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Although you talk to your dog like he’s a person and understands, there’s no way he’s talking back to you. And talking back to yourself in your dog’s made up voice doesn’t count, sorry! Like a baby who can’t communicate yet, owners learn to read their dog’s attitude and body language to judge what they’re thinking. Here’s your guide to reading your dog’s body language.

Relaxed

If your dog is showing the following signs, it means he’s relaxed, reasonably content, and there are no dangers on the horizon. Ears up (not forward), head high, mouth open with tongue exposed, loose stance and tail down and relaxed.

Alert

Loud noises, strangers and other dogs will make your pup alert. In this position, he is paying attention to his surroundings to determine if there is a threat or not. Look for the following signs: Eyes wide, smooth nose and forehead, slight forward lean or standing on toes, tail may move from side to side and tail is horizontal but not stiff.

Aggressive

Steer clear of this dog. He’s on edge and doesn’t like something he sees. If you approach, he could attack. Walk backwards slowly if you see the following signals: forehead and nose wrinkled, lips curled, teeth showing, mouth open in a “c” shape, stiff-legged stance, body leaning forward, stiff tail, bristled tail and back hair and ears bent forward.

Submissiveness

He surrenders! This cute position means that your dog is no longer in charge. He’s waved his white flag and is saying that he accepts being lower in the rankings and wants to avoid any confrontation. Look for ears flat and back, head turned to avoid eye contact, smooth nose and forehead, corner of mouth is back, tail tucked and he’s rolled onto his back so his belly is up.

Playfulness

Our favorite stance, this position means it’s playtime! He’s inviting you to play with him and this stance is to show the owner that any rough behavior was not meant as a challenge or threat. He’ll have perked up ears, dilated pupils, open mouth, front paws lowered, backside and tail up and a wagging tail.

What signals does your dog use to talk to you? Tell us on Twitter and Facebook.

Image by mccun934