying

emotional state, what is yourdog's intentions, and we can
predict the outcome of behaviorswhen we understand canine body
But the other reason why caninebody language is so important
is that when we're trying tohelp dogs, when we're trying to

modify the behavior of dogs thatagain have anxiety, fears,
phobias, reactivity, aggression,we have to do what's called
counter conditioning anddesensitization.
That's where we're changing theunderlying emotional state.
So let's say, for example,you've got a dog that is

aggressive towards strange dogs.
Well, no animal goes into fightor flight unless they perceive
something is threatening.
And to perceive something isthreatening there's a level of
stress, there's a level of fear,there's a level of anxiety.
And when we're talking aboutcounter conditioning and

desensitization, another word wecould use could be exposure
We're exposing the dog to itstriggers.
So, for example, in this caseit would be strange dogs.
But in order to be able to doreally good exposure therapy and
help your dog learn to relax,be calm, help your dog change

its underlying emotional stateand its perception of the
trigger In this case, a strangedog.
In order to be able to do that,you have to have a great
understanding of canine bodylanguage.
When clients hire me and Iprimarily specialize in dogs,
again with anxiety, fears,phobias, aggression and

reactivity Every single one ofmy clients it's a requirement
they have to take an in-depthcourse and it's a course for pet
professionals on canine bodylanguage.
That's how important caninebody language is when you're
trying to help a dog withanxiety, fears, phobias,

reactivity and aggression.
Oftentimes, the determiningfactor between your success or
your failure is going to be howwell you understand canine body
Now, granted, that's just oneof many things you need to know.
It can be very complicateddealing with dogs that have
these severe behavior problems,but canine body language is

So let's get into the meat andpotatoes of today's podcast.
We're talking about part two incanine body language.
The first thing we're going totalk about are distance
increasing signals, dogs thatare stressed out, dogs that have

anxiety, dogs that are fearful,dogs that are in front of a
trigger that they don't like.
They may think it's scary.
They will display canine bodylanguage signals that are going
to say hey, I need distance, youare too close.
One of the distance increasingsignals is growling.

You know a low, guttural soundthat signals that the dog has
discomfort or the dog'sirritated.
The dog is nervous, scared.
That growling is a distanceincreasing signal.
It's communication, it servesas a warning.

Now, many of you and not justpet parents, but many of you dog
trainers also Are making a hugemistake.
You're correcting the growling,the growling, and if you
correct the growling, you'regoing to end up with a dog that
bites with no warning.

We never, ever, ever correctthese behaviors in their canine
body language because it'scommunication, it's a warning.
We don't want to effectivelycut off the communication that
the dog is trying to give us.
We need that, it's important,we need to work with that.

Another distance increasingsignal would be bearing teeth.
You know dogs may show theirteeth as a warning hey, back off
to give them space.
But again, if we're correctingthat behavior and you know
there's a lot of dog trainersvery they've got great
intentions but you don't knowthat.

You don't know there's norequirement in the dog training
field to be educated.
So if you're a dog trainer,you're not certified, you've not
gone through formal education.
You need to.
There's a reason why people areformally educated.
And if you're a pet parent, youneed to do your due diligence
when you're looking for someoneto help you, to make sure that

they're certified, make surethey've had formal education and
they know what they're doing.
All right, okay, getting backto distance increasing signals.
We talked about growling, wetalked about bearing teeth.
The next thing would besnarling, and snarling is a

combination of growling andbearing teeth.
And again, this is communication.
This is a very clear warningsignal.
I need distance, I need spaceBack off.
You don't want to correct that.
You need to know that.
All right.

Another distance increasingsignal is the hard stare.
Yep, a dog might give a direct,very intense stare to
communicate hey, I'muncomfortable.
And also they're trying to say,hey, I need space.
Again, these are distanceincreasing signals.

Another distance increasingsignal is the raising of hackles
A dog's hair may stand up alongtheir spine when they feel
threatened or defensive.
That's a distance increasingsignal.
By the way, the technical termfor the dog's hair standing up

along their spine isn't hackles,it's called pylorection.
Pylorection is the term forthat, okay, another distance
increasing signal is a stiffbody posture.
If you happen to notice a verystiff, very rigid posture with

the dog, that can indicate thedog is feeling threatened.
If the dog gets pushed further,it may take further action, it
might actually go into bitingAgain.
The dog needs space.
Some additional distanceincreasing signals are lunging.

