Today I have some photographs of canine body language to share with everyone! Zoe has always sort of disliked puppies, they are just not her thing. She thinks they are really annoying and after dealing with too many adolescent dogs who do not listen and are rude, she doesn't like putting up with them. We had a young puppy run up on us when we were hiking and these are some of the photos I got of them communicating with each other.
NOTE: This puppy ran up to us when his owner was all the way across the park and he was not under any sort of control. This is considered an off leash trail/park but dogs are supposed to be under voice control. The greeting between the dogs only lasted 5-10 seconds before my husband called our dogs away. I try to never put my dogs in situations where they will fail and because we know Zoe isn't thrilled with puppies we kept their interaction very brief. Luckily the puppy got the memo immediately and wanted to be my friend instead.
You can totally see how clear Zoe is with the photo above. She was not thrilled with this stranger running up on us. Her eyes are kind of intense, she's got "whale eye" (the white part of her eye showing), she's got a bit of a mohawk on her butt and her tail is really high. She's clearly saying "you better not mess with me, kid!"
Phoenix is also pretty worried about the greeting, in the first photo she's pretty much "who the hell are you and what do you want" but she is a lot more tolerant of puppy shenanigans and calms down quickly. If you notice in the second photo, Phoenix has one paw raised and that is often a sign of anxiety and/or being unsure.
The puppy has great body language, too. He's telling both of my dogs that he is not a threat. His ears are back, he has whale eye and is body is a nice curve. His tail is also loose.
In this shot you can see both Zoe and Phoenix's faces. They are clearly unimpressed with him. Phoenix has a bit of a whale eye, too! You can see the total change in the puppy when he spotted me! He's not showing any aggression with baring his teeth he's giving me what's called a "submissive grin". He really wanted to be my friend! His ears are back, he has whale eye and he's screaming "I'm not a threat, I'm friendly but a little nervous, will you be my friend?"
I'm so sad that I didn't get these photos completely in focus but I think you can see the differences in the puppy's body language pretty well! After dealing with those grumpy females, he spots me and he's completely relaxes, his eyes are soft and he's smiling at me.
Here's another adorable shot of this guy. I loved him and wanted to steal him! It's not very often that I find a dog who is good at communicating with my dogs and listening to what they are "saying" too. He was perfect!
My husband calls our dogs away and the puppy's owner makes an attempt at getting him back.
After the owner of the puppy finally collected him, you can see that Zoe was still listening for him. The owner was directly behind Zoe and sort of to the left. Her ear is back and she's paying attention to what is going on behind her. She also still has a butt mohawk but her tail has gone back to being more loose. You can also tell by looking at her face that she is still unimpressed.
Once the puppy was gone and the doggie Dad broke out some treats, the girls were much happier!
I think dog body language is fascinating and it's so important for us as owners to be able to tell what our dogs are saying! If you would like to learn more about dog body language, Modern Canine Training made a great video on the subject: Understanding Dog Body Language (Zoe and Phoenix make a cameo at the end). I would recommend checking it out!