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.

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?

Share your photos of your pups on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #ALTMDHoroscope

Dog Tribute: Dear Winnie


We lost you way too soon. I found you paralyzed in the yard after a bee sting and didn’t know what to do. I got you to the vet but there was nothing they could do to save you. I left you at the ER Vet that night not wanting to go. I could see in your eyes you knew it was bad. I prayed you would make it and the vet even told me there was a good chance you would. A few hours later you were gone and my heart was broken.

Only 7 years with us seems all too short. You were such a shining light in our family. I still remember when we went to the airport to pick you up from Tennessee. Right away you fell in love with your furry sister Lily and had to sleep right next to her. Julia named you after her favorite Disney character. After Lily passed away you welcomed a new little brother Oscar into the family and made him feel welcomed.

I have never met a more happy and loving dog. You actually smiled at us and begged for more kisses, especially from Daddy. You loved to chase balls, steal items out of the trash cans, jump up on peoples laps to kiss them and snuggle under the comforter on my bed.

I still look for you every day when I come through the door. I always will. I am so sorry I was not there to hold you as you went on to Heaven to be with Lily. I will always love you sweet Winnie. Your absence leaves a big hole in our family.

Love you forever,

Mommy (Daddy, Julia, Reese, Madee and Oscar)


Breed: Dachshund