Canine Body Language

Long before dogs evolved, wolves had perfected a clear and easily understood body language. Using every highly developed sense at its disposal, the wolf used every part of its body, from muscular system to glandular system, to convey precisely to any other wolf its rank, territory, relationships, physical state, needs, and emotions. The wolf's eyes telegraphed dominance or submission, friendliness or aggression, suspicion, playfulness, pain, or just plain exhaustion. Ears stated clearly "Stranger approaching!," "Glad to see you!," or "We've found our prey!" The mouth, just like that of humans, parted lips in a "smile" or bared teeth in a universally recognized snarl. Meanwhile, the wolf used its stance to reinforce facial expressions ("I'm Alpha here, and don't you forget it!"), intimidate would--be interlopers, indicate a desire to play, or show romantic interest. The glandular system plays a part in territory marking. It's a language that is and remains, to this day, perfectly understood by your dog, the primal essence of DogSpeak. It's also the best possible place for you to begin learning to speak your dog's language! But first, let's get you the dog you really want.

Read another excerpt from DogSpeak:
The Sense of Smell
The Sense of Hearing
The Sense of Sight
Body Language

From DOGSPEAK by Bashkim Dibra. Copyright © 1999 by Bashkim Dibra. Reprinted with permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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