If your dog tries to ask nicely for space, and no one listens they may learn to eventually resort to “screaming” for their requests for space to be heard. In dog language screaming for space equals barking, lunging, growling, and sometimes aggression.
These insecure dogs often get labelled as dominant and well-meaning owners are told to alpha roll or pin their dog, which only makes them lose trust in their person even more.
Forget everything you’ve ever heard about dominance – it’s probably false. Your dog is likely needing to feel safe or too excited – or a mix of both.
What are some ways dogs will ‘ask nicely’ for space or show that they are nervous? Some of the most common ones you will see and can start to watch for in your own dogs are:
These are just some of the many body language signals your dog will use to communicate stress, conflict, and discomfort. Remember all behaviour is fluid and must be taken in context – emotional states cannot be judged by a still photo. However, this will give you a good idea of what to start looking for in your dog’s body language.
Here are some videos that are a great starting point for reading dog body language signals. You can find a lot more great resources on YouTube as well: