Tips to train and communicate with your (or anyone else’s) dog

» Watch your dog’s ears. If their ears are standing up, and their tail is wagging, that usually means: “I’m happy” or “come on, let’s play.” If the ears are pitched back, and the tail is down, that’s a sign of anger, fear or stress. Your dog is thinking: “stay back and leave me alone.”

» Sniffing. Dogs sniff the ground for a lot of reasons. Usually, they’re just exploring an enticing scent, or looking for a place to relieve themselves. However, dogs also sniff the ground when they’re worried, or ill at ease.  So if your dog suddenly starts sniffing the ground, take a look around to see what’s in the area. If there’s a bigger dog nearby, or a strange person, that sniffing could be your dog’s way of saying: “I see you. I’m minding my own business here, and I don’t want any trouble.”

» Any unusual panting, yawning or drooling. That’s often a sign of stress. You’ll usually see this when your dog is in an unfamiliar surrounding, when they hear a sudden loud noise, or when they’re left alone at home for the first time.

» Your OWN body language. Dogs are very sensitive to slight changes in humans breathing and behavior. So if they see you pacing around the kitchen because you’re nervous, happy, or angry, they’ll zero in on that – and respond accordingly.  On the other hand, if you project a calm demeanor – by sitting comfortably, controlling your breathing, and talking in a steady tone of voice, your dog will be more receptive to your commands.

Man, I must stress my dog out, he yawns a lot! – Justin

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