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Recommended Resources to Decode Canine Body Language

Knowing what a dog is trying to say with their body language is important for so many reasons! Are they uncomfortable with how another dog is greeting them? Is the way your dog plays with another at the dog park appropriate? Is your dog trying to tell a child to stop petting them? Are they frustrated during a training session?

By understanding what different body language cues look like, you can keep dogs safe and comfortable, train more efficiently, and build a better bond with your pup. Being able to ‘speak dog’ can help you recognize why a dog is behaving a certain way, which is the first step in changing any unwanted behavior.

Dogs have a wide range of body language signals, some are simple while others can be quite complex and difficult to catch. It takes time and practice to learn a new language but keep at it! Below is a collection of resources to get you started on the right track in learning about dog body language and why they do what they do.

Books about Reading Dog Body Language:

canine body languageCanine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog

by Brenda Aloff 

secret-language-of-dogs-2The Secret Language of Dogs: Unlocking the Canine Mind for a Happier Pet

by Victoria Stilwell

how-to-behave-so-your-dog-behavesHow to Behave So Your Dog Behaves

by Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

decoding your dogDecoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones

by Debra F. Horowitz and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

The Dog Listener- Learn How to Communicate with Your Dog for Willing Cooperation2The Dog Listener: Learn How to Communicate with Your Dog for Willing Cooperation

by Jan Fennell

the other end of the leashThe Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.

On Talking Terms with Dogs- Calming SignalsOn Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals

by Turid Rugaas

The Secret Language of Dogs- How to Communicate Effectively with Your DogThe Secret Language of Dogs: How to Communicate Effectively with Your Dog

by Heather Dunphy

Dog to Dog Communication- The Right Way to Socialize Your DogDog to Dog Communication: The Right Way to Socialize Your Dog

by Jamie Shaw

How to Speak DogHow to Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication

by Stanley Coren

The Culture Clash-1The Culture Clash

by Jean Donaldson

How to Speak Dog- A Guide to Decoding Dog Language2How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language

by Aline Alexander Newman & Gary Weitzman


Sitting through conferences isn't always the most fun way to spend the day, but this presentation given by Dr. Sara Bennett at the Purdue Veterinary Medicine 2012 Fall Conference is one we can all really learn a lot from, and does a nice job of explaining the body language cues as they happen:

Blogs, Links, and Other Resources:

Eileen and Dogs is a great resource for canine body language information with clear visual examples.

The Dog Decoder App is a great smartphone app that helps you understand dog body language, and is great for kids and adults!

QUIZ: How Fluent are You in Dog-Speak?

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers has put together a list of Dog Park Body Language with links to even more recommended resources at the bottom.