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By Amber Evans

 Have you ever looked at your dog and wondered "What's my dog saying?" Ever been at the dog park and pondered the difference between rough, happy play and play that crosses the line into rude behavior?  This series of articles will help to answer your questions about your dog’s behavior.  Today we are going to highlight ways to spot a happy, friendly dog who is ready to play!

 1. Play Bow

When your dog “bows” to you or another dog, with his front end lowered to the ground and his rear in the air, he is inviting play.  Subtle differences in the way the dog holds his legs will tell you if he wants to be chased (front legs touching the ground, leaning slightly backward) or to be the chaser (front legs lowered but not quite touching the ground, leaning slightly forward).  This is a clear indication your dog is ready for action and fun!

 2. Loose, Wiggly Body

As a rule, polite dog behavior happens in curves and arcs.  This is illustrated most clearly in the curvy body language of a friendly dog!  This dog is not content to just wag her tail, and instead wags her entire body.

 3. Soft Facial Features

A friendly dog is going to have a lack of tension in their face and body, most noticeable around the eyes and lips.  Relaxed ears, an un-furrowed brow, and a lolling tongue are other signs of a happy dog.  This is one instance where your instincts are probably spot on; a tense dog with hard eyes will give most people second thoughts, while the soulful eyes and relaxed stance of a friendly dog are very attractive to the majority of people.

Next week: Dog Park Safety


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