Understanding Canine Body Language


Fri 26th Mar 2021
A little girl and a puppy

In our first article on children and dogs we looked at what to expect when you bring a puppy home.
We have looked at negative body language where dogs are displaying emotions, either positive which is
obvious as the dogs posture is friendly and happy, neutral where the dog is calm relaxed and in their normal state or negative.

The negative body language is a sign the dogs emotions are negative. This can be with anything in the environment but for the sake of this series it is kids.

Dogs usually have a number of signs they are worried about something and will usually display these before resorting to aggression. Your dog is uncomfortable if they want to move away, safely creating space between themselves and the children. If they are on a lead or there is no escape the will display negative body language, this can be a combination of things and the obvious signs are lip licking, yawning, ears back tail down or between the kegs, the body is cowered or stiff, the face can be stiff and you can see the whites of the dogs eyes.

If you see this help your dog make good decisions by taking the dog away to a safer distance where they can assess the situation from safety and create a more positive emotion.

At this safe distance you can engage your dog is some fun exercises, if the dog does not take treats or engage with you increase the distance further to a place where the dog feels safe.

You can, over time decrease this distance creating positive experiences around kids and gradually over weeks possibly months desensitise your dog to coping better around children.

This is similar with anything that creates a negative emotion in your dogs.