Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tail Up, Tail Down, What's Your Dog Feeling?

A wagging tail does not always mean you're dealing with a happy, friendly dog. Sometimes it can actually be a sign of aggression. You've got to assess the body language of the entire animal, not just the tail. Think of the dog's tail like a flag. There are high flying flags, and flags that fly half-mast. But the dog with his tail between his legs is definitely submissive and nervious. This type of dog is not relaxed, or happy, which is an issue that can be worked on.

Half-mast tails are a good thing, along with relaxed ears, posture, and shoulders. His walk should be relaxed as well, eyes and forehead relaxed. This is how you want your dog to be, and if this is achieved, your dog will be most likely well behaved and generally obedient. It is the attitude you would like to see when training your dog, and the best attitude for your companion. Your dog will probably show you respect, as well as respect for other humans. This is important, for the dog's safety and happiness, as well as yours and the people around you.

If your dog is flying his flag high in the air all of the time, and walking with shoulders up, fixated stares, or even hair standing up between the shoulders and the head, the dog is ready to go into full force, and is behaving as the alpha-male, or the dominant one. This is a dog that can tear up your belongings, bite or nip - even attack a human, and will generally not respect you or other humans. This is not necessarily a good thing, and should be worked on to correct the issue.