Right, think about thesebehaviors.
What is the function?
All behaviors have a functionLunging A dog does that to try
to ward off what they feel isthreatening.
Right, I mean, hey, if a dogcomes lunging after me, I'm
backing off.
That behavior is functional.

Don't correct that behavior.
Now, I'm not trying to givethese dogs a pass.
None of these behaviors areokay.
But when we punish them, whenwe correct these behaviors, all
we're doing is suppressing theoutward behavior.
We're not doing anything tochange that underlying emotional

state which is motivating thesebehaviors.
When you correct, when youpunish these behaviors, besides
eliminating the very importantwarning and communication that
you need from the dog, you aregoing to get a dog that won't
give warnings, will attack, willbite without warning.

Now it's going to be verydifficult to deal with because
the dog's not giving any signalsbecause you punished them.
We are not giving the dog apass.
I don't want you to think I'msaying this is okay, it's not,
but we can't be punishing it.
There's other things we need todo, and that's counter

conditioning and desensitization.
That's how you deal with thisexposure therapy, but to be
successful with it you've gottaunderstand the body language,
all right.
So we talked about lunging.
Another distance increasingsignal is barking aggressively.
So aggressive or loud barking,and a lot of times this is

accompanied by a dog's stiffbody posture or other warning
signals, okay, showing that thedog wants more space.
Another distance increasingsignal is a raised tail.
Now a dog might raise its tailstiffly, either straight up or

sometimes it can be arched overtheir back, and that is also
signaling hey, I'm assertingmyself and I'm demanding more
Remember, tails can mean lotsof different things.

A standing tail, for example.
A dog may try to makethemselves appear larger by
standing tall, puffing out theirchest, signaling that they want
more distance.
So, besides that raised tail,they may stand really tall.

They try to make themselvesappear larger, right, they want
Another distance increasingsignal is a quick head turn.
A dog might turn their headquickly towards the perceived
threat, as a warning to hey,back off, I need distance.
Another distance increasingsignal is stamping or scraping

the ground.
A dog might stamp or scrape theground with their front or
their hind paws to communicatetheir need for space and to
communicate their assertivenessAll right, keeping with the
distance increasing signals.
The next one is blocking orbody checking.

A dog might use their body toblock access to another dog or
another person, pushing themaway to create more distance.
Another distance increasingsignal is the low growl.
Now, we talked about the growlbefore, but a dog may emit a low
, rumbling growl when approached, signaling their discomfort,

their desire for more space,more distance between you and
Okay, all right.
The last distance increasingsignal we're gonna talk about is
the snap or the air bite.
A dog might snap or air bitewithout making contact and again

, that's a warning they wantspace, they're perceiving a
threat, they're saying, hey, Ineed space, I need distance back
Think about what we do when wecorrect those behaviors, when we
punish those behaviors.
We need to be dealing with thedog's underlying emotional state

Those behaviors will go awaywhen that dog is calm, when the
dog is confident, when the dogis not experiencing any threats,
when the dog doesn't feelstressed, when the dog's not
afraid, when the dog doesn'thave anxiety, when we change the
underlying emotional state andwe change the association with

the trigger, the unwantedbehaviors go away.
But when we punish the outwardbehaviors, we merely suppress
them temporarily.
It's smoke and mirrors.
We think everything's goinggood, and maybe it does for a
month or two, but it alwayscomes back.
Because the outward behaviorsreally not the problem.

It's a problem.
It needs to be addressed.
But how it needs to beaddressed is by hey, what's
motivating those behaviors?
And that's the underlyingemotional state and that's what
needs to change.
You change that, the behaviorschange.
The next area of canine bodylanguage that we wanna get into

are what we call appeasementsignals.
Licking a dog might lickanother dog's face, or a dog
might lick a person's hand toshow submission and to show
Licking another dog or lickinga person sometimes that means

they're showing submission orappeasement.
Again, you've gotta take theenvironment into account.
You've gotta take all of thedog's other canine body language
signals that it might bedisplaying when you're trying to
interpret what's happening.
Sometimes the dog's justlicking, okay, all right.

Getting back into moreappeasement signals A low tail
wag all right.
A very slow, very low waggingtail.
That can indicate that a dog istrying to appease for a sort of
individual whether it be a moreassertive dog, whether it be

more assertive person that lowtail wag, very slow, very low
tail wag, can indicate that thedog is trying to appease
somebody All right.
Another appeasing signal is thesubmissive grin.
A dog may show a submissivegrin by lifting their lips and

showing their teeth in anon-aggressive manner.
Some people mistake this for adog that's smiling.
Yeah, it looks like a smilebecause they're raising their
You see their teeth.
They're not aggressive, butit's really a submissive grin.
It's an appeasement signal Okay.

