There are many forms of aggressive behavior and the dogs posture
will change depending on the reason for the aggression. An
aggressive dog may adopt a pose much like a challenge, he may
even wag his tail. The dog's ears may be pinned back and the
mouth may appear pinched, whether in a growl or not (this is called
a 'short mouth'). The dog will likely bare his teeth and may even
snap the jaws open and closed. Another dog may adopt a more
submissive posture but still show the same pinched mouth, pinned
ears, etc. Both of these dogs are equally dangerous. If you are
near a dog that is displaying either of these behaviors, under no
circumstances should you meet the dog's eyes as this can be
considered a challenge in dog language. You also should not run
as you may trigger a prey drive response that could be fatal. If you
own a dog that shows aggressive tendancies, you are unable to
deal with, you need to have a professional work with it. You and
your family could be in both physical and financial danger. An
aggressive dog is a liability on all levels.
Knowing how to read canine body language is not only a way to raise your level of success in interacting with your own
dog, it can save you from danger when dealing with an unknown dog. Once you are able to read a dog's body language,
you will be able to unlock a whole new level of communication. While we are verbally based, dogs' first line of
communication is through body language. With this body language, dogs are able to communicate a vast amount of
information to each other regarding emotional status, etc.
This dog is alert but has a relaxed posture. His ears are relaxed, his eyes are
almond shaped, his face is relaxed, his body is square with all four feet directly
under him, his tail is relaxed and he has an air of calm about him.
This dog's legs are directly under him, his ears are forward and relaxed, the eyes are
soft, the dog is panting slightly and exhibits a 'long mouth'. The tail is held horizontal and
appears to be wagging slightly. Without knowing the full context of the environment, I
would guess that the dog is probably panting from warmth.
It is a mistake to believe a wagging tail alone is a sign of a happy, receptive dog. Tail
wagging can also appear with body language associated with fear and aggression.
When assessing a dog's body language, assess the whole body, make no assumptions.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
This dog has his tail up above neutral position, His body is tense, he has
one ear cocked backwards and one forwards. He is panting and he has
tension in his face. His eyes are almond shaped. Without seeing the full
context of this picture, it would be my guess that this dog has been playing
or is in the midst of play. The stress shown in his body and face is a good
stress related to the exercise of play.
This dog is showing submissive behavior. She is exposing her belly, she has a little bit of
'whale eye' showing, her ears appear to be pulled back . The picture doesn't show her tail
so I can't tell if it is tucked or not. Without seeing the full context of this dog's surroundings
it is hard to fully read the behavior. I would tend to guess she is uncomfortable with her
surroundings at the moment.
This dog is showing a display of submission. Her head is lifted, ears are
pulled back slightly but her muzzle appears relaxed. There is some tension
in her face, her eyes are slightly squinty and her tail is tucked. Without
seeing the full context I would say that this submissive display is directed at
her owner which she has a good relationship with.
This dog is in a classic fearful/submissive pose. Her body is very tense and she is
crouching lower to the ground with her hips under her. She is holding her ears flat
against her skull and she is likely averting her eyes. Her tail is tucked well beneath her
and it would not be surprising to know that she is also trembling, she may even
urinate. This is a dangerous position for the person with their hand down. If this dog
senses the slightest bit of danger from this person (whether real or preceived) She
could quickly turn agressive, growling and possibly biting. Her body 'motion' is
backwards indicating that she is ready to run if she feels the need but if she felt
trapped, a bite would surely come.
This dog has his tail up, with a forward body position. His back legs are slightly behind
and his front legs tucked slightly under. His body is stiff, his eyes are focused and his
facial features show tension. Without seeing the rest of the context, it would be a good
guess to say this dog is alerting on a game bird or something to that affect.