Have you ever been at the dog park and seen two dogs get in a fight? Or heard of a dog that viciously attacked another dog “out of nowhere?” In reality, dogs give plenty of signs of fear or aggression before things escalate to a fight—signs that often go undetected or get overlooked.
Dogs obviously do not speak English but they do have their own communication cues that you as a pet parent are responsible for learning. Being in tune with your furry friend’s communication signals will help prevent problems and may even save your pet’s life—of the life of another pet your dog might attack.
You may know some classic cues, like raised hair on the back or baring teeth, but did you know hiding behind your legs is a problem, too?
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Does your dog howl or hide when 4th of July fireworks go off? Does he cower when thunderstorms hit? Does he dread the car and even have accidents on car rides? Can he not stand when you leave his side and destroy things while you’re gone?
Everyone is unique. We each have our own likes, dislikes, personality and comfort zone.
Dogs also have these character traits but sometimes, it’s hard to remember that when meeting a dog for the first time.
Some canine companions are incredibly friendly. They’ll run to you with a furiously wagging tail, practically begging you to pet them and play with them. This scenario is often a default expectation among most people when encountering an unfamiliar dog in public.
But it’s important to know this is not always the case. And even if your dog is friendly, that doesn’t mean every dog the two of your encounter will be, too.
Just like humans, some dogs need a little more space than what people expect. A dog may be a bit skittish and leery around new animals or people. But how do you know when this is the case?