Dogs really want to understand us and work with us. They have a great need for clarity and safety. It's up to us to offer them that and to understand their behavior! Dogs 'talk' a lot with their bodies. Facial expression, ear position, body posture and tail position say a lot about how your dog feels. It is important to read your dog's body language well. We often miss the subtle signals that our pet is not feeling well. For example, briefly sticking out their tongue, yawning, panting, licking or smacking the beak, lifting a front leg, stiffening for a while, twisting the head or body or looking away.

Did you know?

Cuddling does not necessarily mean that the dog is happy or relaxed! The way the dog tail waggles is very important when interpreting it’s behavior. For example, a short wagging motion with a high, somewhat stiff tail can indicate tension.

The cause

Listen to the signals your dog gives you. At first, try to find the cause of his behavior. Why doesn’t he want you to do something? Not wanting to be brushed can, for example, be related to (hidden) pain. And a lot of dog behavior is directly related to our behavior: dogs are masters in reading and mirroring how we feel. Your dog acts the same as you!


Dogs will repeat behaviors that produce positive things, and stop with behavior that doesn't. Remember that negative attention, such as angry looking, grumbling, or pushing the dog away, can also be attention! The reason that dogs pull on the leash is simply because it makes them get to where they want to be faster. Does your dog pull? Stop walking. Your dog will experience the consequence of his behavior: he won't get any further with pulling. Does your dog jump and bark when he puts on his collar? Hang it back. Your dog will quickly realize what is intended. As long as you explain it to him clearly.


We often focus on undesirable behavior and maybe you know: the things you give attention to, grow. Try to focus on behavior you like and reward that. Does the dog, for example, jump up against visitors? By punishing him for it, you do not teach him what he should do. By rewarding him when he stands on the floor, you do. By the way, we often get angry and punish him out of frustration. Always stay calm and make sure you are the wisest one!

Did you know this?

Bending over a dog, hugging him and/or looking straight at him is in dog language threatening and extremely rude. Prevent fear and aggression by always keeping your gaze and body away from a dog when you first meet him.


Growling is a very clear signal that is often used as a last warning. Never punish your dog for growling because you don't want to miss this warning! A dog punished for growling can skip this step and immediately start biting. Always consult your veterinarian in case of sudden behavioral changes. Behavioral problems often have something to do with (hidden) pain.


If you have the slightest feeling that something is going wrong in the communication with your dog, please contact our Prins CareTeam. We can call in a dog behavioral expert who can give you some advice. That way we can prevent a lot of problems!

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Annerike from the CareTeam

Questions about your pet's behaviour? The CareTeam loves to help you with free advice!