Understanding Doggie Language: Book Recommendations

Written by Robin Williams, Our Companions Head Trainer

Page from Lili Chin’s Doggie Language

Observing and learning how our dogs communicate is an important aspect of our relationship with them. They are constantly giving us information and by understanding their signals we will be more aware of what our dogs are feeling.

Two books that I recommend to dog parents who are learning to understand their dogs are Doggie Language by Lili Chin and On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas.

Doggie Language is an illustrated guide that breaks down lots of different situations such as greetings, play, noticing parts of the dog, and knowing the difference between similar signals that are often confused. Lili Chin reminds us that each dog is an individual. Feelings should be taken in the context of the entire situation and environment and when observing your dog you should look at the whole body.

Another calming signal is “shaking off” (when not wet or getting up from a nap) used for stress relief and to calm down after a possible intense experience.

In the book On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals, author Turid Rugaas emphasizes the importance of dog calming signals in communication. She states, “[these] signals are used for calming themselves when they feel stressed or uneasy.” Some of the signs she mentions include:

  • Head-turning
  • Licking their nose
  • Yawning
  • Curving their body
  • Shaking Off

She encourages us to notice our dogs, even if we look at one signal at a time, in order to build our understanding.

How awesome to think that dogs are talking to us if we learn how to listen!

Links to Recommended Books

Doggie Language by Lili Chin

FREE pdf of On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas

Additional Resources

Doggie Language Poster starring Boogie the Boston Terrier by Lili Chin

Calm and Relaxed? or Shut Down Poster by Lili Chin

15 Calming Signals and What to Do When You See Them by K9 of Mine