Another appeasement signalrolling over.
A dog might roll over ontotheir back, exposing their belly
to show submission and to showappeasement.
It's not always about a bellyrub okay, all right.
Here's some additionalappeasement signals crouching a
dog might crouch down load ofthe ground to show submission

and appeasement, either towardsanother dog or another person.
A tucked tail a dog.
They might tuck their tailbetween their legs, often
covering their genitals, todemonstrate submission, to
demonstrate appeasement okay.
Also, another signal.

That's an appeasing signalaverting the gaze A dog could
avoid making direct eye contactby looking away, and in that
case they're signaling theirsubmission, they're signaling
their appeasement, okay.
The next one.
The next appeasing signal earsback.
A dog may pin their ears backagainst their head to show

submission and appeasement.
The next one, the nextappeasement signal offering a
A dog might lift and offer apaw to another dog or a person
and that can be a gesture ofsubmission and appeasement.
A lot of times people arethinking, oh, my dog wants to

shake, when really it's anappeasement signal okay, all
The next appeasement signal isa flattened body.
A dog could press their bodyclose to the ground, making
themselves appear smaller, tosignal their submission or their
Okay, urination another possibleappeasement signal.

A dog might display submissiveurination right, especially when
greeting or interacting withmore dominant or assertive
individuals, as a sign ofappeasement.
The next one, the last one I'mgonna talk about in terms of
appeasement signals, would bechewing or mouthing.

You know, a dog might gentlychew or mouth another dog's
muzzle or a person's hand, andsometimes that can be a sign of
submission, of appeasement.
All right, now, those are ourP'sman signals.

The next thing we talked aboutdistance increasing signals
where the dog wants more space.
But they also, in their caninebody language, can display
distance decreasing signalswhere they want to be closer.
They want you or another dog tobe closer.
They're communicating hey, it'sokay, you can come closer.

So a tail wagging.
But here's the kicker A high,fast wagging tail can signal
that the dog is friendly andwants to engage.
Okay now, relaxed body postureright when a dog with a relaxed

body posture and soft eyes, whenwe see that that is a dog that
might be trying to decreasedistance and engage with others,
whether it be people or dogs Aplaybow a playbow is a distance
decreasing signal that signalsto a dog that it wants to engage

in friendly play and it wantsto decrease the distance between
itself and the other dog.
Another distance decreasingsignal is curving approach.
A dog might approach anotherdog.
It might approach anotherperson in a curving, non-linear
path as far as them, trying tosignal that they're friendly and

they wanna decrease thedistance between them.
Another distance decreasingsignal is the nose-to-nose
That's right.
Dogs may touch noses as afriendly greeting, signaling
that they wanna be closer.
Another distance decreasingsignal is leaning or nudging.

A dog might lean into or nudgeanother dog or a person to show
their desire for closeness orattention.
Okay, all right, here's someadditional distance decreasing
signals Playful hopping orbouncing.

You know, a dog might hoparound or bounce around
playfully in that type of manner, signaling their desire to
engage and decrease the distancebetween themselves and others.
Also a distance decreasingsignal the gentle tail wag A dog
They may wag their tail in agentle, relaxed manner to show

that they're friendly and theywanna decrease the distance.
Another distance decreasingsignal that can occur as
A dog could make friendlyvocalization, such as whining or
a soft bark, to signal theirdesire to engage and decrease

the distance.
Another distance decreasingsignal that dogs can display is
rubbing or nuzzling.
A dog might rub or nuzzleagainst another dog or person to
show their desire for closenessand interaction.
Moving along in additionaldistance decreasing signals.

One of them is engaging inmutual grooming.
Dogs may engage in mutualgrooming, such as licking each
other's faces or ears as a wayto bond and decrease the
distance between them.
Another distance decreasingsignal is circling A dog.

