Body Language – Movement




How your dog moves can tell you a lot. Even a lack of movement is important to watch for.

Your dog might make curvy movements or move in a large arc when getting close to something they are unsure of. This helps to create more time and space for them to process things.

Your dog may move towards something they can sniff instead of moving directly towards a trigger. This helps them relax and is good to encourage.

When your dog is over-reacting they may also try to move towards the trigger. This often seems confusing – why would your dog want to get closer to something that scares them? But often this is your dog’s attempt to make the scary thing move away and create more space for themselves.

If your dog starts to increase their speed towards something you know they are worried about, slow them down to a stop and help them move in any direction other than forward.

Slowing down helps your dog to process what’s up ahead and stopping can give them the time they need to think. However, stopping may not be enough to help your dog relax. If they have stopped and are looking for longer than a few seconds, prompt them to interrupt and move on. If they are still fixated and staring intensely, this is a clear warning that your dog’s stress level is rising and you need to help them move right away.

When you see your dog slowing down on their own, moving in arcs, stopping, backing up, or changing direction, you can be confident that they are choosing safety over danger. They are making great choices, so support them by moving with them every time.

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