Category: hand signals

Our Guide to Dog Body Language: Know What Your Dog Wants

Even though dogs can’t communicate the way humans do, they know how to convey what they want using body language. Certain gestures, positions, and barks all signal how they’re feeling. The more you learn how your dog communicates, the more you can understand what they’re trying to tell you and act accordingly. You don’t have to be fluent in dog body language to take care of them, but it would help to know what they want.

To the untrained eye, acquainting yourself with dog behavior can seem complicated. However, with our guide and enough practice, you’ll become a pro at deciphering your dog’s expressions and gestures. Here’s what you need to know:

Aggressive Body Language

When dogs are aggressive, they tend to clench their mouths, indicating that something else has caught their attention. Raised, stiff hair on the back of their necks shows that they’re angry as well.

Dogs that shift their weight backward indicate that they’re about to lunge and pounce at something, which can quickly escalate into a violent situation. If they’re glaring at you or another dog, they’re likely feeling aggressive and may act by pouncing or barking.

Submissive Body Language

Dogs show their submissiveness by looking away, especially around people and animals, as it displays their trust. If they roll over on their back and expose their belly, it also shows that they’re comfortable with you and submit to you. Sometimes, dogs do this when playing with other dogs as well.

Another sign of submission is licking their nose or lips, but they sometimes do this when nervous. If they lick other dogs, it means they’re showing respect to what they believe to be the more dominant dog. 

Timid Body Language

Like humans, dogs shiver when they feel many different ways: incredible excitement, physical illness, or shyness. If they tremble around specific people or objects, it may indicate past trauma. Some timid dogs yawn to release internal tension. It can also suggest that they feel uncomfortable. A tense body with eyes wide open, ears pinned back, and a tail tucked between the legs are clear signs that the dog is scared.

Excited Body Language

Dogs display their excitement in many different ways. When they actively move while having their eyes wide open, they’re overly excited about something. A panting dog can mean an overheated dog, but it can also demonstrate their eagerness. Barking when they see another dog or a specific object is also how they communicate their enthusiasm. Running in circles, chasing their tails is another way to show that they’re very happy, although it may also signal a behavioral issue.

Interpreting Dog Tail Movement

How a dog moves their tail also communicates what they’re feeling. If your dog puts their tail in the air, it shows their excitement; however, if their body is tense, it means they’re focusing on an object that has caught their attention. However, if their tail is high while walking or playing, it means they’re enjoying. A relaxed tail means they’re passive or relaxed, and a full-body tail wag indicates overwhelming excitement.

On the other hand, if they have a pointed, tense tail, it means they’re feeling uncomfortable or restless. If their tail is between the legs, it means they’re afraid, feeling ashamed, or uncomfortable as they’re trying to make themselves as small as possible. 


Dogs make a lot of sounds that indicate how they’re feeling. They often want to warn or intimidate another human or dog when they growl, exposing their teeth. However, if the teeth are hidden, then it is a show of aggressive playfulness. If they bark once, it means they’re trying to alert you to something. However, if they bark multiple times, it often means they’re trying to tell you something, like conveying hunger or wanting attention from you.

Whining or yipping often indicates loneliness or discomfort. Groaning or yawning typically happens when they’re in the middle of relaxing themselves. If you catch your dog howling, it usually means they’re trying to communicate with other dogs.


Knowing how to interpret your dog’s gestures, barks, and body language will help you understand them better and deepen your relationship with them. By using our guide, you’ll become an expert in finding out what your dog is thinking.

Dog Obedience Training is committed to providing useful information in dog obedience training, helping pet owners everywhere teach their furry friends to be more behaved and well-mannered. Check out our other dog training blogs for more guides!

Understanding Hand Commands Can Save Your Dog’s Life!

Understanding Hand Commands Can Save Your Dog’s Life!

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drukaman *andré ferreira* / Foter / CC BY-NC

There are many different hand signs and verbal commands used in obedience training for dogs. However, no signals are official, and professional trainers differ in their methods. It is important for any dog owner to use whatever method they are most comfortable with and to find the easiest to follow. In order to get the best response from your pet you must connect with him, so it is vital that you remain relaxed and patient throughout the training session. If you are not relaxed, your pet may sense this and become frustrated.

Being consistent with obedience training of your dogs and training them to understand hand commands is vitally important to any dog training. You can train your dog by using a combination of both verbal and hand signal methods. Dogs use their nose, ears, and eyes to experience the world around them. A dog will understand the intention of their owner by their display of body language. A dog will always look to his owner for guidance. He will watch for hand signals and follow your lead. If you are an owner who would like to fine-tune your dog to engage his senses in order to obediently follow your commands, hand signals are the greatest foundation. Hand signals are able to reinforce commands you give your dog when they are in a noisy environment and unable to hear your verbal command. They are also essential to police situations where silence may be important. In this article, we will explore some of the more commonly taught commands for training your pet in this way.


“Sit” is the easiest and simplest command to teach and the most natural signal action. While holding the dog’s favorite treat or toy, you should lift your hand from your side directly to just above your dog’s nose. Your dog will naturally sit when following this lure. The dog should then be rewarded as soon as his bottom is on the ground. This command should be done with great patience, in short sessions each and every day. Extend your arm forward slowly and lift your hand with your palm up, without a treat. You must highly praise your dog, giving him the thumbs up sign once he sits.


For a “down” signal you must turn your palms downwards while lowering your hand. You can place a treat in between your fingers as a lure for your dog, while slowly lowering your hands to the ground. Reward your dog with verbal praise and a treat immediately when he lies down. After accomplishing this, you should graduate by extending your arm, palm facing downwards, and then lowering your hand. Do not forget to give your dog the thumbs up as a reward for good behavior.


“Come” is a command that is able to protect a dog from trouble and danger, making it probably one of the most important of the hand commands. This signal is carried out by extending your arm straight out and then placing your palm over towards your heart. You can also teach this command with rewards following the same process you previously used with other commands. You should first do it at a short distance. You can get your dog to consistently obey at long distances by practicing this command with a leash; a long lead can be especially helpful for graduating to long distances.


You will then be able to practice in an enclosed area without a leash, at a later stage.


Another one of the commands that will protect your dog and keep him back until you need him, is “Stay.” Make a stop sign with your palm while holding your arm in the upright position. Without touching his muzzle, hold your palm close to it. Reward him with a treat after only a few seconds of obedience. You can slowly increase the time length and distance by gradually moving away from your pet until you are successful for a period of five minutes. Take this opportunity to teach the OK signal. Release your dog from the command by using the index finger and thumb held in a circle. This must be followed by the “come” signal for the dog to approach you. This is the time to pet and praise your dog, and have a brief play time.

Training Methods

Commonly, there are three types of training techniques that are widely used. These are in the form of electrical shocks, compulsion with a choke collar, and the giving of positive rewards. Compulsion-style stimulants are the most commonly used training methods and the demand for them has increased because of obedience problems experienced with dogs. Do some experimenting to see which style works best for you and your canine friend.

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