You may see a dog circle aroundanother dog or circle around
another person, sniffing andwagging their tail as a friendly
greeting and a sign that theywanna decrease the distance
between them.
Another distance decreasingsignal would be offering a toy.
A dog might bring a toy toanother dog or a person, again

inviting them to play, invitingthem to engage, signaling their
desire to decrease the distancebetween them.
And then the last distancedecreasing signal I'm gonna talk
about is swaying, the swayingwalk.
A dog could walk with a swayingrelaxed gate towards another

dog or towards another person toshow that they're friendly and
that they wanna decrease thedistance between them.
Those are going to be thedistance decreasing signals.
All right, the next area ofcanine body language that I
wanna talk about are playsignals.

Okay, and we've got the playbow, when a dog lowers their front
end while keeping their rear endraised and that signaling that
they wanna engage in friendlyplay.
A dog may bounce up and down,often with a loose and wiggly
body, to invite play.
They might want to startchasing and running to invite

They initiate that chase andother running games to engage in
Another play signal is lightnipping or mouthing, and a lot
of people don't understand.
They think that anytime thedog's using its mouth that it's
biting and it's aggressive.

No, light nipping or mouthing.
Dogs may gently nip or mout atanother dog or even a person
during play, and this is thetype of nipping or mouthing that
does not cause harm.
Another play signal pawing Adog may paw at another dog, or
the dog may paw at anotherperson to invite them to play

and they're showing that hey,I'm friendly.
Another play signal could bevocalizing dogs.
They may make playful noises,such as barking or grunting, to
invite play and communicatetheir excitement.
All right, some additional playsignals playful growling and

again, this is where you reallygotta take things into context.
All right, playful growling isnot the same growling, that is,
the distance decreasing growlingwhere the dog feels threatened
and they want space.
In this case, the playfulgrowling.
A dog might emit a low,non-threatening growl, but this

happens during play and whatthat does is it just signals
their excitement and theirengagement and then activity.
All right.
Another play signal is tug ofwar.
A dog might initiate a game oftug of war by offering a toy or
a rope to another dog or aperson, inviting them to play

That's another play signal.
A dog could show interest inplaying fetch by bringing a ball
or a toy or dropping it nearanother dog or a person,
indicating their desire to play.
All right, here's one thateverybody's talked about.
Another play signal the zoomies.
That's right, dogs may engagein spontaneous burst of energy.

You know what?
They are?
Running around in circles orfast, erratic patterns to signal
their excitement and to signaltheir playful mood.
Yeah, that's what it means.
Now, another play signalrolling on the ground.
A dog might roll on the groundor expose their belly during
play, inviting others to join inthe fun.

How about playful pouncing?
Another play signal A dog maypounce on a toy or playfully
pounce towards another dog or aperson and they're trying to
initiate play.
Another play signal, the lastone I'm going to talk about.
We talked earlier about thatswaying or that wiggly body.

Right, so a dog could display aswaying or wiggly body during
play, indicating theirexcitement and desire to engage
with others.
So, yes, in that case.
So we talked about distancedecreasing signals and that
swaying was a distancedecreasing signal, but it's also

a play signal.
It can be both.
All right, the next area ofcanine body language we're going
to talk about, and this issomething you really need to pay
This is where a lot of peopleget this wrong, and that's tail
position signals.
Okay, now let's talk about ahigh tail.
A tail held high can indicatethat there is a lot of arousal

in the dog.
It can indicate a great deal ofalertness or dominance.
A high, stiff tail can alsosignal aggression.
Okay, now what about theneutral tail?
A tail held in the neutralposition, either raised or

lowered, usually indicates thatthe dog is relaxed, that the dog
is content.
All right, now the low tail atail held low, near or below the
level of the dog's body.
That can indicate uncertaintyor anxiety or submission.
And of course, we've got thetucked tail.

A tucked tail between the legsoften signals fear, often
signals that the dog is stressed, and it can be a signal of
Now you have to take intocontext your specific dog and
how they carry their tail.
Different dogs have differenttail carriages.

You know maybe you've got a dogthat even when it's thrilled
and happy, the tail is low, nearor below the level of your
dog's body and we might think,okay, that indicates uncertainty
or anxiety or submission.

But that's not always the case.
See canine body language.
There are gray areas.
You need to look at the entiredog, all of its canine body
language and the environmentthat it's in.
Now, this is part two of caninebody language.

Make sure that you're listening.
Make sure that you're listeningto part one, the first canine
body language podcast, so thatthis will also make sense.
All right, now it's not justthe position of the tail that is
communication, but also thewagging of the tail.

All right, so a fast, high wag,a fast, high wagging tail,
usually indicates excitement andhappiness, however.
However, it can also signalarousal or assertiveness,
especially if the tail is heldstiffly.

