Understanding the Many Moods of Your Puppy
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Your puppy communicates in more ways than you might think. There is much more to a puppy's communication skills than just barking or wagging his tail. Your puppy has a variety of ways to express all of his moods. Your puppy can communicate with all parts of his body, and understanding some of what he is trying to say makes for a much happier relationship with your puppy.
The following is a helpful list of guidelines you can follow to determine the mood and body language of your puppy: A dominant dog will have his ears pricked up or leaning more to the front, its mouth usually a bit open, eyes wide and staring, body rigid, tail either rigid or puffed up, and will usually display a very low, aggressive sounding growl or bark.
A friendly dog will have his ears perked up, his eyes wide, a calm mouth, a constantly wagging tail, and will possibly be whining or playfully barking and may also be shuffling around a bit.
A playful dog will more likely than not be wagging its tail and a bit bent over, in a ready-to-pounce position. A submissive dog will have ears folded against its head, and possibly will have his eyes closed. A submissive dog looks mild and timid, and shows that it is not aggressive, and is definitely not playful.
An aggressive dog will have its ears flat against the head, narrowed eyes, a tense body, teeth bared, and a rigid or ruffled tail. An aggressive dog will almost certainly growl or bark.
A worried dog will whimper and bark repeatedly, with ruffled neck hair, and may even seem restless and unable to stop moving or pacing. A scared dog will lower its body, have a tail which is lowered and between the back legs, an arched back, he will not look directly at you but away to the side, and he will whine or bark fearfully.
A dog that is stressed will have his ears back and down against the head, have his mouth agape with fast breathing or panting, a tail between the legs, and will possibly be skittish and even visibly shaking.
Using these guidelines can help you in some basic training of your puppy. Knowing his mood can help you to determine how he is reacting to the training. When beginning your training, if your puppy seems playful and friendly, this is perfectly normal. Your puppy may even try to come off as a bit dominant towards you, and you simply need to be a bit more forceful. A bit of submissiveness is quite alright too. This is showing that your puppy knows who is in charge, which is quite okay. However, if your puppy seems scared, nervous, stressed, or aggressive, you should immediately stop your training and comfort your puppy. You do not want to give a negative feel to the training because this will lead to long-term problems with your puppy's obedience.
You can also use these guidelines for your puppy's moods to see how your puppy reacts to things in day-to-day life. You will soon learn what your puppy likes and dislikes, and this will ultimately lead to a happier puppy and a better relationship.
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