Riley’s View: Doggie Body Language

Riley's View

A strangers hand coming at your face is generally a bit off putting. Don’t you think? Fortunately from a young age, I have learned that hands are safe, comforting and offer food and treats. Other dog’s may have not had the same experience. This article is for dog lovers who can’t help themselves and want to meet-n-greet every canine they see.

Some doggy science to begin with; there is a socialization period in dog’s which is from about six to sixteen weeks. This is known to be one of the most impressionable ages for dogs. A puppy who may have had less desirable experiences with human hands during this period may be predisposed to avoiding hands during his/her life. Alternatively, for those adolescent or adult dogs who received ample socialization and handling, hand adversity can still crop up following repeated negative experiences associated with human hands or arms.


Take Sammy for instance, Sammy is a small mixed breed dog who was surrendered after his owners were nipped on several occasions while taking off his harness. From what I gather, the humans who owned Sammy loved him, they just didn’t know how to stop his nipping behavior, which allegedly came out of nowhere.

Most domestic canines (like me) are constantly communicating our state of mind through body language. When these cues are not interpreted correctly, or at all, we will step up the level of intensity to make a point. “Grrrr! Did you get that? I am afraid stop petting me.” We don’t mean to get nippy but sometimes all previous attempts to communicate fear or anxiety went unnoticed or simply disregarded.

My good friend Boogie the Boston Terrier stood still for hours so that his collaborator Lili Chin could capture these illustrations for you. Curious to learn more about dog body language? Consider downloading the Dog Decoder mobile app which has over sixty cute and informative canine body postures.


In addition to interpreting canine communication correctly, there are a couple of basic approaches that you humans can be responsible for when greeting us dog.

As a general rule, dog’s do not hold sustained eye contact or directly face one another. These postures can be interpreted as a form of aggression. Before greeting a dog, consider turning your body to the side and squatting down. You’ll know if a dog wants to say hello, they will approach you. If/when a dog approaches you, hold out an outstretched hand and always pet from underneath the head first where the dog can see your arm and hand. Many dogs will tolerate physical affection on top of the head, most however prefer strangers start off with physical affection beneath the head where a dog can see your arm and hand i.e. under the chin, the chest or side of the body towards the front legs. This respectful approach is especially important for those nervous-nelly pooches that may be more sensitive.

In the words of Forrest Gump, that’s about all I have to say about that. Would you like to get Riley’s View on a pet care or dog training related question? Click the enclosed link to contact Riley today.

Licks and Love,


Marc Elias, ABCDT is the CEO (Canine Executive Officer) of Pooch Pals, the New York-based pet training and care service. After six years of experience working for corporations, Marc sought a less traditional role aligned with his background in client services, operations and marketing, paired with his love of animals and helping people. Today, Marc Elias is the Canine Executive Officer of Pooch Pals LLC with a dog training certification from the Animal Behavior College. Marc and his Goldendoodle Riley are active pet therapy volunteers certified by the Good Dog Foundation. Pooch Pals is committed to positive reinforcement dog training. They believe in creating a positive culture in New York City’s pet community, and they welcome clients who are as passionate as they are about receiving personal service for their dogs including positive reinforcement training.

Walking Your Dog Saves Lives

You want to keep your dog healthy and happy, and one of the best ways to do that is through exercise. Young dogs especially need to run around, stay fit and get rid of their excess energy. Technology is not only helping to motivate pet owners to exercise their dogs regularly but is providing information and resources for animals in need. Smartphones and apps are tools for positive changes in your community that can have an instant impact. Here are a few pet-friendly apps to consider:

Why You Should Walk

Even if you don’t think you have the time, make some. Even a ten minute walk will revitalize you and your pup. It will increase your heart rate and get your blood pumping. Plus, walking will mentally stimulate your dog, which may help to prevent bad behaviors caused by boredom, anxiety and youthful energy.

If hiking sounds more interesting than just walking, use BringFido to find trails across the globe that are friendly to dogs. You can search by location to find pet-friendly restaurants, dog parks, dog beaches, hiking trails and tours so you can take your dog with you anywhere. Find new adventures, and take your dog on an exciting hiking trail. You both will get exercise and see a brand new place.

How Walking Can Help

An app that will do great things for your dogs and others is Wooftrax. This app donates money to animal shelters every time you walk your dog. It doesn’t matter how far you walk; both a block and a mile contribute to the overall score that gives credit to your shelter. And, the more walks you go on, the more your shelter benefits. Once you download the app, click “Start walking for . . . ” and then choose the shelter you want to donate to. Then, once your walk is complete, the app credits the shelter you selected.

Don’t worry, all the donations are not coming out of your pocket. Wooftrax is able to make the donations through sponsorship, advertising and investors. All you have to do is log your time, and shelters will receive support. Another great features of the app is that you can do it without a dog! You can walk for yourself and still raise money for a shelter. There is even a create your own dream dog feature to give you a virtual furry companion to take on the walk with you. It is an app every dog owner or animal advocate should have!

Why Animal Shelters Matter

Whether large or small operations, animal shelters are key in providing care for animals that are neglected, abandoned and without a safe place to call home. They are often adoption rehabilitation centers for animals others would normally give up on, explains LearningToGive.

The Petfinder Foundation is an organization that connects with shelters across the United States to help homeless pets find homes. They have made a new app called Touch To Give, where you can donate to local animal shelters. It is an easy way to help animals in need.

So, what are you waiting for? Save lives, make your pet happy, keep yourself healthy and get walking.

Dog Horoscope: Libra Dog

Libra Dog

It’s the month of the Libra and for all pups born from September 23 – October 23, this is their time to shine.

The Libran dog is always alert and aware of it’s surroundings at all times. They are considered balanced in temperament and are not generally argumentative. Life with these pups is often calm and relaxed, but not without a passionate run through the field and rowdy game of fetch. They’ve also got a powerful memory and, will show their loyalty through thick and thin. Libran dogs also have a tendency to worry more about others than themselves and will spoil their owners with attention.

This month, allow your Libran  dog to roam the outdoors they love so much with a hike or long walk. Celebrate their birthday by visiting a new location and exploring with them by your side.  And, as always, shower them with as much love as possible.

Do you have a Libran dog?

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