Okay, all right.
What about the loose, widewagging tail?
A tail that wags in a very wide, loose arc often indicates a
very friendly and relaxed dog.
Sometimes that tail movement isknown as the windmill, again,

because it wags in a very wide,very loose arc.
Okay, all right.
Another tail wagging signal isthe low, slow wag.
A low, slow wagging tail cansignal uncertainty in the dog.
It can signal that the dog hassome insecurities.

It can also signal appeasement.
Okay, that type of wag isusually accompanied by
submissive body language.
So you might see othersubmissive or appeasement type
signals in the dog's bodylanguage that has a low, slow

All right.
Tail wagging with full bodymovement Well, when a dog's
entire body wiggles along withtheir tail, well, that's usually
an indication that the dog isvery happy, very excited to see
Okay, Now, another tail waggingsignal, the last one we're

going to talk about, is the tailwagging to one side.
Yeah, a lot of people don't knowthis, including a lot of dog
A tail wagging, that is,wagging predominantly to one
side, can mean different things.
So, for example, if the tail iswagging more to the dog's right

, the tail, as it's going leftto right, back and forth, it
breaks further to the dog'sright.
All right, that can signalpositive emotions such as
happiness or the dog havinginterest.
However, if the tail is waggingmore to the dog's left, you

know that tail's breakingfurther to the left in that wag.
That can signal negativeemotions such as anxiety or
stress or caution.
So watch that tail wag.
Does it break more to the left,where the dog might be a little
bit anxious, or does it breakfurther to the right, where the

dog is happy?
I find that one to be veryinteresting.
All right, let's go into someother canine body language
signals, and this is going to bebarking signals.
Okay, can you notice thedifferences in the way that your
dog barks?
So, for example, an alarm bark.

An alarm bark is very sharp.
It's a very sharp, loud barking, and that often indicates that
the dog's alerting to somethingthat they perceive as a
potential threat, such as anunknown person approaching their
territory or an unknown dogapproaching them.

All right, then we've got theattention seeking bark.
That's that high-pitched,repetitive bark that signals
that the dog is seekingattention or wants something
from you, the pet parent.
Have you experienced that withyour dog?
Your dog wants some kind of atoy or food or play and they
start that high-pitched,repetitive barking.

Well, that's attention seeking.
And then we've got the playfulbark.
A higher-pitched, lighter barkusually indicates the dog is
excited and wants to engage inplay.
Then the other bark that wenote is the frustration bark.
Okay, a lower-pitchedrepetitive bark, though

Lower-pitched repetitive bark,that can signal that a dog is
frustrated or that it's agitated, often due to being unable to
reach a desired object or aperson.
And then the last barkingsignal that I want to talk about
is the fear bark.
When we're talking about thefear bark, that is, a

high-pitched, rapid series ofbarks, and when there's that
high-pitched, rapid series ofbarks, that can indicate that a
dog is afraid and trying to warnoff a perceived threat.
All right, now let's talk aboutsome other vocalizations and

what they mean.
Okay, so let's talk aboutwhining.
Whining, I'm talking about ahigh-pitched vocalization and
that can indicate a variety ofdifferent emotions, such as
stress, anxiety, discomfort or aneed for attention.
Dogs might whine when they wantsomething like food or play or

when they're separated fromtheir pet parents.
All right, let's talk aboutcrying.
Crying can be similar towhining it's similar in pitch
and, in this case, whining.
Sometimes that might indicatepain or discomfort or distress.
Dogs may cry if they'rephysically injured or if they're

experiencing great emotionaldistress.
Whimpering well, that's alittle different.
Whimpering is a softer, moresubtle vocalization, but this
too can signal fear, can signalstress or submission.
You know dogs may whimper whenthey're in an uncomfortable or

unfamiliar situation or whenthey're unsure of how to respond
to perceived threats.
Okay, all right.
Now canine body language signalscan fall into multiple
categories and this is where youreally need to take into

consideration the entireaggregate of canine body
So, for example, you may have adog that has its ears pinned
back, but you're playing and thedog's happy.
Well, those ears being pinnedback don't mean that the dog is
So the context, the environment, what was happening we're

playing is very different thanmaybe going for a walk and
there's some strange dogs and wesee the ears being pinned back.
Okay, so let's talk about thetail wagging, so distance
decreasing signals that wetalked about before.
A gentle, relaxed tail wag canindicate a friendly and
non-threatening demeanor,signaling a desire to decrease

the distance between the dog andothers.
However, it can also be astress signal.
A low, slow wag with a tensebody can indicate stress or
It can also be a play signal afast, high tail wag combined
with a loose, wiggly body.
That can signal excitement andan invitation to play.

