During my training sessions, classes, and rooms on Clubhouse I talk about body language SO much that I wanted to put some resources together for everyone to find them easily.
It is important to understand the language of dogs and how quickly dogs speak with us and with each other!
Understanding body language at the dog park can be so important for everyone’s safety and well-being.
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In the video above, Tiana (beagle) and Max (Husky) and their pet parents took a moment to enjoy a rather empty dog park and let the pups run together. They left the leash on Max for safety as he doesn’t spend much time off leash yet, and Tiana likes to help walk her dog friends so the moment was also an opportunity to get that silliness on film.
When another pup comes barreling in hot to the interaction Max slows down in pace until he stops, tucks his tail and hind end down and keeps focus on the new pup with a few lip licks. There could be a couple of reasons for this – Max isn’t comfortable with new dog play without a warm up period of getting to know each other, or Max was concerned about the new dog’s focus and intensity toward his friend Tiana.
The new pup does the right thing by slowing down too and then asking about playing with a bit of a head dip (the beginning stages of a play bow) while allowing space between them. Max communicates “no thank you” by ignoring the new dog and engaging with Tiana only while also putting himself between Tiana and the new dog. The new dog takes that info and moves on to find another play partner.
This was a pretty quick, quiet interaction that ended well but could have gone poorly if any of the dogs struggled to communicate. What body language did you notice during the interaction?