It’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week®! There are 78 million dogs in the US. And every year, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs – more than half of them children! 😕 With many of us working from home, the need to manage dog-human interactions is intensified – even more so if you have children at home. Many times dogs give off warning signs before they bite. Learn how to read basic canine body language – it’s one way you can help prevent dog bites. 😉
The body language of dogs is the primary way to read a dog’s attitude at the moment, whether it’s going to be cooperative or headstrong or something in between. It will also reveal a good bit about the condition of its health.
The position of a dog’s ears can be one of the best communicators of the dog’s attitude at the moment. Ears held in a neutral, pricked, alert, changing, pinned back, or extremely pinned back position can be the most easily read indicator of the way a dog is feeling.
While dogs’ eyes may seem expressive and provide a window into their soul, you need to pay close attention to them along with other signs to determine a dog’s attitude at the moment. Close examination of eyes can also reveal clues of a dog’s health and whether it’s in pain.
Do dogs smile? There’s no doubt they move their lips and tongues in ways that mimic what humans would call a grin. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are happy. The condition and color of the tongue and gums are some of the most easily read signs of a dog’s condition and health.
How a dog is standing, moving, and holding its body is, overall, its most indicative body language. Combined with the other indicators, posture will give you a pretty clear picture of whether a dog is happy, angry, concerned, fearful, and every other emotion. Posture is also extremely important in telling you about a dog’s health – especially whether it’s in pain.
The most common way people judge a dog’s disposition is by how it is holding and moving its tail. However, there’s more to it than whether a dog is simply wagging its tail or is holding it still. There are many subtleties in the tail that can be communicative of how the dog is feeling.
For more information on how you can prevent dog bites, visit the AVMA website.