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Friday, June 25, 2010

Dog Body Language: A Primer from the ASPCA

(c) by Carrie Boyko
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How would you describe 
Hondo's Body Language?
This guys looks relaxed, content and friendly to me, but those are not the words that all rescuers and other dog professionals might use.

Have you ever listened to two dog rescuers talking? They often seem to have their own language when describing the dogs they are assessing. That's because they do. Here's a nice presentation done by the ASPCA, specifically for rescuers, vets, and other dog professionals You may find it helpful in following their lingo, and it will be helpful in labeling your own dog's behavior for your vet or a trainer.

I will warn you upfront though, I was surprised to see that the ASPCA did not draw any parallels between these body language 'labels' and their meaning. 

As I continue to read books about dogs and dog behavior, I have found that many professionals have differing opinions about the meaning of various body language messages. I suppose the truest answer will come from the owner who has known the dog the longest, but even then some dogs can surprise us. 

If you own a large or 'bully' breed dog, it is wise to acquaint yourself with dog body language and learn as much as you can about your own dog's particular behaviors. If you become concerned with a behavior that you believe might escalate into a problem, get help before it does. Our ASK THE DOG TRAINER Columnist, Judith Joseph, will be happy to address your questions, if you'd like to drop her a note. 

Here it is again: The ASPCA's 'Safer Glossary', a video presentation of canine body language.

© Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved

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