Bonding with your dog emotionally

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Wow, a whole new year is ahead of us and a lot of fun is to be had. In the past I have mentioned Dognition, a website dedicated to dogs and intelligence development. Dr. Brian Hare, a researcher at Duke University, sponsors the site. I subscribe to Dognition, and each month I get activities to share with Watson. This month features bonding.

Many dog owners rely on their dog’s ability to read their person’s emotions and body language and expect them to respond appropriately. It requires a two-way road when it comes to empathy. Some tips to read your dog’s body language follow.

The first is to observe your dog’s tail. A relaxed tail, hanging limp behind the rear legs, is a sign that the dog is relaxed and at ease. If the tail is ridged and tucked between the dog’s hind legs, it can be a sign of fear and anxiety. A rigid tail, up or at an angle, can be a sign of aggression or annoyance and can be meant as a warning signal to all around.

A wagging tail may convey different messages depending on the direction the tail is wagging. A tail wagging to the right conveys a positive approach message, where as a tail wagging to the left conveys anxiety and stress.

The second tip is your dog’s face. A relaxed dog has relaxed features. The ears will be soft and resting and mouth loose and slightly opened. A fearful or stressed pup will have rigid ears, pinned back against the head, and the mouth is closed with corners pulled back and down. These signals let others know that all is not well.

The third tip is body posture, which conveys emotion. One of the best body postures is the play bow. When a dog’s paws are stretched out in front of him, lowering his head and shoulders beneath his hindquarters is a clear indication that he is ready to play. Usually accompanied by a wagging tail, this position is held for only a moment before the pup is off running.

By reading and staying in tune with your dog’s body language, you can get a grasp on how he is feeling. Helping your dog when he is anxious or fearful and being excited and playful when he is ready for play can help ensure that your relationship with your dog stays strong and bonded.


Ken Wiley is Who’s Who. He is the handyman at CAPS and builder extraordinaire. If we need a new design, Ken is the man who figures out the specifics and carries out the plan. We are extremely grateful to Ken for the time and effort he puts into our shelter. A paws up goes to Ken from the staff and residents of CAPS. We love you!


We have four male and four female kitties ready for their new homes. Make this a new year to remember with a new pet to enjoy life with. Policy, however, prohibits adopting out puppies or kittens under the age of six months to a home with children under five years of age. This is to protect both the children and the animal.


The 2016 Happy Endings calendar can be purchased at the Flower Tree Nursery. Don’t delay because, at the time when I wrote this, only two were left.

Flower Tree Nursery is again raffling a 15-gallon tree. The drawing date is March 15 and the winner doesn’t have to be present to win. Raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.

CAPS will be at Walmart sometime soon along with Ki and Urtle at our Kissin’ Booth. Be sure to watch this column for the date. Please come by and give our boys a big hug and kiss. We have hoodies, sweatshirts and caps, so please check them out before or after greeting our canine volunteers.

CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is

775-423-7500. Please visit the CAPS website ( and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me

Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, contributed this week’s column.


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