All right, pawing okay.
Pawing is another one that canfall into different categories.
It can be a play signal A dogcan paw at another dog or a
person to invite play, to showthat they're friendly.
But a dog may lift a paw as adistance decreasing signal.

They may lift their paw andoffer it to another dog or a
person to signal that they wantto engage and decrease the
distance between them.
And there's some gray areaswhen it comes to vocalization
So there's the distanceincreasing signal where

aggressive or loud barking canintimidate a dog that wants more
It can also be a play signal.
Dogs may make playful noises,such as barking or grunting, to
invite play and communicatetheir excitement.
So that's why it's important toreally understand the little
nuances with all the canine bodylanguage signals because, again

, they're not always black andwhite.
Distance decreasing signals,like a dog could make friendly
vocalization, such as whining orsoft barks to signal their
desire to engage and decreasedistance between them, but other
whining could mean distress.
You've got to take intoconsideration what's happening

in the environment.
What other canine body languagesignals are going along with
the one signal that you'retalking about?
Going back to the differentcanine body language signals
that can fall into multiplecategories that are a little
gray nipping or mouthing.

You know that can be a playsignal and they play with other
dogs or people.
They're not causing harm.
But it can also be nipping andmouthing.
It could also be an appeasementsignal.
The dog might gently chew ormout another dog's muzzle or a
person's hand as a sign ofsubmission and appeasement.
Whether it's being back, theycan be a stress signal, but they

can also be an appeasementsignal.
I mentioned to you some dogs,like my dog, when we play, the
ears go back Again, taking intoconsideration what's going on in
the environment, what'shappening and what are the other
aspects of the dog's caninebody language communicating All

Another area that is a littlegray is licking, for example.
One of the stress signals thatdogs can display is they may
repeatedly lick their lips rightwhen they're feeling anxious or
Well, an appeasement signal.
One of them is a dog may lickanother dog's face or a person's

hand to show submission andappeasement.
So how are they using theirtongue?
How are they licking?
Yawning All right.
These yawn when they'restressed or when they're
uncomfortable, and that yawnmight be prolonged and more
exaggerated than, say, a typicalyawn.
But a dog might yawn as a wayto self-soothe and to calm

themselves down in a stressfulsituation, as well as to
communicate theirnon-threatening intentions.
So yawning can be both a stresssignal and a calming signal
Turning their head away.
Turning their head away can be acalming signal, where a dog
might turn their head away toavoid direct eye contact,

signaling hey, I'm not a threatand they're trying to calm the
But it can also be a stresssignal.
Turning the head away may alsobe a sign of discomfort, as the
dog tries to avoid a perceivedthreat or an unpleasant stimulus
Sniffing the ground Okay,sniffing the ground?

Well, dogs may suddenly sniffthe ground, a signal that
they're not interested inconfrontation, thereby trying to
calm the situation.
In that case, the sniffing ofthe ground is a calming signal,
but sniffing the ground can alsobe a displacement behavior, a

stress signal indicating thatthe dog is feeling anxious or
uncertain about the surroundings.
All right, let's talk aboutsitting or lying down.
Dogs might sit or lie down toshow that they're not a threat
and they're trying to calm thesituation.
That's a calming signal, butsitting or lying down could also

be a sign of stress, especiallywhen the dog is tense, refuses
to move in response to astressful situation or stimulus.
That's why, I say it over andover again, it's absolutely
crucial to consider the contextand other body language cues

when you're interpreting a dog'semotions and their intentions.
Those signals can vary betweenindividual dogs and individual
situations, but having a goodgrasp of canine body language is

something that will allow youto be able to again understand
what your dog's underlyingemotions are, what its thoughts
are, what its intentions are.
When you can understand thecanine body language, you can
begin to work a lot smarter interms of understanding what your

dog needs.
As I've said before, caninebody language is absolutely
crucial when it comes to beingable to teach your dog to be
relaxed and calm, do theexposure therapy of counter
conditioning and desensitization.
Make sure that you've listenedto part one of the canine body
language podcast.

If you haven't, have a good dayeverybody.
See you next week.
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